Submitted by Joe Dorinson Brooklyn produced a bumper crop of comic artists. Many of the nation’s premier humorists–Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Buddy Hackett, Jack Carter, Joan Rivers, Fanny Brice (and her avatar, Barbra Streisand), Alan King, Lenny Bruce, Danny Kaye, Abe Burrows, Phil Silvers, Phil Foster, and Henny Youngman–mined their Brooklyn past and Jewish roots for comedic nuggets. Starting in local candy stores, they honed their… Read More »Are We Funny or What?
By Joe Dorinson
“Today I am a fountain pen!” This mantra for Bar-Mitzvah boys in the 1940s, embedded in a mandatory speech thanking parents, relatives, and friends, was coined by teacher/humorist Sam Levenson. Before affluence enveloped our country, a fountain pen proved to be a welcome gift to eager students from frugal parents. Teacher turned comedian, Mr. Levenson captured that transformative moment with a funny observation or pun as in punim.
Today, comedians sling four letter words like old-time short order cooks used to do with hash, the kind you ate, not smoked. They hyphenate mother with a sexual act and offer little or nothing about social concerns. Don Imus, a “shock jock” trying to emulate Lenny Bruce, resorted to racist and sexist stereotypes and almost aborted a lucrative career. What a pleasure, therefore, for this writer to discover a mother-lode of wisdom and wit in the Sam Levenson archives housed in the library of his alma mater, Brooklyn College. What follows is drawn primarily from this archive.
Jewish Humor in American Popular Culture Joseph Dorinson Foreword by Joseph Boskin Print ISBN: 978-0-7864-9482-8Ebook ISBN: 978-1-4766-2056-5photos, notes, bibliography, indexsoftcover (6 x 9) 2015 Buy From McFarland Books Or Buy On Amazon Price: $40.00 About the BookJewish humor, with its rational skepticism and cutting social criticism, permeates American popular culture. Scholars of humor—from Sigmund Freud to Woody Allen—have studied the essence of the Jewish joke, at once a defense mechanism against a… Read More »Kvetching and Shpritzing
JOE’S CORNER – LIVE ON JEWISH HUMOR American (Jewish) Humor in an Era of Ethnic Sensitivity and Cultural Competence: Intersections of Religion, Race, Ethnicity and Gender at the University of South Carolina. Session II Joseph Dorinson Jewish Humor Kvetching and Shpritzing.