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Judaism and the Comedic Mind

November 29, 2012 – 6:42 pm8 Comments

Larry David

By Anthony Frosh
Jews have produced so many great comedians. I don’t dare rattle off a list for fear of missing someone out. The question is why?

The first half of this video might only appeal to Larry David fans, of which there are many. However, from about 1’35, the conversation turns to the question of why Jews are funny? Two very accomplished Jewish comedians, Susie Essman, best known for her role in Curb Your Enthusiasm, and David Steinberg, son of a Romanian-born rabbi, put forward the answer that “the nature of Judaism lends itself to what a comedic mind does.” Namely, studying the Torah, answering questions, and challenging everything.

Once you get over the shock of discovering that some Americans aren’t aware that there are Jewish communities in Canada, as well as the delight of learning the definitive difference between Italians and Jews, have a think about this:

· Do Jews, on average, tend to be funnier than other groups?
· Have generations of Torah study imbued the Jewish psych with the qualities required by the comedic mind?
· Or is Jewish comedic genius more derived from the perspective that comes from being the perennial outsider?
· Are challenging and asking questions as much a part of the nature of Judaism as it once was?

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