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If you took the general demographic data for the U.S. and compared it to the demographics of professional comics and comedians in the U.S., I think you'd find that Jews are disproportionately overrepresented in the comedy world. And if you compiled a list of the best comedians in U.S. history, I think it, too, would show a disproportionate overrepresentation of Jews.

To put it in simpler terms, Jews are funny (I realize that this is an example of "benevolent prejudice", but it's true - funny Jews are really funny), and a large number of the funniest comedians ever are Jews - Joan Rivers, Rodney Dangerfield, the Three Stooges, the Marx Brothers, Jackie Mason, Roseanne Barr, Jack Benny, Milton Berle, Mel Brooks, Sid Caesar, Danny Kaye, etc, etc, etc.

I'm tempted to say that it has something to do with the effectiveness of humor in relieving stress due to hardship (hardship being something that Jews are all too familiar with), but I would like some more information.

Is there an explanation for this, from either traditional, cultural, historical, or scriptural sources?

marked as duplicate by Seth J, Wad Cheber, Isaac Moses, Daniel, mevaqesh Aug 20 '15 at 20:28

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    Wow, for a second I thought someone had re-worded the title to my question. – Seth J Aug 20 '15 at 19:39
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    @IsaacMoses - I agree. They help attract attention to the original questions. – Wad Cheber Aug 20 '15 at 19:44
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    One genetic/cultural explanation: for many centuries, especially among Ashkenazim, material conditions were very difficult but Talmudic scholarship (demonstrated by, among other things, excellent verbal abilities and analytical insight) was so respected that the richest families would make sure to marry their daughters to Torah scholars. This meant that exceptional Torah scholars were more likely to raise children in material comfort and thus more likely to have children who survived and reproduced. So genes for strong verbal abilities became prevalent within the Jewish community. – Kordovero Aug 20 '15 at 19:49
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    Also, "were there not enough graves in Egypt" was a pretty witty way to complain to Moses. – Kordovero Aug 20 '15 at 19:49
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    Well, in a recent PBS American Masters special on Mel Brooks, it had a vignette of President Obama saying something along the lines of "thousands of years of unrelieved suffering and lamenting would be too much, so for every 10 Jews, G-d made one of them crazy, so he could amuse the others ". – Gary Aug 20 '15 at 19:54