Celebrating the great Jewish comedians: Groucho Marx and Phyliss Diller

Celebrating the great Jewish comedians: Groucho Marx and Phyliss Diller

In the 1982 film, “My Favorite Year,” the lead character, Bengie Stone, a Jewish comedy writer who worked on a fictional version of Sid Caesar’s “Your Show of Show’s” is on a date, and trying to explain to his non-Jewish date, that “Jews know three things, suffering, where to find great Chinese food, and funny.”

That line is sort of a punchline within a stereotype that so many of the great early comedians through present-day are Jewish. Well, I guess we like to laugh and make people laugh. What’s wrong with that?

And that sentiment is alive and well and celebrated daily on the website Jewish Humor Central. Each day, the masterminds at this website send out a daily email, reminding us all to remember to laugh, at least once a day.

On Thursday’s the site publishes, their Throwback Thursday, which features a funny clip from the past. Check it out here on The Jewish Light every Thursday, or visit their site to sign up for their daily newsletter.

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Today’s Chuckle

On this Throwback Thursday we’re turning the clock and calendar back 65 years to 1957, when Groucho Marx was in his heyday as host of the weekly show You Bet Your Life.

The show debuted on ABC Radio on October 27, 1947, then moved to CBS Radio debuting October 5, 1949, before making the transition to NBC-TV and NBC Radio on October 4, 1950. Because of its simple format, it was possible to broadcast the show simultaneously on radio and television.

The last episode in its radio format aired on June 10, 1960. On television, however, the series continued for another year, debuting in its final season on September 22, 1960, and with a new title, The Groucho Show.

In this 1957 episode, Phyllis Diller appears as a contestant — a housewife from Ohio who just started out in the entertainment industry. It was Diller’s first appearance on national TV. She went on to become a stand-up comedy legend for 45 years.