Author Topic: Why are there so many refereces to being Jewish in US comedy?  (Read 5328 times)

Offline Sharky

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Why are there so many refereces to being Jewish in US comedy?
« on: October 19, 2014, 11:56:02 am »

It's not a complaint or anything, really has no effect on me at all. But it has been something I've noticed in a ton of US comedy, it seems like the main character or at least one of the main characters is Jewish and they make a point of mentioning it at least once. It always stands out to me because it never seems necessary.

So I'm wondering why? Is it because a lot of comedy writers are Jewish and they want to REPRESENT! Or is it some running theme or in joke non-Americans don't understand?

Has anyone else noticed it?
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Offline ROJM

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Re: Why are there so many refereces to being Jewish in US comedy?
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2014, 12:05:22 pm »
The same reason why you keep hearing the word Nigga in rap music and the talentless hack black actors that pretend to be from the ghetto but are actually middle class and well educated....giving people a wrong impression of the black demographic because all you see is how the poor blacks are because they keep re enforcing that idea on TV and in films.

In other words..Jewish people in America have always been associated with entertainment and comedy in America. And like any historical minorities that faced hardship they take the mic out of everyone else while lovingly referring to themselves in racial slurs. They have been doing it longer than the blacks but in a more less threatening way. Also Grouncho Marx who is considered a gret comedy genius and Charlie Chaplin are jewish so you see the legacy and attraction to people who may want to follow that path..much like how a black guy would be inspired to follow NWA or Kanye West because of the success and leagcy that they have. Its also a way especially in sitcoms to condition people that jews are more accepted in anglo american society..when the reality is they are just tolerated more than the blacks. The bush family(of the president bushes) for example are of the old style money of america and they wouldn't socalise with jewish people in their normal everyday life outside of politics when they run for office.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2014, 12:08:09 pm by ROJM »

Offline CrazyT

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Re: Why are there so many refereces to being Jewish in US comedy?
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2014, 12:13:20 pm »
No answers here but yeah i've noticed the same. Comedy central is full of it. But the oddest thing for a religious person like me, knowing where judaism originated from, I always found it odd how full of profanity the shows are which are often associated with jewish backgrounds. Its weird because all these so called jews are doing the exact opposite of whar judaism propogates. Its almost like the religion has been hijacked or something.

My 2 cents i guess

Offline Sharky

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Re: Why are there so many refereces to being Jewish in US comedy?
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2014, 12:47:00 pm »
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Its also a way especially in sitcoms to condition people that jews are more accepted in anglo american society.

This was my initial thought as well, to me it seems like a good idea. Putting a friendly, likeable face to a religious group will probably go some way towards actually achieving that goal of making them more accepted.

I feel like a few shows where the main characters are Muslim would probably go a long way in changing the western mindset.  Don't make it a main story arch, or even obvious. Just an undertone. Like how Dumbledoor in Harry Potter was supposed to be gay, you'd never even know until you're told.
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Offline ROJM

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Re: Why are there so many refereces to being Jewish in US comedy?
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2014, 02:21:15 pm »
This was my initial thought as well, to me it seems like a good idea. Putting a friendly, likeable face to a religious group will probably go some way towards actually achieving that goal of making them more accepted.

I feel like a few shows where the main characters are Muslim would probably go a long way in changing the western mindset.  Don't make it a main story arch, or even obvious. Just an undertone. Like how Dumbledoor in Harry Potter was supposed to be gay, you'd never even know until you're told.

But that's not the reality. If you watch a lot of movies like i use to you notice the BS they're pushing at least in american culture. All anglo americans and Jewish people live in big houses and are married to each other and celebrate jewish holidays more than christmas....If a black guy dates outside his race he will ALWAYS go out with a latino woman...despite the cultural differences between latinos and american blacks to begin with..all people from the south are racists or bible thumping idiots...all chinese americans are virgins and always good at school...etc etc etc..its all propaganda and nonsense. Its not an actual reality..Over there they portray the UK as an all white country when both you and i know that isn't true...try visiting leeds or some parts of London and speak english and you realise you're in a colonised part of england. " i don't speak english even though i'm running a bloody grocery store that's always open 24 hours a day including Christmas"..geez louise...Point is society has a few of those things that feature in american movies...but its not the dominant or reflection of the reality of american life or life in the UK. TV is used to sell things not to portray how things really are and you have to be aware that half the stuff on tv is trying to tell you or sell you something....

Offline Barry the Nomad

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Re: Why are there so many refereces to being Jewish in US comedy?
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2014, 02:37:54 pm »
It's pretty simple, really. The American entertainment industry is full of Jewish talent. The Simpsons, for example, has several Jewish writers which extends to characters like Krusty and The Old Jewish Man. I'd also say that Jewish people have a great sense of humor, especially self deprecation, which is something Americans usually find funny. Just look at Woody Allen's shtick. Hell, even the word "shtick" is yiddish for "comic theme".

Some of the funniest Americans are Jewish, just look at the aforementioned Woody Allen (I'm not a fan, but he has been insanely successful), Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, Ben Stiller, and a bulk of the SNL greats. Half of the Ghostbusters are Jewish. The Cohen brothers, known for their dark comedy and the guys behind The Big Lebowski are Jewish. In fact, they grew up in the same city I was born in - I'm not Jewish, but St. Louis Park, MN is otherwise known as "St. Jewish Park".

Offline ROJM

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Re: Why are there so many refereces to being Jewish in US comedy?
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2014, 02:49:15 pm »
No answers here but yeah i've noticed the same. Comedy central is full of it. But the oddest thing for a religious person like me, knowing where judaism originated from, I always found it odd how full of profanity the shows are which are often associated with jewish backgrounds. Its weird because all these so called jews are doing the exact opposite of whar judaism propogates. Its almost like the religion has been hijacked or something.

My 2 cents i guess

Its not. Its part of American culture..They're just acting like any american but in a american  jewish context...the same if you were black and the same every other people. If you go to places like Iseral or the caribbean or africa or even europe and Asia where most of the people in america originate from...they act totally different. In a black society like Africa and caribbean..you find out that black people don't listen to rap..speak in bad grammar or are violent thugs...In asian culture...you don't find all asian americans being nerds..in latino countries not many say essay..etc etc. But because american media is dominant in the world..anyone watching that may think that's how people are in general forgetting its in an american context. 

Offline Ben

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Re: Why are there so many refereces to being Jewish in US comedy?
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2014, 01:30:39 am »
No answers here but yeah i've noticed the same. Comedy central is full of it. But the oddest thing for a religious person like me, knowing where judaism originated from, I always found it odd how full of profanity the shows are which are often associated with jewish backgrounds. Its weird because all these so called jews are doing the exact opposite of whar judaism propogates. Its almost like the religion has been hijacked or something.

My 2 cents i guess

I don't think there's anything in the Jewish religion that prevents "swearing." Not any more than in any other religion, anyway.

Anyway the answer (And not to stereotype any one group of people, as there is no "rule" and of course not everyone falls into a set group or behavior) is a few different parts. First of all, being Jewish is a bit of a chore, lol. There's far more religious education required than many other religions, preparing for a Bar Mitzvah is insanely hard, and Jews have a very distinct culture that existed lonnnng before the religion even existed, and it's definitely not a mainstream culture, lol. So yeah it's pretty easy for Jews to sorta look at where they came from and their place in the world and be like "what the fuuuuuck? We got screwed." And I think that's why humor's always been a pretty major part of the Jewish culture.

It's important to remember that unlike other religions, the Jewish people were a people BEFORE they were a religion; they were in the desert as slaves and were eventually freed and the religion itself was developed soon after. But as a people before the religion, they developed their own culture, practices, languages, etc. So in a way Judaism can be looked at almost as much as something like Italians, or other ethnic groups, instead of just a religion. Christianity on the other hand doesn't have a "culture" that pre-dates the religion, the religion and the "Christian people" were basically created at the same time. (The earliest Christians were pretty much all Jews, actually.)

So anyway, lol. A convoluted explanation. In fewer words, the answer is that Jews enjoy laughing at themselves and there's a good deal of humor in the Jewish culture.

I mean there's a lot of things like that. Italian comedians usually joke about being Italian, black comedians about being black, etc. It's pretty much the same thing. That's what makes Judaism different from other religions, its pre-existing culture. I have though seen Catholic comedians joke about various aspects of their religions and upbringings too, I just don't think it's done as much because it's just such a more mainstream topic and idea seeing as how it's basically a majority.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2014, 01:34:19 am by Ben »

Offline CrazyT

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Re: Why are there so many refereces to being Jewish in US comedy?
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2014, 05:17:44 am »
I see what you mean. Wasn't my intention to generalize or anything, but its pretty apparent when a show is represented with jewish culture. For example a show like weeds, or californication have a lot of jewish references and representations as well. Usually with very non jewish like behaviour, influences, a lot of shamelesness and actually excelling in passing boundaries and breaking taboos. I'd expect that from non religious more than anything but its being done a lot by representations of jews. Swearing is actually the least of the things im talking about. Usually sex, fornication, drugs, and stupidity are the main leads of these shows. I mean there should be nothing wrong with it, but it's striking and just doesn't make sense in the context of jews. Which is why it seems odd how the majority of representation of jews is like that instead of what their books actually propagate.
 
Perhaps their religion has become very moderate through the years and "jew" has become more of an identity rather than an actual follower and abider of the books. I don't know. Just an amateur observation
« Last Edit: October 20, 2014, 05:49:52 am by CrazyT »

Offline MadeManG74

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Re: Why are there so many refereces to being Jewish in US comedy?
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2014, 08:53:42 am »
Honestly it's just an easy laugh. Same reason black people make jokes about black stereotypes ('Everyone Hates Chris', lots of black stand up comics), Italians make jokes based on Italian stereotypes ('Everybody loves Raymond' for example) and it's natural that Jewish people will make the same jokes. As someone said before, Jewish people are probably over-represented in the entertainment industry, there's a long history of Jewish entertainers, not to mention some of the most succesful shows recently were centered around Jewish characters (Seinfeld, Curb your Enthusiasm etc) so naturally they'll draw humour based on their own life and experiences.

Offline inthesky

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Re: Why are there so many refereces to being Jewish in US comedy?
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2014, 03:49:59 pm »
Weren't Jewish people a huge part of the formation of Hollywood?
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Offline Ben

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Re: Why are there so many refereces to being Jewish in US comedy?
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2014, 06:01:30 pm »
I see what you mean. Wasn't my intention to generalize or anything, but its pretty apparent when a show is represented with jewish culture. For example a show like weeds, or californication have a lot of jewish references and representations as well. Usually with very non jewish like behaviour, influences, a lot of shamelesness and actually excelling in passing boundaries and breaking taboos. I'd expect that from non religious more than anything but its being done a lot by representations of jews.

Yeah I think a bit of "represent!" does kinda go into it too, lol.


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is actually the least of the things im talking about. Usually sex, fornication, drugs, and stupidity are the main leads of these shows. I mean there should be nothing wrong with it, but it's striking and just doesn't make sense in the context of jews. Which is why it seems odd how the majority of representation of jews is like that instead of what their books actually propagate.

Yeahhh. Though there are a lot of these things in Martin Scorsese movies too, and he's not Jewish. Eh. I don't think that making Jewish jokes is really the same thing as declaring itself a "Jewish movie." Like, the makers of Knocked Up weren't making it as some sorta "grand, sweeping piece of work meant to represent the Jewish ideology." I think they just threw in some Jew jokes because they're funny.
 
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Perhaps their religion has become very moderate through the years and "jew" has become more of an identity rather than an actual follower and abider of the books. I don't know. Just an amateur observation

I think that can describe a lot of religion today though, among newer generations.

For better or for worse, I suppose. I think society's moving away from religion because religion connects less with people growing up today and I'm sure that'll continue.