Richard Pryor had several early Jewish collaborators, including Mel Brooks. But a new biography says things were not always smooth between the funny man and the Tribe.
Jerry Seinfeld is in trouble. He’s been under attack on the web for the last week or so, accused of racism. The complaints focus on the lack of gender and racial diversity among the guests on his web series, “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” More specifically, critics are steamed over a televised interview with Peter Lauria of BuzzFeed, in which the comic was asked about diversity and he angrily dismissed the question, saying it didn’t interest him.
Lucky Bruce: A Literary Memoir
Bruce Jay Friedman
Biblioasis, 275 pages $29.95
Dustin Hoffman as Lenny Bruce in ‘Lenny’ (1974). Courtesy Toronto Jewish Film Festival
Comedy, explained Aristotle, has a vague history, because at first no one took it seriously. We cannot know for certain if Aristotle was deadpanning, but his observation would amuse Saul Austerlitz. According to Austerlitz, American film comedy has not been taken seriously, either. In fact, the author quips, it is American film’s “bastard stepchild.” With his latest book “Another Fine Mess: A History of American Film Comedy,” Austerlitz gives us a broad survey of the genre, hoping to spark debate.