Monday, May 5, 2014

My Old Jewish Comedians Show at the Society of Illustrators, a recap.

The poster for the show, designed by Monte Beauchamp. The
poster is available for purchase for $25 via the Society of
Illustrators by ordering here:
This art will also be featured on the upcoming DVD box set fron SHOUT! Factory, The Marx Brothers TV Collection
The Society of Illustrators presented a 2-floor gallery showing in their museum of illustration of my "Old Jewish Comedians" artwork, curated by Monte Beauchamp. The opening reception was held on March 5th and the show ended May 3rd. The show featured all of my original artwork from my three OJC books, edited by Beauchamp, as well as early rough sketches and additional Jewish comedian-related artwork created for books, magazines, prints and DVD covers. This was the most comprehensive display of my original artwork to date, containing over 115 illustrations, plus biographies of each comedian. Also on display was over one hundred of pieces of rare comedian ephemera from my collection,  books, magazines, comic books, records, sheet music, advertisements, brochures, toys, games, buttons, cigar boxes, shoe laces and playing cards,  some featuring art by Al Hirschfeld, Jack Davis and Norman Rockwell. Illustrator Stephen Kroninger loaned many rare Jerry Lewis pieces from his collection for the "Jerry Lewis shrine" and Ben Fentington loaned several OJC comedy records for display.

Boing Boing announces the OJC show:

The following is a photographic recap of the show, the opening reception, and the two panels held in conjunction with the show, the first at the MoCCA arts festival with Joe Franklin, the second "From the Borscht Belt to Seinfeld" at the Society of Illustrators on E. 63rd St, moderated by Dr. Eddy Portnoy and featuring myself, famed comic Larry Storch and writers Bill Persky and Tom Leopold. Special thanks to Mark G. Parker, Monte Beauchamp and Anelle Miller and the entire staff of the Society of illustrators for making this show happen.

Stephen Kroninger's Drawger blog on the then upcoming show:

this large banner was created for the entrance of the show, designed by Monte Beauchamp
invitation to the opening reception

The Wall St. Journal on the OJC opening reception...

The New York Observer covers the opening...

The Jewish Daily Forward...

13th Dimension...

The following photos are courtesy of the Society of illustrators unless otherwise noted

posed in front of several OJC drawings (photo by Ken Farrell)

OJC record covers on display

the Milton Berle shrine

some of the OJC ephemera on display...

the Jerry Lewis shrine, from the collection of Stephen Kroninger...

more ephemera on display...

books, posters and postcards for sale
the main gallery, pre-opening...

Society director Anelle Miller and young, older Jewish comedian Gilbert Gottfried, pre-opening

downstairs gallery

two of the framed pieces (photos by Jeff Cuyuamba)...

the opening reception (photo by Jeff Cuyuamba)

Greeting the crowd with talk show legend Joe Franklin (photo by Jeff Cuyubamba)

introducing Joe to the audience

Watch Joe Franklin at the opening reception as he drops the F-bomb:
(via Kevin Dougherty)

with Gilbert Gottfried and Joe Franklin

with Gilbert Gottfried and Paul Shaffer...

Handsome Dick Manitoba and MAD legend Al Jaffee

Front row: Becky Hall, DF, Paul Shaffer, show curator Monte Beauchamp
behind: unknown, smiling photo-bomber

Michael Townsend Wright, Liz Belmont, Owen Kline

Tom Leopold, Craig Bierko (photo by Liz Belmont)

Handsome Dick Manitoba, Ellen Abramowitz, Joe Franklin

Joe Coleman, Joe Franklin, Larry (Ratso) Sloman

old school chums, Mark Newgarden, Dave Dubnanski

Mad art director Sam Viviano, Eric Reynolds, illustrator Steven Guarnaccia
Michael Wright, Gilbert Gottfried

Robert Klein posing with his portrait

Robert Klein, DF, Abe Vigoda

Klein, Vigoda and Gottfried

the Society director Anelle Miller greets Joe Franklin and Abe Vigoda

with illustrator Joe Ciardiello, Anelle Miller and Abe Vigoda

Fantagraphics co-publisher Eric Reynolds and Abe Vigoda

cartoonist Mark Newgarden and Abe Vigoda (photo by Liz Belmont)

Tom Leopold, Abe Vigoda

Abe Vigoda and my father Bruce Jay Friedman

Bruce Jay Friedman talks with Robert Klein

Al Jaffee and Joe Franklin

illustrator Tim O'Brien and Abe Vigoda

Al Jaffee 
(the following B&W photos by Ken Farrell)

Joe Franklin 

Paul Shaffer

illustrator Sanford Kossin

Gilbert Gottfried 

Abe Vigoda 

Jeff Ross visits the show, with the Society director Anelle Miller

J.R. and friend pose with Buddy Hackett, Jeff's mentor

On April 10th, As part of the MoCCA Arts Fest at the Lexington Ave Armory, and in conjunction with the OJC show, legendary talk show host Joe Franklin and I held a panel to discuss everything Old Jewish Comedians. I also gave a visual preview of my upcoming book "Heroes of the Comics". The panel was filmed and will posted here soon.


Bleeding Cool on the MoCCA panel:

Watch the entire MoCCA panel here;

the following panel photos were taken by Bob Greenberg:

comedian/actor Michael Townsend Wright introduces the panel (cartoonist Neil Numberman in the center, moderated the powerpoint presentation)

the panel

discussing Jerry Lewis

Joe Franklin

On April 24th, The Society of Illustrators hosted a panel to coincide with the show, "From the Borscht Belt to Seinfeld, the evolution of Jewish Comedy", moderated by Yiddish theatre scholar/P.hd Dr. Eddy Portnoy, and featuring comedy legend Larry Storch, famed comedy writers Bill Persky and Tom Leopold, and myself. The sold-out SRO panel was made possible by a grant from the New York Dept of Humanities.—The-Evolution-of-Jewish-American-Comedy.asp
Jewcy on the panel:

Trav SD:

The entire panel can be watched here:

Larry Storch holding the book containing his portrait in the Society's shop

Larry arrives and poses with a print of his portrait

posed with Larry (whiping off his portrait)

photo by Suzanne Grossberg

The following photos were taken by the panel coordinater Suzanne Grossberg (unless otherwise noted):

audience members including Joanna Persky and TV comedy writer Bob Ellison on the right

panelists Friedman, Persky, Leopold, Storch

with Bill Persky and Tom Leopold

photo by Liz Belmont

Larry Storch tells a joke in front of a photo of himself from the early fifties

 the panelists including modorater Eddy Portnoy and Society director Anelle Miller...

Larry Storch and Anelle Miller

Larry Storch by illustrator Victor Juhasz, drawn during the panel

Persky by Juhasz

Larry Storch and Victor Juhasz

Stephen Kroninger and Larry (photo by Aviva Ebstein Kroninger)

DF & JR (photo by Jillian Schienfeld)

The Jewish Daily Forward:
interview about the OJC show with Jewcy:


  1. Whatta night, I tell you, ladies and germs! Very cool, Drew. :-)

  2. Amazing ...... I've lingered over every photo and read each word ...... looking forward to the video of the panel discussion ...... Must have been a helluva evening ..... Everything looks like it was done right and enjoyed righteously & to the fullest.

  3. Jesus my face is hurting from smiling so much - thank you a ton...

  4. So now is Gilbert Gottfried the world's youngest old Jewish comedian?

  5. Yes, Gilbert is officially the world's youngest Old Jewish Comedian.

  6. This is the best use of the internet that I've seen yet. Thanks.

  7. Such an exhibit! Such events! Such an illustrator!

  8. Hi Drew,
    These are brilliant! Just one question, when you are drawing these comedians, do you also have their videos/stand ups playing in the background? Do you just study the photos or also study the videos to capture their personalities? Have you met a lot of them personally? And when you have, has that helped in the drawing?

  9. I wish Sid Caesar had lived to see it, and I wish I could have gone. I hope the show, like all old New York Jewish comedians eventually, comes to California.

  10. Thanks, Drew, for your generous and thorough post! Wish I could've been there.