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Congregation Beth HaTephila

An Engaging, Inclusive, Reform Congregation in the Blue Ridge Mountains


Social Distancing in Effect. No gatherings at the Temple.
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The Humor Corner

Jewish Comedy. Seriously.

Jewish Humor. What is it?  A joke? A story? A statement of a problem? An approach to solving a problem? How do YOU, reader, describe Jewish Humor?

Steve Allen referred to American comedy in 1981 as "a sort of Jewish cottage industry," putting Jewish participation in the field approaching 80%.

Some, though by no means all, of the approaches advanced those efforts  -  arguments focusing on language, on sensibility, on history are hinted at above.

But Jewish comedy tends to resist any single explanation. So, at your next gathering, discuss Jewish Humor or is it Jewish comedy? Hmm.

"All comedy has humor, but not all humor is comedy." https://www.almostanauthor.com/the-difference-between-comedy-humor/

Then, be sure to check back next month for more Jewish Comedy. Seriously.

Excerpted from the book Jewish Comedy by Jeremy Dauber


The Humor Corner - November 2020

Focusing on humor without knowing the humorist is like eating only ½ of a pastrami sandwich.
So for the next few months (or longer) let’s take a look at some of the top Jewish Comedians.

The Top 20 Jewish Comedians of All -Time (continued)

3. Billy Crystal

A lifelong Yankees fan, Billy Crystal signed a one-day minor league contract with the club in March of 2008 and played in a spring training game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Crystal struck out in his only at bat, but managed to foul off a couple of fastballs. You think his teammates gave him tsuris (Yiddish for trouble) for wearing a Mets cap in City Slickers?

Billy Crystal on being Jewish: "I'm comfortable being old... being black... being Jewish."

4. Adam Sandler

The story of You Don't Mess with the Zohan, about a former Israeli assassin who fakes his own death to pursue a career as a hairdresser, is one Adam Sandler knows well. The character was loosely based on a hairstylist and former Israeli soldier the actor once knew.

Although Adam Sandler is a vocal supporter of Israel, and although You Don't Mess with the Zohan is supposed to be set in Israel, the production barely set foot in the Holy Land. Only one exterior shot was filmed in Tel Aviv. When Sandler was in the shot, it was filmed in Mexico.

As published in Mental Floss 2009

Wed, December 2 2020 16 Kislev 5781