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  1. Aug 20, 2013
    7
    "When Comedy Went to School" is a 77 minute documentary about the history of the Catskill Mouontain area in upper New York State. For the most part, however, it is the story of the famous comedians who honed their craft in these predominantly Jewish resorts. These actor/comedians would accept these one night gigs in order to entertain the guests who made the long car trips from NYC to"When Comedy Went to School" is a 77 minute documentary about the history of the Catskill Mouontain area in upper New York State. For the most part, however, it is the story of the famous comedians who honed their craft in these predominantly Jewish resorts. These actor/comedians would accept these one night gigs in order to entertain the guests who made the long car trips from NYC to enjoy a one or two week vacation in "the mountains". From Memorial Day to Labor Day, these hotels represented the places where the residents of the 5 boroughs would go each summer to escape the heat and humidity of the big city.
    The film is ably narrated by Robert Kline and, in addition to film clips of the comics who performed there, there are interviews with the owners of these establishments as well. I submit that my positive reaction to the film is probably colored and influenced by the fact that I worked as a waiter in one of these hotels each summer for 3 years and, as a result, was able to earn enough to almost pay for all of my post graduate education. Accordingly, the nostalgia and pleasure I experienced may be more unique for me than for the average viewer who does not have this history.
    Nevertheless, and regardless of one's culture or religious background, the film is also the story of stand up comedy and this alone is enough to make for a delightful theatrical experience.
    What better recommendation can a reviewer give to his readers than to suggest going to see a film because they will have fun watching it. I give this film a 7.5 (it's technically not the best executed documentary) but, in spite of that criticism, I urge all who feel the need to laught to go and see it. As Jenny Grossinger, one of the more prominent hotel owners, would say...."try it...you'll like it
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Metascore
49

Mixed or average reviews - based on 13 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 13
  2. Negative: 1 out of 13
  1. Reviewed by: Donald Liebenson
    Oct 11, 2013
    63
    Does not quite make the grade. For every great joke, hilarious anecdote, and keen insight, there are cringe-worthy dramatizations, narrative groaners.
  2. Reviewed by: Stephanie Merry
    Oct 10, 2013
    50
    The movie doesn’t offer much more than fleeting and superficial pleasures.
  3. Reviewed by: Walter Addiego
    Oct 3, 2013
    50
    As a grab bag of reminiscences by veteran funny people, bolstered with richly entertaining performance footage, it's boffo.