"The first time I had a sense of Jewishness as a desirable state," writes Adam Gopnik, "was when I was thirteen and, turned on to the idea of New York, saw that it was made up of Jewish comedians; of jokes." Gopnik talks about growing up in the golden age of Jewish comedy - Henny Youngman, Myron Cohen, the young Woody Allen - and how that comedy lost its zing even as performers like Paul Reiser and Jerry Seinfeld rose to stardom. Gopnik has written for The New Yorker since 1986, and his work for the magazine has won both the National Magazine Award for Essay and the George Polk Award for Magazine Reporting. He is author of the bestselling memoir Paris to the Moon, The King in the Window, and most recently Through the Children's Gate.
Recorded Tuesday, October 16, 2007 at The Newberry Library.