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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Comparative Literature

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Don E. Levine

Second Advisor

Catherine Portuges

Third Advisor

Rachel Green

Fourth Advisor

Jonathan Skolnik

Subject Categories

American Literature | American Popular Culture | American Studies | Comparative Literature | Film and Media Studies | Jewish Studies | Modern Literature | Other Languages, Societies, and Cultures | Television


The connection between Jews, Jewish culture, and comedy in the twentieth century has long been established. The dissertation looks at Jewish comedy, comedians, and comediennes who have made the bawdy a central feature of their work. Moreover, it argues that the bawdy and the lewd have played an important role in the history of Jewish comedy and humor in the United States and in Israel. Aside from simply documenting various uses and occurrences of the bawdy in Jewish comedy, the dissertation seeks out some symptoms, as well as some underlying causes for the proclivity for such material in the work of Jewish producers of comedy by looking at historical, cultural, and personal contexts.