Jennifer Caplan ('01) will discuss her new book, Funny, You Don't Look Funny: Judaism and Humor from the Silent Generation to Millennials. She will discuss her research on American Jewish comedians’ incorporation of religious themes into comedy, and how she came to write the book, followed by Q&A with the audience.
Sunday, October 22, 2023
Tentative time: 8pm EST / 5pm PST
a zoom link will be emailed upon registration.
The book, called her "perceptive debut" "that skillfully synthesizes cultural themes "by Publishers Weekly, examines how Jewish satire and American Judaism have interacted over the last half century. It examines Jewish humor focused on the relationship between humor and American Jewish practice and what it means to "do Jewish," revealing that American Jews have turned, and continue to turn, to humor as a cultural touchstone. The book is framed around four generations of Jewish Americans from the Silent Generation to Millennials, highlighting a shift from the utilization of Jewish-specific markers to American-specific markers. She discusses works by Joseph Heller, Bernard Malamud and Philip Roth, as well as Woody Allen, Larry David, Rachel Bloom, and Nathan Englander.
The wide-ranging analysis skillfully synthesizes cultural themes from novels, films, and tweets, while the insightful takes illuminate what it means to be Jewish in America. The result is a discerning perspective on the recent evolution of American Jewish identity.
Jennifer Caplan is the Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati Chair in Judaic Studies at the University of Cincinnati. She received a dual BA in theatre studies and religious studies from Wellesley College before receiving a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and a PhD in religious studies from Syracuse University. She works primarily on American religion and popular culture, with a focus on American Judaism.
Her first book, Funny, You Don’t Look Funny: Judaism and Humor from the Silent Generation to Millennials was published in the spring of 2023 and she is currently working on a new book project, titled Unmasked: Jewish Identity in Comic Books as well as co-editing a forthcoming volume on global Jewish humor.
More about Jennifer: https://researchdirectory.uc.edu/p/caplanjr