In Yes I Can Say That, comedy veteran Judy Gold argues that “no one has the right to tell comics what they can or cannot joke about…. Laughter is a unifier. It’s the best medicine. It’s also the most palatable way to bring up seditious, subversive topics.” For Gold, nothing is more insidious than enforcing silence and repressing jokes—the job of a comedian is to expose society’s demons, and confront them head-on, no prisoners allowed. In ten impassioned polemics, she frames comedy as a tool of empowerment, a way to reclaim hateful rhetoric and battle the democracy-crushing plight of censorship.
Uninhibited and bold, Gold is as skilled at making readers laugh as she is at exposing uncomfortable truths about our culture and society. In this era of partisan politics and gaping inequalities, Yes I Can Say That is the refreshingly candid, wickedly funny and deliciously blunt manifesto we need.
Dey Street • ISBN 978-0-06-295375-9 • Ebook – 978-0-06-295377-3
Comedian Gold addresses censorship, freedom of speech, and telling jokes in the social media age in this amusing, f-bomb–filled book. The author has a clear message for those engaged in cancel culture: “stop taking yourself so seriously.” Gold—a six-foot-two Jewish lesbian from New Jersey—writes about being bullied as a kid in the 1970s, an experience that sharpened her sense of humor, then discusses comedy today, during a time of heightened sensitivity in which she argues the “so-called progressive left” is silencing comedians: “people have begun to allow themselves to get triggered any time a marginalized person or group is even mentioned in a comedy bit.” Gold highlights comedians who fought against censors (George Carlin, Richard Pryor) and entertainingly honors “brash, outspoken” female comics such as Jean Carroll and Joan Rivers, who spoke candidly about motherhood and marriage in their comedy. Gold knocks Trump (“People like Trump take jokes about themselves as attacks”) and tells people to avoid “knee-jerk” responses on social media: “Stop reacting to every ping on your phone. Read a fucking book.” Gold’s defense of comedy, filled with great jokes and stories of censored comics, is a reminder that freedom of speech is no laughing matter.
Hadassah Magazine • Top 15 Books of 2020
In Yes, I Can Say That, leading funny woman Judy Gold explains why she chose comedy, a profession that allows her to say pretty much whatever she wants: “By the time I was 13 years old, I was already six feet tall,” she writes. “Being an uncoordinated six-foot-tall eighth grader was not what every adolescent Jewish girl in New Jersey dreamed of in 1975. I was taller than the rabbi presiding over my bat mitzvah.” Being a comic was a career, she adds, “where the goal is to elicit laughter on your terms”—and not because of who you are or the way you look.
Thotyssey • Interview
October 30, 2020
A massively successful writer and comic who’s seen at least 30 years of standup’s legacy unfurl, Newark-born Judy Gold has a lot of opinions that we should all be listening to. Fortunately she’s got a popular podcast, an essential new book and an upcoming Election Day Eve virtual show live from Club Cumming to get all her many, wonderful words out to the masses!
STL Jewish Light • Interview
October 27, 2020
Bill Motchan, Special to the Jewish Light
Freedom of speech is no laughing matter – except in the hands of comedian and author Judy Gold. She analyzes threats to the First Amendment of the Constitution from the perspective of a stand-up comic.
The book makes the case that PC police and “cancel culture” sometimes go too far in their quest to avoid offending anyone. That’s a real problem for stand-up comedians who are often funniest when they aren’t bound by the niceties of polite society. Gold also devotes a good portion of her book to the contributions of Jewish talent in the history of comedy and why Jews make great comedians.
GOMAG • Interview
October 7, 2020
In her recent book, “Yes, I Can Say That: When They Come for the Comedians, We Are All in Trouble” (HarperCollins, 2020), Gold takes a timely, relevant look at comedy censorship throughout the 20th and 21st centuries — and warns us of the danger of taking ourselves too seriously.
Gold sat with GO for an exclusive interview about her new book, the dangers of “canceling” comics, and the enduring power of laughter to unify us in the most daring way possible: with the truth.
October 7, 2020
Gold has a unique vantage point on the pulse of America by knowing what makes them laugh. And in recent years it seems not much—not because Gold’s material isn’t funny, but comedy itself appears under attack. Telling a joke, or the resurfacing of a joke from years ago, can end a career.
This break in the nation’s funny bone is why she wrote Yes, I Can Say That: When They Come for the Comedians, We Are All in Trouble, a spirited defense of the art form of comedy and its necessary role speaking truth to power, holding a mirror to society, and uniting people by a shared love of laughing at the foibles and vulnerabilities of being human.
Provincetown Banner • Book Review
August 26, 2020
She has written a funny and compelling new book – “Yes, I Can Say That” – which details her musings about freedom of speech from the perspective of the comic. In the book’s forward, she writes, “It’s terrifying out there right now for stand-ups.” The fear of backlash – and inciting microaggression from the audience members by uttering a politically incorrect joke that offends – is always present in the mind of the standup before, during and after a performance, she says.
The Jewish Journal
July 20, 2020
Comedian Judy Gold doesn’t hesitate to speak her mind. In her new book “Yes, I Can Say That,” the veteran stand-up, actress and Emmy-winning writer-producer (“The Rosie O’Donnell Show”) weighs in on serious topics including free speech, censorship and cyberbullying, while paying tribute to her Jewish (and other) comedy heroes by telling some of their best jokes — and her own.