Essay Title: 

What are the unique characteristics of Jewish humor? Trace the origins and development of professional Jewish comedy. How did it influence American Popular Entertainment in the twentieth century?

March 31, 2016 | Author: | Posted in art, theatre

What are the unique characteristics of Jewish humor ? Trace the origins and development of professional Jewish comedy . How did it influence American Popular Entertainment in the twentieth century

Perhaps the greatest contribution of the Jews to American Society and Entertainment is Comedy . The names of great Jewish comedians : George Burns , the Marx Brothers , Lenny Bruce , Mel Brooks , Woody Allen are staples on the comedy scene today . The reason for this is the unique quality of Jewish Humor that it manages to be self-deprecatory and humorous without being hurtful . The aspects that define [banner_entry_middle]

Jewish comedy and the traditional comedic values are deeply rooted in Judaism ‘s religious and cultural traditions

Historically , Jewish comedy has always been regarded as egalitarian . In early Eastern Europe , satirical jesters called badchens ‘ would perform at weddings and at other significant social functions . The entertainment would consist of poking fun at and good-naturedly tarnishing the image of important people in the community . At the same time , arguably due to Judaism ‘s tradition of Talmudic study , almost every facet of life was to some degree open to examination . So Jews , who more often than not were politically powerless , could subtly challenge the status quo via humor while keeping their harshest observations amongst themselves

After Jews began to immigrate to America in large numbers , they , like other minority groups , found it difficult to find mainstream jobs . The newly-developing entertainment industry , combined with the Jewish humor tradition , provided a potential route for Jews to succeed and as Jewish immigrants settled in the United States during the late 19th and early 20th centuries and began to assimilate , their humor trickled into mainstream American entertainment . In 1929 , Gertrude Berg ‘s The Rise of the Goldbergs ‘ radio show offered a glimpse into a stereotypical Jewish family . As radio and television matured , many of its most famous comedians , including Jack Benny , Sid Caesar , George Burns , Henny Youngman and Milton Berle , continued to set the stage for the entrance of Jewish Humor on the entertainment scene . The Jewish comedy tradition continues today , with Jewish humor much entwined with that of mainstream humor , as comedies like Seinfeld indicate

Rabbi Altmann and his secretary were sitting in a coffeehouse in Berlin in 1935 “Herr Altmann ” said his secretary “I notice you ‘re reading Der St ‘rmer ! I can ‘t understand why . A Nazi libel sheet ! Are you some kind of masochist , or , God forbid , a self-hating Jew “On the contrary , Frau Epstein . When I used to read the Jewish s all I learned about were pogroms , riots in Palestine , and assimilation in America . But now that I read Der St ‘rmer , I see so much more : that the Jews control all the banks , that we dominate in the arts , and that we ‘re on the verge of taking over the entire world . You know – it makes me feel a whole lot better

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