Where Comedy Went to School. A lecture by Joseph Dorinson.
This lecture takes listeners on an informative, hilarious journey east of Eden, west of the Moon, and 100 miles north of New York City, where a generation of Jewish comedians honed their craft in the resorts of the Catskill Mountains. This "Borscht Belt" became the training ground for the modern American stand-up comic: the sad nebbish (poor soul) whose troubles are greater than life, and whose kvetch (complaint) is cosmic as well as comic. Performers tempered on the Catskills resort circuit range from Sid Caesar to Mel Brooks, Alan King to Lenny Bruce, Woody Allen to Joan Rivers. However different they seem, these stand-up and situation comics are distinguished by a singular ability to capture their complaint in verbal music, a torrent of words that develops into improvisational jazz. For decades, their comedy has brought relief from the tsores (troubles) that confront all Americans.
Funded grant program of the New York Humanities Council, the Council distributes federal funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities directly to notable projects created by museums, libraries, historical societies, and other cultural and educational organizations.