When Comedy Went to School

When Comedy Went to School

Mon, 01/23/2023 - 9:00pm - 10:00pm

Jerry Stiller

Provided by APT

Why are there so many Jewish comedians?

In a 1970's survey, it was found that although Jews represented approximately 3% of the total U.S. population, they accounted for 80% of 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 being captivated by the urbane parodies of "Seinfeld"? Is there a common denominator within the generation of Jewish-Americans that produced literally dozens of comedy legends? How could that happen? And why did that happen? What is their legacy?

When Comedy Went to School, airing Monday, January 23, 2023 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV, answers these questions with an entertaining portrait of this country's greatest generation of comics – the generation that includes the likes of Jerry Lewis, Sid Caesar, Jackie Mason, Mort Sahl, and Jerry Stiller, all of whom make appearances in the film, telling jokes and telling their stories. The answer is also found in upstate New York's Catskill Mountains, aka the Borscht Belt, where Jewish immigrants transformed lush farmland into the 20th century's largest resort complex. Those Catskill hotels and bungalow colonies provided the setting for a remarkable group of young Jewish-American comedians to hone their craft and become worldwide legends.