Friday, July 30, 2021
HomeCultureInterview: Comedian Deb Filler on 'Jewish humour'

Interview: Comedian Deb Filler on ‘Jewish humour’

Journalist Keren Cook talks to comedian Deb Filler on Radio Shalom about the history and legacy of Jewish humour.

Filler is a New Zealand-born writer-performer, character artist, teacher and producer. This lively interview offers some interesting insights into Filler’s themes, influences and inspirations.

Born to a German-Jewish mother and Polish Holocaust survivor father, Filler touches on her own life and how it is influenced by Jewish history.

Her family background and storytelling through personal experience is a rich dynamic seen throughout her comedy career.

“I feel so fortunate that I got life after what my family history was, they fled persecution, you take that neurosis, you take that survival thing and you make that funny,” says Filler.

Jewish humour dates back to the Torah and the Midrash from the ancient Middle East. The onset of Yiddish theatre in the early 20th century in New York opened up a a new and unique kind of storytelling.

Jewish comedy has rapidly evolved, particularly in the United States, and Filler brings her own thoughts around how technology is changing comedy and shares fresh new talents in the comedy sphere.

Typical themes seen in Jewish humour include: Heritage, anxiety living as a minority, ridicule and self-mockery. Filler tells a new story, exploring these themes and more in her new show I lost it in Kiev.

Back by popular demand, this show will open at the Maidment Theatre March 13-14, with three shows over the two days. Filler says she has re-worked the show since it first opened a year ago.

“I worked on making it a story that’s about ‘home’ but where is that for me?  Ive added a little more,” she says. “It’s got a bit more focus now, it was just doing it again and again and thinking I could do this better and better.”

Click on over to for more information.

Listen to the full interview below:

Keren Cook
Keren is currently working as a casual presenter at NZME and freelancing as a journalist and Director and voice over-artist. She recently project-managed New Zealand's Jewish Online Museum, and co-hosts a regular show at Planet FM.
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