Mel Brooks: Disobedient Jew, by Jeremy Dauber

Mel Brooks: Disobedient Jew, by Jeremy Dauber

November 1, 2023
7:00 PM

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Join us for opening night!

Pre-event reception begins at 6:15 PM. Event begins at 7:00 PM. | Admission: $18 | Books: $26 + tax

The Lessans Family Literary Series is thrilled to welcome Jeremy Dauber, author of Mel Brooks: Disobedient Jew, for the Opening Night event of our 2023 Book Festival.


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.

In his book Mel Brooks: Disobedient Jew, Jeremy Dauber argues that throughout Brooks’ 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’ 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, most recent­ly, Amer­i­can Comics: A His­to­ry. He frequently lectures on topics related to American popular culture, Jewish literature, history, and humor at venues throughout the United States and internationally. He lives in New York City.

*Book will be available for purchase and the author will be signing after the event.