Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Jean Carroll was the first famous female standup comic. She died in 2011 at age 98. Until now, video of her has not been available.
Carroll was born as Celine Zeigman on January 7, 1911 in Paris, France. She began her career as part of the comedy dance team Carroll and Howe, with her husband, vaudevillian Buddy Howe, who later became her manager.
She appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show more than 20 times and had her own short-lived sitcom, The Jean Carroll Show (also known as Take It From Me), which aired for one season (1953–1954).
In November 2006, she was honored with an evening at the Friar's Club in New York City. The emcee was Joy Behar and the main speaker was Lily Tomlin. In 2007, Carroll was featured in the Off-Broadway production The J.A.P. Show: Jewish American Princesses of Comedy, which includes live standup routines by four female Jewish comics juxtaposed with the stories of legendary performers from the 1950s and 1960s, Belle Barth, Pearl Williams and Betty Walker, Totie Fields, and Carroll herself. She was later featured in the 2009 PBS documentary, Make 'em Laugh.
Here's a good sample of her rapid-fire delivery in a routine about travel to Florida and life with children.
(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS: THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS. YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)