The argument of whether you can associate comedy to a particular people may be a very long one, but we know that there are some people that have more comic stars than others such as the Jewish people. For a very long time now, we have seen many famous Jewish stand-up comedians dominate stages with jokes that are sometimes clean, sometimes dirty, but are always funny. Collecting only 12 famous male and female Jewish stand-up comedians is no small task because there are so many of them that no matter how hard you try, you will still end up leaving some that are great.
Famous Jewish Stand Up Comedians
1. Jerry Seinfeld
Regarded as one of the greatest stand-up comedians of all time, Jerry Seinfeld is of Jewish, Hungarian, and Syria descent. He began his career as a stand-up comedian when he was in college before he went on to TV. He had his show, Stand-Up Confidential which started running on HBO in 1987. In 1999, he released his album, I’m Telling You for the Last Time.
Beyond being a great stand-up comedian, Jerry is also an actor, writer, director, and producer who has worked on many things including the sitcom Seinfeld which works on with Larry David.
Not only is he one of the famous Jewish stand-up comedians, he is also one of the richest comedians in the world with a net worth that has been estimated at close to a billion dollars.
2. Jon Stewart
After 16 years as the host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, Jon Stewart retired in 2015 leaving a very large shoe for South African comedian Trevor Noah. Beyond the show which many had doubted there would be any to handle better than Stewart, he is generally one of the most famous comedians all around.
Apart from general comedy, Jon Stewart has done his fair share of stand-ups, which is actually what he began his career with since the 1980s. His comedy mostly revolves around things such as politics, satire, and other serious issues.
Born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz into a Jewish family that migrated to the US, the comedian had an estranged relationship with his father, resulting in him dropping his surname for his middle name after considering going with his mother’s maiden name.
3. Sarah Silverman
Somewhere at the top, you will almost always find Sarah Silverman who can be very hard with her jokes and sometimes dry, but never not funny. Once a writer and performer on Saturday Night Live, Silverman is also a producer and an actress who has 2 Primetime Emmy Awards to her name.
When she was fired from SNL early in her career, she revealed that it hurt her confidence, but that was only her rebirth because since then, she has revealed that nothing more could break her.
With a career that has been running since 1990, Sarah is definitely a favorite because she is not scared to take on issues that are very controversial because according to her, comedians should express themselves in a way they deem fit.
4. Jackie Mason
Mason was raised in a strict Orthodox Jewish family as one among six children. He grew up to be one of the most entertaining and witty stand-up comedians of his generation. It is not for no reason that he was listed as one of the greatest stand-up comedians of all time by Comedy Central.
As far as one-man shows are concerned, Mason is a name never to forget as he holds the record for the longest running one-man show on the Broadway. He has won many awards such as a Special Tony Award and an Emmy Award for his shows.
In a career that has spanned for more than 6 decades, he has seen controversies, and all the highs and lows there is to see as a comedian. Born Yacov Moshe Maza, he is also a film and television actor.
5. Amy Schumer
Schumer is entirely in her own class as far as comedy is concerned. Not necessarily one of those you will consider being the oldest in the business, having only started in the 2000s, she has, nonetheless, risen to be among the best.
Born to a Jewish father and a mother from a Protestant background, she was raised Jewish. A class clown in her high school days, Amy has made a name for herself also as an actress. In 2007, she appeared as a contestant in NBC’s competition series Last Comic Standing.
The comic star was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time’s magazine in 2015. Her comedy mostly revolves around gender inequality, sex, and relationships in general in a very fearless way.
6. Adam Sandler
The movies, mostly comedy, that Adam Sandler has starred in have already grossed more than $2 billion at the box office. But apart from that, the man is among the finest stand-up comedians of Jewish race that we have seen. Let’s face it, there were times that we all questioned if he is really funny, but he always comes back to show us how the joke is on us.
A member of the BBYO in his teenage years, a movement that seeks to get Jewish teens in Jewish experience, he is more popular for the many movies that he appeared in, but as a stand-up comic, he has also done well since from his They’re All Gonna Laugh At You! comedy album of 1993 to shows such as his 100% Fresh on Netflix.
7. Joan Rivers
Years after she has died, Joan Rivers still remains one of the most famous Jewish comedians. Of Russian and Jewish descent, the actress, comedian, and television host, producer, and writer was born Joan Alexandra Molinsky in 1933.
She had a career that ran from 1959 to 2014 when she died. Her career like that of most other comedians, had its many controversies just as it had much laughter. Rivers became the first woman to host late night when in 1986 she hosted The Late Show with Joan Rivers after which she went to host The Joan Rivers Show from 1989 to 1993.
She was named as one of the 50 best stand-up comics of all time by Rolling Stone and she got inducted to the Television Academy Hall of Fame both in 2017.
8. Chelsea Handler
And there is also Chelsea Handler who has become one of the most sought-after female comedians. She is likewise an actress, writer, TV host, and producer, and she has also been involved in activism.
One of the things that have made her into this great of a stand-up comedian is her versatility and sheer intelligence in her arts. Not only has she conquered the stage, but she has also done it in movies and TV shows, as well as in books.
She has her own shows on Netflix such as “Chelsea Does,” “Chelsea,” and “Uganda Be Kidding Me Live.”
9. Roseanne Barr
One of the things that would make Roseanne Barr always special is that unlike many female Jewish stand-up comedians and in fact, many other female comedians before her including Joan Rivers, is that while the rest thrived mostly on making jokes about their looks that is sometimes belittling, she took a completely different turn by focusing on different issues even though she started out with topics on herself being a working-class housewife.
The comedian, actress, writer, and TV producer was born in 1952 and was raised in an Orthodox Jewish family. She started stand-up comedy in 1980 before going on to other things.
10. Seth Rogen
Born on April 15, 1982, Seth Rogen is a stand-up comedian who is also an actor, writer, director, and producer. One of the most famous Jewish stand-up comedians, he began since he was a teenager before later moving to acting and other things. It was in Canada that he grew before later moving to the United States.
With a career that has been running professionally since 1999, Seth started his stand-ups at the age of 13. At the time, he shared the stage with comedians that were twice his age on the local comedy-club circuit. Among the movies he has worked on as an actor, director, or producer are the highly acclaimed The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), You, Me, and Dupree (2006), and The Guilt Trip (2012).
11. David Cross
Cross is also an actor, writer, and a director, but it is as a stand-up comedian that he is mostly known. He began his comedy career since he was 17, and has never looked back since then, having had a number of comedy albums, and appearing in many movies and TV shows. Although he was raised Jewish, the comedian is now an atheist.
David Cross has been around since 1990 and his comedy mostly revolves around politics and satire.
12. Don Rickles
Born in 1926, Don Rickles was another stand-up comedian of Jewish race that was famous most especially among the older generation. Until his death in 2017, Don continued being active running his web series, Dinner with Don.
He was probably one of the most popular insult comic stars of his days. He also covered things like observational comedy and improvisational comedy bordering on religion, racism and everyday life.
Because of his influence as a stand-up comedian, there was a special televised show, One Night Only: An All-Star Tribute to Don Rickles that brought together some stars to celebrate him in 2014 during his 88th birthday.