The acclaimed filmmaker Alan Zweig discusses his new documentary When Jews Were Funny, Jewish comedy, his films, and more, with Joseph Planta.
Text of introduction by Joseph Planta:
I am Planta: On the Line, in Vancouver, at TheCommentary.ca.
There a terrific documentary playing in Vancouver at least four times over the next couple of weeks. It’s at the Vancity Theatre here in Vancouver, December 20th, 22nd, 24th, and January 2nd. It’s called When Jews Were Funny, and it’s a thoughtful, perceptive look at Jewish comedy, or the brand of comedy that one saw lot of in American show business that was heavily influenced by Jewish comics. The film is also a sixtysomething’s introspective look at the sort of comedy that he saw growing up, on television, but importantly around him, from his grandparents, their friends and the sort. Alan Zweig, who made this very fine film, joins me now. We’ll talk about this movie, the themes explored, such as are Jews no longer funny, or how and why has Jewish humour changed. I’ll ask him about some of the people he talks to in the movie, comedians such as Shelley Berman, Shecky Greene, Norm Crosby, Howie Mandel, Gilbert Gottfried, David Steinberg, Marc Maron, Andy Kindler, Judy Gold, Jack Carter, and so many more. Alan Zweig has been in the film business for well over 30 years. His notable documentaries include Vinyl, A Hard Name, Loveable, and the terrific I, Curmudgeon. When Jews Were Funny was a big hit at the recent Toronto International Film Festival where it won the award as the Best Canadian Feature. Visit www.whenjewswerefunny.com for information, and for tickets visit www.viff.org. Please welcome to the Planta: On the Line program, in Toronto today, Alan Zweig; Mr. Zweig, good morning.