Jews and comedy go together like cream cheese and bagels — it’s just a fact. Seriously, the comedy world is brimming with Jews.
But why are Jews funny? The New York Times asked that question just last year. Psychologist Samuel Janus’ explanation is that “Jewish humor is born of depression and alienation from the general culture. For Jewish comedians, comedy is a defense mechanism to ward off the aggression and hostility of others.”
Notorious Jewish comedian Mel Brooks put it more bluntly: “If they’re laughing, how can they bludgeon you to death?”
As a Jew, I’m particularly fond of the stereotype that we’re funny. But as a woman, I detest the trope that my gender is not. Why? Because it’s not true. Women are fucking hilarious. And Jewish women? Especially so.
So here are eight rising Jewish female comedians that will make you laugh until your belly is sore and you’ve soiled your panties. Skip the gym and watch these comedians live — by the end of their sets, I promise you’ll have a six pack.
1. Emily Wilson
Emily Wilson might be the funniest person on Instagram, and I’m not being hyperbolic. The NYU grad’s stories are generally 50 slides of absolute gold, including impressions and hilarious stories about her Jewish dad, pictures of the latest book she’s reading, and inspiring positive affirmations. Wilson’s charisma and on-the-nose comedy about life as a Jewish New York City millennial commands every stage she performs on. Self described as a “spunky, confident lil Jewish gal,” the 22-year-old smashes stigmas about female sexuality on every medium imaginable. Catch her comparing sex without an orgasm to just missing the subway train at her monthly comedy show, The Emily Wilson Show. Oh, did I mention she wears a gold necklace that spells “Narcissist?”
2. Ester Steinberg
When Ester Steinberg gets on stage, she cuts straight to the chase: “My name is from the Holocaust, it was on Schindler’s list twice. Permission to laugh.” The Tampa native got her start performing stand-up in New York City and now hosts the weekly Kibbitz Room Comedy Show in Los Angeles at Canter’s Deli. The comedian, who’s had roles in Funny Girls and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, often dons a silver necklace with her Hebrew name, which is particularly fitting when performing sets about her mom encouraging her to date Jewish men. If you can’t catch her on tour, check out her sketch series Esoteric.
3. Emmy Blotnik
Another NYC starlet, Emmy Blotnick just wants to climb a human mountain — specifically, The Rock. “God I hope his type is Jewish women who get tired easily,” she told the crowd when she performed on Conan last August. Blotnick is currently a staff writer for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, but you can catch her performing sets dripping with Jewish humor at popular clubs like the Comedy Cellar and Fat Black Pussycat in NYC (or, you know, YouTube!!!).
4. Alison Stevenson
Alison Stevenson is a self-described fat slut who loves Frasier (FSWLF). Based in Los Angeles, Stevenson uses her comedy and platform to reclaim the word “fat” and recently founded Thicc Strip, a body positive strip show. Her 2017 comedy album “Eat Me” is a national treasure; if you’ve only got time for one track, skip to “Jewish,” obviously. When she’s not writing about why she still doesn’t give blowjobs, or making cameo appearances in Ariana Grande’s music videos, Stevenson co-hosts the V Single Podcast and posts body positive photos of herself on Instagram.
5. Jena Friedman
Nazi jokes are kinda Jena Friedman’s thing. The 36-year-old Jersey girl cultivated her craft in Chicago, but now graces New York City with her comedic talents. A former writer for the Late Show with David Letterman and a field producer at The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Friedman’s delivery is monotone and dry, but her jokes about Trump and sexual assault always deliver. While you patiently await the release of Soft Focus with Jena Friedman, her newest Adult Swim series, check out her 2016 special American Cunt.
6. Catherine Cohen
Boys never wanted to kiss her, so now Catherine Cohen does comedy — and pretty damn well. The Brooklyn-based comedian is known for her powerhouse voice and comedic songs, reminiscent of fellow Jewish comedian Rachel Bloom’s work. “Voiceover me is a cool, sexy chick who knows what’s up and doesn’t give a shit,” Cohen told the Village Voice last summer. “And comedy me, like, could not care less.” Catch the bubbly comedian at her weekly comedy show Cabarnet Cabaret at Club Cumming in the East Village, and the monthly show It’s a Guy Thing she co-hosts with Mitra Jouhari and Patti Harrison. Oh, and listen to her podcast, Seek Treatment With Cat and Pret.
7. Remy Kassimir
Stand-up comedian Remy Kassimir has never had an orgasm — that is, until she created the hit sex podcast “How Cum,” which was recorded at her Jewish grandmother’s Upper East Side apartment. With the help of guests, sexperts, and the Womanizer sex toy, Kassimir experienced her first orgasm (yay!) and helped loads of listeners climax as well. The comedian appeared on an episode of Netflix’s Explained about the female orgasm, and when she’s not interviewing high profile sexperts like Dan Savage and Dr. Helen Fisher, Kassimir performs at comedy clubs around the city and plays with her cats.
While I sobbed softly, my Uber driver acted like nothing happened and turned on Ariana Grande. Five stars.
— Remy Kassimir (@RemyKassimir) January 27, 2019
8. Orli Matlow
New York based comedian Orli Matlow made her Jewish parents and Hebrew school proud when she translated the Hebrew version of Playboy for New York Magazine. Currently a staff a writer at the humor site Someecards, the Canadian Jewess — half Jewish, “like Drake” — frequents comedy venues like Pete’s Candy Store and The PIT in New York City. When she’s not roasting Jared Kushner, she performs hilarious Hanukkah sets and miraculously manages to turn one minute of content into eight. Need more of a reason to watch Matlow? Here’s a one-liner for you: “Depression and anxiety is fun! It’s like a two-in-one shampoo and conditioner.”