There are a large number of highly talented Jewish people in showbiz in the US. And when it comes to comedy, Jewish comedians have been ruling the circuit for the past few decades. Jewish Americans make up 2% of the American population, which is why it is so fantastic that most of the biggest names in comedy have Jewish origins: Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, Joan Rivers, and Adam Sandler are a few who come to mind.
In this article, we have listed some of the funniest Jewish comedians of all time. We have highlighted veteran, female, and up-and-coming Jewish comics you should definitely know about.
Old Jewish Comedians with Classic Humor
The all-time popular sitcom Seinfeld was created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, where Larry acted as executive producer and head writer for the show. He later worked on the hit HBO show Curb Your Enthusiasm, where he created a semi-fictionalized version of himself.
The Larry from Curb Your Enthusiasm is quite self-centered, misanthropic, and incredibly neurotic. Audiences from all around the world love Larry David’s show and his character for his quirky and hilarious antics.
George Burns was a famous Jewish comedian, writer, and actor. His career was quite expansive and spanned radio, television, film, and even vaudeville. At the age of 79, Burns’ career got a restart as he starred in The Sunshine Boys as an elderly statesman in 1975.
He also won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and continued to work until weeks before his death from a cardiac arrest in Beverly Hills.
Jerry Seinfeld has to be one of the most popular and funniest Jewish comedians in the US. He is the creator of the most famous American sitcom Seinfeld which features a semi-fictionalized version of himself. The show aired from 1989 to 1998 and was one of the most acclaimed shows of the era.
Seinfeld specializes in observational humor and acutely picks up mannerisms and quirks most people don’t pay attention to. Comedy Central called Jerry Seinfeld the 12th Greatest Stand-Up Comedian of All Time in 2005. Now, Jerry Seinfeld is the host and creator of the web series called Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.
Billy Crystal rose to fame with his television role in the sitcom Soap by ABC. He was also a frequent host and cast member of Saturday Night Live and became a Hollywood star later by working in films like The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, City Slickers, Analyze This, and Mr. Saturday Night. He also voiced the character of Mike Wazowski in the Monsters Inc. movies.
Mel Brooks is one of the oldest and most respected Jewish comedians in the US and is known for his comedic parodies, writing, and performances. He worked with Carl Reiner to create the comic character for Your Show of Shows called The 2000-Year-Old Man.
In the 1970s, Mel Brooks started working as a film director and produced hits like Young Frankenstein, High Anxiety, History of the World, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Spaceballs, Blazing Saddles, and so many more.
Witty Jewish Female Comedians
Gilda Radner was an American actress and comedian who was one of the original members of the cast of Saturday Night Live, which aired on NBC. In the sketch show, Gilda impersonated various television stereotypes like news anchors and advice specialists and even won an Emmy for her amazing performances.
Gilda’s work at SNL pushed her to become an icon and inspiration for others in the world of comedy. She married Gene Wilder, who was also a comedian and fulfilled her last wishes about spreading awareness about ovarian cancer, the illness that took her life.
Sarah Silverman is a popular Jewish actress, writer, and comedian who talks about homophobia, racism, and sexism. She isn’t hesitant to discuss controversial topics and has joked about various social taboos, politics, and religion in a satirical and deadpan manner. Her work for TV has been praised and loved by critics and audiences, and she has even won two Emmy Awards for it.
Lisa Kudrow is known all across the globe for her character Phoebe Buffay in Friends. She is a comedic actor, screenwriter, and producer and has also worked in other hit works like Analyze This, Michele’s High School, Reunion, Clockwatchers, and The Comeback.
Lisa grew up in a Jewish household and is a natural comedian with a great sense of improvisation. She can make the mundane exciting with her sense of humor and is quite different from her character on Friends in real life.
Famous Jewish Comedians That Are Taking the World by Storm
Adam Sandler is a world-famous American comedian, actor, producer, and screenwriter. He started his career in comedy at Saturday Night Live and became a cast member with his talents. Later, he starred in high-grossing Hollywood films and became an A-list celebrity after acting in The Meyerowitz Series, Funny People, Spanglish, Punch-Drunk Love, Reign Over Me, Big Daddy, Grown ups, and so many more.
The film Don’t Mess with Zohan is actually loosely based on a hairstylist and Israeli soldier Sandler knew, and it shows how deep-rooted his Jewish culture is in his personal life. Adam Sandler is a big supporter of Israel, but the movie was mostly shot in Mexico, with only one exterior shot of Tel Aviv.
Ben Stiller is an American comedian, writer, and actor who is the son of two veteran comics, Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara. When he got his start in comedy, Ben wrote various mockumentaries and was even offered a show called The Ben Stiller Show.
Ben later started working in comedy movies and has starred in, written, produced and directed over 50 movies. His most popular works have to be The Cable Guy, Zoolander, There’s Something About Mary, DodgeBall, The Madagascar Series, and the Night at the Museum trilogy.
Howard Stern has been a notable Jewish radio personality since joining Sirius Satellite Radio in 2006. With his continued efforts, he has become one of the most highly-paid radio stars in the US. Time Magazine also listed him as one of the Most Influential People in the World. Even though both of Howard’s parents have Jewish origins, he likes to say publicly that he is half-Jewish and half-Italian.
Up-and-Coming Jewish Comedians You Must Know About
Annie Lederman is one of the funniest Jewish comedians who are comparatively new to the scene. She is one of the most well-known female comics and also hosts a podcast of her own. Most people are unaware that Annie is a fraternal twin and grew up in an English, German, and Jewish household.
Annie became a popular comedian through mostly her social media content which allowed her an outlet to express her goofiness. Aside from that, she is also a talented comedy writer and has been a guest for several podcasts.
If you want to experience a very diverse comedian, you must check out Jared Goldstein’s comedy. He labels himself as a Japanese, Jewish, and gay comic and incorporates his identity and experiences in his comedy.
Jared is best known for his appearances on the shows Nikki Fre$h, Modern Family, and The Unicorn. He is a young comic based in Los Angeles and has been recognized by Time Out’s LA as Comics to Watch for the upcoming year.
Catherine Cohen is an up-and-coming Jewish comedian who is known widely in Brooklyn for her great voice and comedic songs. If you are a fan of Rachel Bloom, you will instantly be reminded of her when you watch Catherine Cohen break into a song on stage.
She also has a passion for voice-acting and does comedy alongside it. You can get tickets to her show at the Club Cumming in the East Village or catch her podcast online called Seek Treatment with Cat and Pret.
The Funniest Jewish Comedians and Actors
This list ranks the funniest Jewish stand-up comedians and comedic actors. Some of these celebrities are Jewish by religion, while others are Jewish by ancestry. Many of these famous comics poke fun at their heritage in their acts.
Comedy and Jews go together like pastrami and rye – it’s just a simple fact of life. The US comedy circuit is brimming with new and old Jewish comedic talent, and most comedians are known to have been raised Jewish.
However, this raises the question: why are Jewish people so funny? A psychologist has shared a possible explanation that Jewish humor is born out of depression and alienation and is a defense mechanism to ward off hostility and aggression.
This explanation may be morbid, but Mel Brooks agrees with it, saying, “If they’re laughing, how can they bludgeon you to death?” (Source: Aish). This article has highlighted the funniest Jewish comedians in the US who have been spreading joy and making people laugh to help them forget their worries, even if for a little while.
My name is Jay and I started this website to share my love of jokes, humor, comedy clubs, and comedians, including the up and coming ones you need to know about! Please feel to send me your suggestions and feedback through the contact form.