Funny Business

Three guests who have found fame mining their family stories for comedy learn about ancestors who overcame immense suffering.

Amy Schumer learns of her paternal great-grandmother, who came to America in 1912 from what is now Ukraine, lost her father almost immediately after arriving in New York, and ultimately saw her own marriage dissolve and her name nearly vanish from family memory. She also learns the incredible tale of her maternal eighth great-grandfather’s siblings, who were kidnapped by Native Americans and taken to Canada in the early 1700s, only to become part of the tribe.

Maya Rudolph grapples with the struggle for freedom for her African-American ancestors and learns how her Jewish family first came to the United States. 

Aziz Ansari traces his ancestry back further than he thought possible in Southern India, learning his great-grandfather was a landowner who was forced to patrol his fields with a rifle in order to save his property from local warriors.

All three guests are struck by the contrast between themselves and these ancestors whose names and stories they never heard before.

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About Season Four

Season four of Finding Your Roots series moves fluidly from Asia and Africa to Europe and the Americas, uniting us all through emotional moments that enrich and enlighten—encouraging us to look at our world through a wider, more inclusive lens. Learn more here.

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Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr.

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