Thursday, 14 May 2015

Michael Wex, Jewish Comedy & A New Wave Of Unapologetic Funny Women


Credit: Amazon
Comedian and Yiddish maven Michael Wex was in town this week to present his latest non-fiction book How to be a Mentsh (and Not a Shmuck), which offers a guide to one's pursuit of happiness with integrity, honour, and compassion. A pre-SJWF event was hosted at Waverley Library, where Wex spoke to a capacity crowd about the humour and history of Yiddish. His other works include Born to Kvetch, which was a New York Times bestseller, as well as Just Say Nu. The Canadian author and raconteur demonstrated his incredible knowledge of language and literature.
                                  
Michael Wex.  Credit: Jewish News
Wex also performed at the third annual Jewish Comedy Showcase, which is part of the Sydney Comedy Festival. During the sold out event, Wex entertained us with rollicking stories of his former life as a Yiddishe Chassid.  Held at the Comedy Store in the Entertainment Quarter, the showcase featured Australian talent from Sydney and Melbourne, as well as international talent from Israel and Canada. The hilarious line-up had the audience in stitches!

Amy Schumer. Credit: Time
There are a number of Jewish woman who have and continue to make their mark in comedy. From the late Joan Rivers to Sarah Silverman, Jewish women in comedy are known for their unapologetic, frank, and controversial sense of humour.  Recently, Jewish comedian Amy Schumer has garnered attention internationally.  Episodes of her sketch show Inside Amy Schumer have gone viral in the past few weeks.

Schumer's work puts to bed the stereotype of the feminist who lacks a sense of humour.  She delivers sketches that are topical and skewer gender politics.  The material she writes covers issues such as rape culture and Hollywood's standards of beauty with wit and humour.  As Schumer hits mainstream fame, her popularity exposes sexism.  Former SJWF guest Emily Nussbaum, television critic at The New Yorker, recently wrote an article about Schumer and feminist humour that is well worth a read.  Now in its third season, Inside Amy Schumer airs on Comedy Central.

Schumer has also written the screenplay for her first feature film, Trainwreck.  Directed by Judd Apatow of Freaks & Geeks and Knocked Up fame, the comedy will be released in cinemas in July.  Make sure to check out the trailer!

Credit: webtvwire
Back to the small screen, comedians Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer will have you laughing out loud with Broad City.  They write and star in the show which follows two twenty-something best friends in New York City.  Unlike the standard sitcom, Broad City pushes boundaries with its honest and unabashed sexuality and vulgar, raunchy material usually reserved for male leads.  This honest representation showcases the characters' less flattering traits as they step beyond the confines of the "good girl" role.

Writing comedy is as much an art form as any genre, and we celebrate the Jewish talent coming out of North America - as well as our local stars!

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