The Countess and I hotfooted it to the Friar’s Club last night for the launch event for Stewart Lane’s new book Jews on Broadway, but we arrived a smidgen too late for a place at the table. We stuck around a bit though. From the stairway landing we listened to Friar’s Club stalwarts like Stewie Stone, Freddie Roman and Dick Capri who quipped “I’m not Jewish, but I got so many Jewish friends I’m on Schindler’s List.” Nothing like a little Holocaust humor, I always say.
Stewart read a chapter from his new book, and asked one of the very questions I grappled with for a long time when writing No Applause: “Why were the Jews so successful in American show business?” It sounds like the answers he came up with was similar to mine: America as a meritocracy and a land of economic opportunity allowed them advancement in a brand new field. But it still doesn’t answer the related question, which is “Why are Jews funny?” Ultimately, I think the answer to that one is simply, because they (or many of them — Walter Winchell and Roy Cohn weren’t too funny) are.
At any rate, I can’t wait to read the book and see what else I can learn! Available here.