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Showtime Buys Series About An Ultra-Orthodox Comedian

New comedy depicts an aspiring stand-up leaving his Brooklyn community

Stephanie Butnick
May 19, 2014
 Hasidic Jews walk across the Williamsburg Bridge on Rosh Hashanah. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Hasidic Jews walk across the Williamsburg Bridge on Rosh Hashanah. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Showtime has nabbed a new comedy series about a Jewish comedian. But not just any Seinfeld or Samberg—this time it’s an ultra-Orthodox aspiring stand-up who steps outside his close-knit Williamsburg community to try and make it as a New York City comic.

Deadline reports that the Homeland network bought the development rights for Yank, a half-hour show from Sex and the City writers Elisa Zuritsky and Julie Rottenberg, which will follow a young man as he leaves his Hasidic enclave for Manhattan’s comedy clubs while still trying to remain part of the community.

“We’ve always been fascinated by the question of how our families’ expectations have and haven’t shaped our lives,” Rottenberg said. “We realized that this is the most extreme version of a family sending a very clear signal of exactly who you’re supposed to be. But what happens if you have your own plans?”

It will be interesting to see how the show depicts the ultra-Orthodox community of Williamsburg, and whether the writers go for easy caricatures (See: The Mindy Project) or present a more nuanced portrait. That the show’s writers come from Sex and the City, another show for which the city of New York served as its own important character, suggests the latter—which would make it a very interesting show.

Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.

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