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Why are there so many Jewish comedians? When Comedy Went to School answers this question with an entertaining portrait of this country’s greatest generation of comics – the generation that includes the likes of Jerry Lewis, Sid Caesar, Jackie Mason, Mort Sahl, and Jerry Stiller, all of whom make appearances in the film, telling jokes and telling their stories. The answer is also found in upstate New York’s Catskill Mountains, aka the Borscht Belt, where Jewish immigrants transformed lush farmland into the 20th century’s largest resort complex. Those Catskill hotels and bungalow colonies provided the setting for a remarkable group of young comedians to hone their craft and become worldwide legends. It was truly When Comedy Went to School.
Fortunately for the filmmakers, most of the comedians interviewed here - Jerry Stiller, Jackie Mason, Jerry Lewis and many other (mostly male) voices - provide lighthearted remembrances to elevate this poorly executed documentary.Nicole Herrington, New York Times, 07.30.2013
Ron Frank and Melvut Akkaya's documentary suffers from an approach by turns scattershot and schmaltzy.Ronnie Scheib, Variety, 08.01.2013
For a disorganized film that has trouble deciding what it's about, "When Comedy Went to School" can be a lot of fun.Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times, 08.15.2013
It answers that age-old question: What happens when a can't-miss subject gets missed?Mark Feeney, Boston Globe, 09.19.2013