New Film Focuses on Jews, Comedy

New Film Focuses on Jews, Comedy


Comedy“When Comedy Went To School”, a documentary featuring many of the top comics dating back to the 1940s, will open in Atlanta this week at the Midtown Art Cinema.

The film, directed by Ron Frank and Mevlut Akkaya, and written by Lawrence Richards, premiered earlier this summer to rave reviews at the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival. It offers and interesting and entertaining portrait of some of the countries iconic comediennes, including Jerry Lewis, Sid Caesar, Jackie Mason, Mort Sahl, Jerry Stiller and many others who have kept us laughing for decades.

So, why are there so many Jewish comedians?

In a survey taken in the 1970s, it was discovered that Jews represented about 3 percent of the total U.S. population but accounted for a whopping 80 percent of all professional comedians. How did it come to pass that a nation that started the 20th century laughing at the folk humor of Will Rogers, ended up chuckling at the urbane antics of “Seinfeld”?

Is there some sort of ethnic common denominator at the heart of the Jewish soul that makes “Members of the Tribe” funny? If so, why?

“When Comedy Went to School” offers up an entertaining bit of filmmaking, filled with humor, a bit of melancholy, and a road trip to upstate New York’s Catskill Mountains, aka the “Borscht Belt.”

It was here that a group of Jewish immigrants transformed lush farmland into the 20th century’s largest resort complex that, among other things, became a “school” for a remarkable group of young Jewish-American comics.

“When Comedy Went to School” is an International Film Circuit release. Additional information about the film and filmmakers can be found at

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