Friedman's new book, "More Old Jewish Comedians" (Fantagraphics Books, $16.99), a sequel to his 2006 "Old Jewish Comedians," continues his humorous, highly detailed caricatures of the Jewish comedians who once dominated the Catskills circuit.
Mo Mandel had difficulties fitting in as a child. He grew up in the rural town of Boonville, more than 100 miles north of San Francisco, where his Jewish parents were hippies and he didn't have many friends. Between finding ways to rebel against his family and being the butt-end of anti-Semitic jokes by rednecks, the young social outcast eventually learned to channel his anger and frustration into comedy.
Half a century after Mort Sahl packed in Berkeley undergrads and hip San Franciscans at the hungry i nightclub, the man who revolutionized stand-up comedy hasn't mellowed.
The husband from hell. The uncle from hell. The comedian from hell. Richard Lewis is fully aware he has problems. And by the end of his set, his stand-up audiences know he has problems.
Mark Schiff is a rare bird. He's made a living as a stand-up comic for more than 30 years and is much admired in the fraternity of American comedians. For years, he's been performing on the road with Jerry Seinfeld (one of his closest friends). Last year, his book, "I Killed," a compilation of stories of the road from the country's top comedians, got a glowing review on that most exclusive of book review stages, the Sunday New York Times. But swing by my neighborhood at around midday on any Shabbat, and chances are you'll see another Mark Schiff. This is the Orthodox Schiff, who is quietly walking back from synagogue with his wife, Nancy, and one or more of his three sons.
Esther Weintraub is a stand-up comic who can't stand up.