Comedy, Lectures

An Evening of Jewish Jokes

When: Wed., Jan. 12, 8-10 p.m. 2011

Whether it's osmosis or contagion or plain serendipity, every once in awhile, relatively tiny chunks of geography manage to make a big difference culturally. It probably wasn't quite the same scene as, say, Seattle at the height of grunge, but the Borscht Belt -- a cluster of resorts in upstate New York that catered to working- and middle-class Jewish families starting in the 1920s -- has made perhaps the biggest imprint on contemporary comedy of any region, having become an incubator for a specific brand of self-deprecating and slightly hokey humor, as well as a training ground for comedians including Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Joan Rivers, and Lenny Bruce. But now that the resorts have all but disappeared and religious identity in general has become much more amorphous, the folks behind "An Evening of Jewish Jokes" ask, "Will Jewish jokes survive?" It's a compelling question, and it'll be explored by UC Berkeley professor Mel Gordon, Jewish stand-up comic Joe Nguyen, and former local news anchor Bill Schechner on Wednesday, Jan. 12, at Freight and Salvage (2020 Addison St., Berkeley). 8 p.m.-10 p.m., $18.50-$20.50. 510-644-2020 or TheFreight.org

Ellen Cushing

Price: $18.50 in advance, $20.50 at the door

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