Adult Ed - Jewish Women American Comedy
All Hakafa adults are invited to please join us at the Takiff Center for Adult Study in Community Room 1.
Please join Grace Kessler Overbeke for a discussion of Jewish Women in American Comedy. Jewish humor comes by its subversiveness honestly: Jewish theology and culture encourage us to constantly question authority. Male Jewish comedians in twentieth-century America have famously demonstrated these subversive tendencies through their socially and politically critical comedy. This presentation argues that female Jewish comedians in twentieth-century America have demonstrated the same level of subversive tendencies, albeit not in social or political contexts until the 1970's. Instead, female Jewish comedians showed their subversive tendencies in ways that reveal a great deal about the role and perception of women in a given decade. Early in the twentieth century, when women's identity was primarily rooted in the sexual and domestic realm, they exercised subversive humor by making jokes about these matters. As their political and social identities develop, so too do their socially and politically subversive jokes. This session will examine that progression, paying special attention to pioneers like Sophie Tucker, Fanny Brice, Joan Rivers, Elayne Boosler, and Sarah Silverman.
Grace Kessler Overbeke is currently a doctoral candidate at the Interdisciplinary PhD in Theatre and Drama (IPTD) at Northwestern University. She received her BA in Theatre and English at Wesleyan University and her MA through Northwestern’s IPTD program. She is affiliated with the Jewish Studies cluster, the Crown Family Center for Jewish and Israel Studies, and the Searle Center for Advancing Teaching and Learning. Her current research interests include female Jewish comedians and autobiographical performance among marginalized populations.
Adult Study takes place on Sunday mornings during Religious School. All Hakafa adults are invited to participate.
Glencoe, IL 60022