Attend a Virtual Jewish Book Council Author Talk by Jeremy Dauber on Mel Brooks: Disobedient Jew

Monday, January 22 at 7pm on Zoom

Co-hosted by Falmouth Jewish Congregation and the Worcester JCC  | Book sales by Eight Cousins Bookshop in Falmouth:

Click here to register for Zoom:

A spirited dive into the life and career of a performer, writer, and director who dominated twentieth-century American comedy. Dauber's Mel Brooks is a volume in the Jewish Lives series.

What the critics are saying:

[Dauber] has written a piece of criticism as elegant and sympathetic as Brooks is vulgar and savage.”—Tanya Gold, The Spectator

“In a new biography, Jeremy Dauber breaks down how the comedian and director just couldn’t help being a loving iconoclast skewering the establishment.”—Times of Israel

“Dauber . . . has solved the conundrum of writing seriously about comedy. His touch is light throughout. He writes authoritatively about the influence of the Jewish diaspora on postwar American comedy but never forces his points too much.”—Jackson Arn, The Forward

Mel Brooks, born Melvin Kaminsky in Brooklyn in 1926, is one of the great comic voices of the twentieth century. Having won almost every entertainment award there is, Brooks has straddled the line between outsider and insider, obedient and rebellious, throughout his career, making out-of-bounds comedy the American mainstream.

Jeremy Dauber argues that throughout Brooks’s extensive body of work—from Your Show of Shows to Blazing Saddles to Young Frankenstein to Spaceballs—the comedian has seen the most success when he found a balance between his unflagging, subversive, manic energy and the constraints imposed by comedic partners, the Hollywood system, and American cultural mores. Dauber also explores how Brooks’s American Jewish humor went from being solely for niche audiences to an essential part of the American mainstream, paving the way for generations of Jewish (and other) comedians to come.

Jere­my Dauber is a pro­fes­sor of Jew­ish lit­er­a­ture and Amer­i­can stud­ies at Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty. His other books include Jew­ish Com­e­dy and The Worlds of Sholem Ale­ichem, both final­ists for the Nation­al Jew­ish Book Award, and Amer­i­can Comics: A His­to­ry. He lives in New York City.