Blue Jasmine opened last week to widespread critical acclaim, continuing the recent streak of winners that have marked Woody Allen’s surprise comeback. This is a relief for any Jewish comedy aficionado, as for a while there it seemed as though for every Bananas, Annie Hall, and Crimes & Misdemeanors, there would be a Curse of the Jade Scorpion or Whatever Works to diminish his legacy.
A number of reviews have noted that Blue Jasmine shows a Woody Allen who is hyper-aware of the disparity between himself and the modern world. Cate Blanchett’s character makes a concentrated (albeit reluctant) effort to “get on the Internet,” a terminology many have remarked could only come from people who didn’t grow up on the Internet.
It brings up an interesting question: Where does the canon of Jewish humor fit in to the modern world? It’s interesting to note the differences and similarities between the old guard of Jewish humorists—Woody Allen, Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David—and contemporary comedians like Andy Samberg. Samberg’s films are largely genre parody and goofball humor, which has been the vogue in comedy at large in recent years. One wonders whether comedians like Samberg are going through a period of “early, funny” films in the same vein as Allen’s early, Marx Brothers-inspired comedies. Comedy has undergone a significant transformation since 2000, but who knows what it will become when it reaches maturation.