David Schneider
Shticks And Stones: Jewish Comedy And Antisemitism

Shticks And Stones: Jewish Comedy And Antisemitism

  • Radio factual
  • BBC Radio 4
  • 2023
  • 1 episode

A look at Jewish comedy and reactions to it. Features David Schneider, David Baddiel, Robert Popper, Judy Gold, Devorah Baum and more.

David Schneider. Copyright: Lee Wallis

Key details

BBC Radio 4
David Schneider, David Baddiel, Robert Popper, Judy Gold, Devorah Baum, Katie Power, David Rose, Talia Reese and more
Pippa Smith and Katherine Godfrey

David Schneider is joined by fellow funny people including comedians David Baddiel and Judy Gold and Robert Popper, creator of Friday Night Dinner, to delve into the archives and explore what makes Jewish humour distinct and how it reacts in times of rising antisemitism.

David looks at the complexities and subtleties for Jewish comedians crafting humour about the Holocaust and antisemitism, and dissects comedy which has traded on stereotypes and caused outcry for its portrayal of Jews.

We begin in 1903 with the American-born comedian Julian Rose, whose star began to fall as US audiences grew tired of the Jewish stereotypes in his act, instead finding a home and an audience in Britain and on the BBC. And David excavates the vibrant Yiddish theatre scene thriving in the East End at the same time that Julian Rose played the London Palladium. During WWII, musical comedies offered vital escapism from the horrific genocide playing out in mainland Europe.

In the decades following the war, Jewish comedians like Sid Caesar, Mel Brooks and Danny Kaye became stars in the US and their influence has dominated our idea of Jewish comedy even in the UK. David seeks to understand what defines Jewish humour and why it captured the mainstream in the later 20th century.

Revisiting classic scenes from Mel Brooks's The Producers, Seinfeld, and later Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm and Sacha Baron Cohen's Borat, David traces the red lines between triumph and tastelessness, and how Jewish comedians have used taboo topics to expose and ridicule antisemitism.

And David takes in the contemporary landscape of British Jewish comedy. We'll look at the success of the sitcom Friday Night Dinner and meet a generation of younger British comedians, such as the comperes of popular LGBTQ+ Jewish night Buttmitzvah and comedian Katie Price (no, not that Katie Price), who proudly discuss their Jewish identities onstage in the face of rising antisemitism.


Additional details

Also known as
  • Archive On 4 - Shticks And Stones: Jewish Comedy And Antisemitism

Broadcast details

First broadcast
Saturday 29th July 2023 at 8pm on BBC Radio 4
Episode length
1 hour

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