Already closed | 1h 30m | Midtown W

A Jewish Joke

From 44 member  reviews
Members say: Great acting, Slow, Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Relevant

About the show

In this solo dramedy, Bernie Lutz is a curmudgeonly Jewish comedy screenwriter from MGM, who comes up against the Communist blacklist in 1950’s Hollywood. More…

Now, he has to decide what's more important - his friends, or his livelihood? Armed with stories about the great era of Jewish humor, "A Jewish Joke" is about one American's fight against one of the darkest moments of the mid-20th century. 

1h 30m | Already closed | Theatre Row / Theatre One (Midtown W)

Member Reviews (44)


Great acting, Slow, Thought-provoking, Absorbing, Relevant
Avg Score

Meandering, Thought-provoking, Slow, Ambitious

See it if enjoy one-man, one act plays, curious about the Hollywood blacklist, learn how writing partners work, feel for movie business in the 50's

Don't see it if don't like one person plays, want a play that delves really deeply into the Blacklist, don't like plays where most action occurs over phone

Very interesting story

See it if You’re interested in history about the blacklist in Hollywood

Don't see it if You don’t like one man shows

Thought-provoking, Dated, Ambitious, Intelligent, Great acting

See it if you like solo performances dealing with the black list era of the 1950's. If you know nothing about the era, it might be hard to follow.

Don't see it if you do not like solo shows.

Slow, Overrated, Disappointing

See it if You are interested in un-American communists in Hollywood in the 1959’s and don’t mind someone constantly on the phone.

Don't see it if You like a good comedy or good drama.

Great writing, Great acting, Entertaining, Enchanting, Absorbing

See it if You enjoy thoughtful heart felt political commentary that is still relevant.

Don't see it if You aren’t interested in one man shows.

Great acting, Funny, Slow

See it if You like Jewish humor. There where some good lines. The show was otherwise very slow and really could have been trimmed down.

Don't see it if You want a fast moving show which is not stop funny. Don’t see if you don’t like one man shows.

Thought-provoking, Relevant, Slow in spots, Great acting, Quirky

See it if A thoughtful depiction of a scary period in our history that we have much to learn from. Some very funny old jokes.

Don't see it if One man show that can be slow with annoying use of the telephone.

Quirky, Great acting, Ambitious

See it if You generally enjoy one person show. It's hard to pull it off although I have been to many good ones...I would think it was a bit too long🤔

Don't see it if You are tired and very sleepy or not feeling well.😷

Must see, Intelligent, Great acting, Funny, Absorbing

See it if you like a good story. good acting.

Don't see it if you don't want to hear about McCarthy.

Overly earnest, Intelligent, Meaningful

See it if you want to see censorship in action as it was practiced during the McCarthy era, competently told through the perspective of one writer.

Don't see it if you are turned off to one-man shows, schmaltzy Jewish humor, or the ramifications of political interference on creativity.

Ambitious, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if The subject of Hollywood blacklisting interests you. Absorbing subject. You appreciate a one-man tour-de-force.

Don't see it if You do not like one man shows with simple setting. Might be confusing if you know nothing about the blacklist and “Red Channels”

Absorbing, Entertaining, Great acting

See it if You enjoy one actor plays that are well written, sometimes humorous & enjoy old Jewish humor.

Don't see it if You can’t sit for 90 minutes without an intermission or are bored by no set changes for an entire play.

Also The play is 90 minutes with no intermission. Seats weren’t particularl... Read more Read less

Intense, Clever, Ambitious

See it if you like one person shows, and stories about blacklisting

Don't see it if you don't like one person shows, or you like your shows short. This one's long for a solo show, over 90 mins.

Thought-provoking, Resonant, Great acting, Dated, Absorbing

See it if you like great acting and period dramedys--once Johnson gets you, he gets you. Oh, and if you like classic Jewish jokes.

Don't see it if you like a lot of spectacle or you are expecting a stand-up comedian.

Delightful, Great acting, Funny, Entertaining, Absorbing

See it if If you are interested in the history of your parents, and if you want to travel back in time to see what devices they had growing up

Don't see it if If you don't like history or stories about history.

Slow, Quirky, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Entertaining

See it if you enjoy history, comedy, politics, one man shows with great acting. Entertaining/enjoyable action on a single set. His hard work pays off.

Don't see it if you're unable to sit quietly for 90 minutes (no intermission). Mostly a comedy but builds up to several serious moments

Entertaining, Quirky, Funny, Cliched, Clever

See it if Entertaining with some good jokes.

Don't see it if A bit slow moving and predictable.

Relevant, Great acting, Ambitious, Clever, Absorbing

See it if Terrific actor takes on a dark time in history - absorbing and moving performance. Eerily relevant to today’s political landscape.

Don't see it if If you just can’t stand one-man shows!

During previews
Funny, Cliched, Thought-provoking, Great acting, Relevant

See it if You like relevant political drama that also makes you laugh. Reminds you that the times we live in are frighteningly close to history.

Don't see it if You’re anti-Semitic or dislike one person shows.

Also This was really well done though the point was a bit forced.

During previews
Insipid, Overrated, Quirky, Slow, Banal

See it if If you want to see a one man play about the un American activities in Hollywood. A piece that deals with this era.

Don't see it if If you want a good play that deals with communistic behavior in Hollywood and the un American activities. Jokes fall flat. Not good.

During previews
Resonant, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Slow, Disappointing

See it if Johnson (the actor) gives us blood, sweat & tears as 1950's comedy writer swept into Blacklist fever Performace is the catalyst of the drama

Don't see it if Johnson (the writer) does himself no favors with the static concept of "phone drama" Kills pace/often confuses Neat use of Yiddish humor tho

During previews
Indulgent, Disappointing, Funny, Thought-provoking, Slow

See it if You enjoy plays set against historical events. You like one-actor plays.

Don't see it if You want a multi-layered play & performance: the actor is shout-y throughout & the play exhausts the telephone to move the plot...

Also & the schtick-y jokes motifs. The one-sided phone call followed by a j... Read more Read less

During previews
Some funny jokes, To long, Slow, Quirky

See it if One man show, he take you through a time in Hollywood that the government was blacklist people.

Don't see it if Some of the joke are quirky, and it is long to me.

Also A telephone ring in the show and after he tells a joke. My favorite is... Read more Read less

During previews
Overrated, Slow, Insipid, Cliched, Banal

See it if You're intrigued by the title and enjoy one character plays ( he's also one of the authors)

Don't see it if U're looking 4 humor, 85 lonnng minutes and maybe two tee hees. The play is about a man constantly on the phone being subpoenaed by HUAC. OY

During previews
Thought-provoking, Relevant, Funny

See it if you enjoy political plots presented from a personal point of view & are interested in the McCarthy era and the Jewish or artistic experience

Don't see it if you are looking for a comedy or do not enjoy political plots, specifically about the McCarthy era. or you so not like one-man shows.

March 14th, 2019
"'A Jewish Joke' brings immediacy to not only the personal and professional effects of the Hollywood blacklist, but to the current onslaught of internet finger-pointing and fear-mongering that can, and does, ruin lives even more quickly than in the slow-moving fifties. Watching Bernie squirm and ...
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March 13th, 2019
"It’s a sound set-up for drama, but 'A Jewish Joke' fails to deliver. First, there is nothing particularly Jewish about the political landscape it evinces...Despite excellent staging by David Ellenstein and an evocative set design by Michael Joseph Ormond, this hackneyed production adds little to...
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March 13th, 2019
"A crowded, unsubtle piece, jammed with annoyingly incessant, desperate phone business, including frustrated banging of the receiver...Extraneous issues…further clutter the narrative…This should be tour-de-force territory, and Johnson's intensely strenuous efforts are likely to be appreciated as ...
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March 14th, 2019
"Director David Ellenstein keeps the show moving, but this is Mr. Johnson’s piece. He embodies those men who were up against the wall and used a much humor as they could to survive this hellish attack on humanity based not on facts, but trumped up lies and fear...This play made me remember that t...
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