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An Afternooon of Jewish Comedy

With UC Santa Cruz Professor Bruce Thompson

If there were a Nobel Prize for outstanding contributions in the field of comedy, it's likely that Jewish names would be just as disproportionately represented among the recipients of that prize as they are in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, and economics.  This lecture will attempt to answer three closely related questions.  First, why have so many of the great comedians of the past century been Jewish?  Second, is there such a thing as a distinctively Jewish comic sensibility?  And third, which aspects of Jewish culture and experience have Jewish writers, artists, and cartoonists drawn upon in creating their distinctive styles of comedy?  Our examples will range from one of the founders of Yiddish literature, Sholem Aleichem, who died just over a century ago, to the great American novelist Philip Roth, whom we have just lost, along with comedians and entertainers from the era of Fanny Brice and the Marx Brothers to that of Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David.   

For the program and a light lunch a nominal donation of $5 per person is requested. 

Please join us!

Bruce Thompson has been a lecturer in History and Literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz since 1991, teaching courses on modern European history, Jewish literature and history, urban history, environmental history, and the history of espionage and intelligence.  A member of the faculty of UCSC's Jewish Studies Program, he also teaches a senior seminar on Jewish comedy.



August 14th, 2018 11:30 AM   through   1:00 PM
Oneg Room

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