Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Jack Benny and the Golden Age of American Radio Comedy$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Kathryn H. Fuller-Seeley

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520295049

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520295049.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 28 June 2022

Masculine Gender Identity in Jack Benny’s Humor

Masculine Gender Identity in Jack Benny’s Humor

(p.86) Three Masculine Gender Identity in Jack Benny’s Humor
Jack Benny and the Golden Age of American Radio Comedy

Kathryn H. Fuller-Seeley

University of California Press

Jack Benny’s comedy frequently upended the idea of heterosexual white masculine domination. Jack was portrayed as a struggling employer and a failure as a patriarch whose radio cast constantly get the better of him. The long-lasting comic feud with fellow radio comic Fred Allen demonstrated a playful camaraderie through insult-throwing. As a second-generation immigrant, Benny’s Midwestern Jewish identity seemed much assimilated, although his humorous themes were deeply rooted in Jewish traditions. Benny greatly enjoyed blurring the sharp divides between masculine and feminine presentation, and his role in the cross-dressing farce Charley’s Aunt, the occasional risqué humor of his radio shows, and his uncannily close imitations of Gracie Allen, discomfited an American culture becoming increasingly anxious about rules of gender identity.

Keywords:   gender, sexuality, masculinity, Jewishness, crossdressing, censorship, scandal

California Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.