Thursday, November 27, 2014

An Animated Recollection of Larry David's Brooklyn Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving Day is such an important occasion in America that it triggers special memories of previous encounters with family and friends traveling great distances and consuming more than we should.

Most of us keep these recollections to ourselves or share them within a small circle. Entertainers such as writer-actor Larry David have access to media that encourages them to share their funny Thanksgiving moments with a wider audience.

Here's an animated look at Larry David's recollection of a typical Thanksgiving dinner that he had with his family in Brooklyn many years ago. It was posted on Funny or Die the Emmy-winning comedy video website.

Meanwhile, across the miles, we're celebrating Thanksgiving Day in Jerusalem, from where we'll be blogging until the middle of Chanukah. Yes, it's possible to celebrate Thanksgiving in Israel, where we suspect that most of the fresh turkeys ordered last week and picked up today are going to wind up on the dinner tables of American expatriates and tourists.

Enjoy, and have a happy Thanksgiving Day.

(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS:  THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS.  YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.) 
 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Jackie Mason Reveals the True Origins of Sushi and Cajun Food


One of Jackie Mason's approaches to comedy has always been making fun of sophistication and pretentiousness, particularly if it involves puncturing a snobbish attitude assumed by people who are rising on he social ladder.

All the better if the subjects of his ridicule are people who, before hearing of sushi and Cajun cooking, would have been content with gefilte fish, brisket, and other examples of East European cooking.

In this routine, Jackie reveals his theories about the true origins of Sushi and Cajun foods. They're funny, but they make you think.

Enjoy!


(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS:  THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS.  YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.) 


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Mike Nichols and Elaine May - At the Hospital



Last week we posted a few skits that Mike Nichols,  the late director, producer, actor, and comedian performed with Elaine May on TV shows in the 1950s. 

We had so many positive comments and requests for more of the skits  that we're running another one today.

This skit takes place at a private hospital in New York. Nichols enters the emergency room with a broken arm, having just being run over by a car. Before he is examined by a doctor, he has to get past the admitting nurse, who is more interested in completing paperwork than getting care for this accident victim.

As with all of their skits, the timing is impeccable, and the laughs come from the recognition that this preposterous reaction to a person in need is sadly close to reality, or at least it was in the 1950s.

There is a bit of background noise for a few minutes in the middle of the clip, but we feel it doesn't detract from the story line and the laughs.

Enjoy!

(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS:  THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS.  YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.) 

Monday, November 24, 2014

A Joke to Start the Week - "Community Center"


It's another Monday, and we're taking a break from our series of Mike Nichols and Elaine May comedy skits to bring you a joke to start the week. It's another one from the files of Old Jews Telling Jokes.

Today's joke teller is 85-year-old Archie Barkan, a Yiddish professor and former Catskills MC.

Here's the setup: So they opened up this big Jewish Community Center in an area where there had not been much Jewish activity. And this senior citizen suddenly sees this tremendous senior citizen program. And then...

Enjoy!

(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS:  THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS.  YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.) 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Mike Nichols and Elaine May - Teenagers on a First Date


Our last post was a tribute to the late director, producer, actor, and comedian Mike Nichols. We had so many positive comments and requests for more of the skits that he performed on TV with Elaine May that we decided to run some more.

Here is another classic skit showing Nichols and May as a pair of awkward teenagers sitting in a car on their first date. The dialogue captures the anxiety, uncertainty, and eagerness of young budding love. Some of it was said to be improvised, and it shows the quick wit of both comedians.

May, now 82, was born Elaine Iva Berlin in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1932, the daughter of Jewish parents, theater director/actor Jack Berlin and actress Ida Berlin. As a child, Elaine performed with her father in his traveling Yiddish theater company, which he took around the country. Her stage debut on the road was at the age of three, and she eventually played the character of a generic little boy named Benny.

There is no sound for the first 17 seconds of the routine, but it doesn't affect the story line, so just be patient until the sound kicks in.

Enjoy!

(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS:  THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS.  YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)


Friday, November 21, 2014

Remembering Mike Nichols: First of a Series - The $65 Funeral


Mike Nichols, film, theatre and television director, producer and comedian, died yesterday at the age of 83. He is mostly being remembered as a celebrated director and one of a very few who won an Oscar, Tony, Emmy, and Grammy.

From 1961 to this year, he was widely acclaimed for his more than 20 successful films and more than 20 successful Broadway shows, but our recollections of him are mostly of his appearances on television shows in the 1950s with his comedy partner Elaine May.

The comedy skits of Nichols and May were never slapstick, but they were clever pieces of social satire. 

Born in Berlin in 1931 as Mikhail Igor Peschkowsky, Nichols attended a segregated school for Jewish children. His father, a doctor, fled the Nazis by moving the family to New York City when Nichols was still a child. May was born in 1932 in Philadelphia, the daughter of the director, writer, and principal actor of a traveling Jewish theatrical company. She caught the thespian bug early, appearing on stage in the roles of little boys.

In 2012 we posted one of their funniest skits, a phone call between Nichols as the son and May as his mother. Just click on the line above to see it again.

Today we're posting another of their classics, The $65 Funeral, a skit they performed on the Jack Paar show. As an extended tribute, we'll be posting a few more Nichols and May routines in the coming days.

Enjoy!

(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS:  THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS.  YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.) 


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Brad Zimmerman's Show, My Son the Waiter, Gets New Life Off-Broadway


Earlier this year, we posted a clip of Brad Zimmerman performing a short excerpt from his off-Broadway show My Son the Waiter

The show, a funny review of his life as a comic actor and waiter, was supposed to close at the end of December, but has been extended through March 2, 2015.

Written and directed by Zimmerman, who also stars, My Son the Waiter tells the story of how Zimmerman, now pushing 60, waited tables in New York for a mind-numbing 29 years, before finally taking himself seriously enough to study stand-up comedy, and write a one-man show about waiting until his mid-50s to perform onstage.

Zimmerman is an actor and comedian who has opened for George Carlin and Joan Rivers. He is also known for appearing on HBO's The Sopranos.

Here's a longer (8 minute) look at Zimmerman on stage telling his funny life story.

Enjoy!

(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS:  THE VIDEO IS NOT VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY.  YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.) 

 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Yiddishology: Untranslatable Yiddish Words -- Machatenesta, Mechuten, Machatonim


The Wexler Oral History Project of the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts is a growing collection of in-depth video interviews with people of all ages, exploring Yiddish cultural topics and issues of modern Jewish identity.  

The Project is particularly interested in how Yiddish language and culture inform Jewish identity, and how they, along with Jewish values and practices, are transmitted across generations.

Some of the interviews focus on the intricacies and colorful delights of the Yiddish language. There are words in Yiddish for which there is no simple word for word translation into other languages. To get an accurate translation in English, for example, you may have to construct a phrase, sentence, or paragraph to convey the same meaning.

In this video excerpt from the Wexler files, Milly Guberman Kravetz relishes the flavor of the Yiddish word machatenesta, and renders it into English. Can you define machatenesta (or mechutenista)?

The English translation is the mother of a child's spouse. The male counterpart is mechutan, actually a Hebrew word for the father of a child's spouse, and the parents of a child's spouse are mechutanim, also a Hebrew word. These latter two words have migrated into Yiddish as mechuten and machatonim. They are all derived from chatan, the Hebrew word for groom.

Since the Yiddish pronunciation of chatan is chosson, we could playfully ask why the spouse's mother isn't called a machossonesta and the parents machossonim in Yiddish, but we're not going to go there.

Enjoy!

(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS:  THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS.  YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Classic Jackie Mason: Jewish and Gentlile Names, Occupations, and Lots More


Every time we post a Jackie Mason comedy routine we get lots of requests for more. So here's one of the best and most typical of Jackie's performances -- this one in a very large auditorium in which Jackie was wearing a yarmulke.

In the course of this ten minute clip, Jackie carries on about Jews who don't want to be seen as too Jewish, and makes fun of Jews who try to pass as gentiles. 

Along the way, he shows off some of his cantorial talents, and reflects on parents with very Jewish names who give their children non-Jewish first names, occupations that you will never see Jews working in, and the absence of obviously Jewish names among leading dress designers.

Enjoy!

(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS:  THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS.  YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Jokes to Start the Week: 10 Jewish Jokes in 4 Minutes by Henny Youngman - King of the One Liners


When it came to telling rapid-fire one-liner jokes, nobody came close to Henny Youngman (1906-1998). We've posted some of his other jokes and routines previously, but this set is exclusively Jewish and are all on one of 21 tracks on Henny's CD Take My Album...Please! or 2 Sets for the Price of One.

We usually post a single joke on Mondays to get the week off to a funny start, but we hope you won't object to getting ten for the price of one today.

Enjoy!

(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS:  THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS.  YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)