Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Remembering Gene Wilder - Comic Actor, Screenwriter, Film Director and Author



Gene Wilder, the stage and screen comic actor, screenwriter, film director, and author who died yesterday at the age of 83, was born Jerome Silberman to Russian Jewish immigrant parents in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1933. 

His Wikipedia entry says that he was raised Jewish, but he held only the Golden Rule as his philosophy. He described himself as a "Jewish-Buddhist-Atheist" in an interview published in 2005.

Three years ago we posted an excerpt from an 80th birthday interview with Gene Wilder by Robert Osborne that we attended at the 92nd Street Y.

It runs for 28 minutes and includes Wilder's reflections on making movies and answering questions from the audience.

As a tribute to Gene Wilder, we're reposting the interview today. In it, Wilder reminisces about his experiences in filming Willy Wonka, Blazing Saddles, and Young Frankenstein. Below the half-hour interview video, we're sharing a few clips from his performances in these movies.

(Please be warned that when talking about the excessive swearing that he doesn't like in the movies, he uses an expletive for illustration purposes. We said we'd warn you before posting anything that might offend readers who object to language that the mainstream media find unfit to print. So if you don't want to hear the word, don't watch the video.)

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.)   




Willy Wonka's Grand Entrance



Wilder as the Waco Kid in Blazing Saddles



Puttin' on the Ritz from Young Frankenstein

 

Monday, August 29, 2016

A Joke to Start the Week - "Kosher Supervision: Is it Ever Good Enough?


Summer has been good to us, and thanks to some new friendships and lecture tour contacts, we've been able to collect enough jokes to start the next few weeks. The jokes may be old, but the retellings are new.

Today we're posting another joke by Bob Epstein, who holds forth every summer as recreation specialist at the Berkshire Hills Eisenberg Adult Vacation Center in Copake, New York. Bob is an 88-year-old retired Assistant Principal in the New York school system. His summer duties include joke telling sessions with the seniors who come to the mountains for a summer vacation.

Here's the setup for today's short joke: A very observant guy gets to heaven and sees a big spread of food. And then...

Enjoy!


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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Hunting for the Best Bagels in London With YidLife Crisis Comedy Duo (Britishkayt Part 1)


We've been following the Canadian comedy duo of Jamie Elman and Eli Batalion as they travel the world in search of funny situtations involving Yiddish culture, language, and food.
 
Their web series, YidLife Crisis, was recently nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for best original digital media series.

 
They have taken their act on the road, performing a live version of their show in Krakow, Tel Aviv, Toronto, Montreal, Los Angeles and Birmingham, England.

 
The pair has also received a prestigious grant from the Natan Fund and have created a series of five travelogues featuring their impressions of Tel Aviv. In February we posted their funny Valentine’s Day episode guest staring Mayim Bialik.


Today we're touring London with Jamie and Eli as they search for the perfect bagel (or beigel as it's spelled in England). With the help of guide David Rosenberg they learn the history of "tailor-made" unionization in London's East End. 

(TO BE CONTINUED...) 

Enjoy! 

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Friday, August 26, 2016

Musical Showcase: The Shilitz Brothers of Jerusalem Welcome Shabbat with Song


Today is the first time we heard the Shilitz Brothers of Jerusalem sing a medley of Shabbat songs.

The triplets, Moshe, Nati, and Pini all sing and play the guitar and acoustic instruments with pleasing harmonies. They call themselves Hashilitzim.
 
In this video they sing a medley of songs to welcome the Shabbat including melodies of Shlomo Carlebach and Leonard Cohen.

Enjoy, and Shabbat shalom!

(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, August 25, 2016

Throwback Thursday Sitcom Showcase: Seinfeld and the Mohel


In one of the few explicitly Jewish episodes of the Seinfeld sitcom, Elaine and Jerry help friends find a mohel to perform a bris on their newborn son.

When the mohel shows up at the apartment, he's not exactly what they expect. In fact, he's eccentric, somewhat shaky, and manages to cut Jerry's finger in the process.

Here's a compilation of clips from within the episode. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Orthodox Jewish Beatboxers Surprise Judges on "America's Got Talent"


Two Orthodox Jewish boys got a big ovation from the audience attending auditions for "America's Got Talent" last month. Their beatboxing performance was praised as cute and unusual. Unfortunately they were eliminated in the next round.

As Jesse Bernstein wrote in Tablet,
Beatboxing duo and friends Ilan Swartz-Brownstein and Joshua Shlomo Mendel Leviton made a smart choice to call themselves “Ilan and Josh,” because their full names are a mouthful even for members of the Tribe, let alone Gentiles.
Though they “don’t look like your typical beatboxers,” as stated during the duo’s audition on America’s Got Talent, make no mistake: these young men can flat-out spit. Tuesday’s performance was received with thunderous applause from the audience and four “yes” votes from the celebrity judges.
Based in New York, Ilan and Josh met a few years ago at the Kotel. From there, they hit it off. Leviton, who also calls himself “The Orthobox,” provides the beat (he’s even performed with The Maccabeats); meanwhile, Brownstein (aka “The Aleph Bass”), an aspiring religious singer, spits the tune to their creations.
You may find their sound familiar because they previously provided beatbox background sounds for the Maccabeats and the Y-Studs, two a cappella groups that we have featured on Jewish Humor Central.

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, August 23, 2016

Standup Comic Mindi Yeger Performs at Jewish Week Comedy Contest



On June 26 we attended the finals of The Jewish Week's 18th Annual Funniest Jewish Comic Contest at the Broadway Comedy Club in Manhattan. 

The contest has been run by Geoff Kole for the last 15 years.Last month we posted the winning routine by George Saltz.

Today we're sharing the standup routine of Mindi Yeger.  Mindi credits comedy with giving her the ability to take even a devastating personal situation and laugh about it or in spite of it. 

Mindi has been performing in clubs around NYC and figures she will keep getting on stage as long as it’s fun and as long as she stays funny.

In this video clip, Mindi reflects on her life as a former Ultra-Orthodox Jewish mother, her coping with its rules and attitudes towards women, and clears up a misconception about sex.

Enjoy!

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Monday, August 22, 2016

A Joke to Start the Week - "A Missing Bicycle"


A new week is starting, so it's time for another joke. For this one we're bringing back Michael Hirsch, who has been featured as a Jewish Humor Central joke teller for a few months.

Today Michael, an investment advisor for individuals and institutions, gives us a clergy joke. 

Here's the setup: In a small town in the Midwest, a rabbi and a priest would go for a bike ride every Monday morning. One day the rabbi shows up and sees the priest sitting on a bench without a bike. And then...

Enjoy!

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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Dog Refuses to Eat Non-Kosher While Wearing Kippah


Back in 2012 we posted a video of a "Bark Mitzvah" for a dog named Nicky in Stanhope, New Jersey. Nicky had just turned 2, or 13 in dog years, as reported in a TV newscast.

We have since discovered other similar celebrations, and are always surprised when people attending our lectures say they have attended such events.

Reactions to the posting have ranged from revulsion at the sacrilegious ceremony to praise for celebrating the coming of age of a beloved pet.

In the New Jersey video, the narrator offers a tongue-in-cheek observation that the dog's sister is also in line for a bark mitzvah if she keeps her studies up.

Apparently a dog owner in Israel decided to train it to keep kosher. In this funny video, a dog wearing a kippah is offered a non-kosher combination of salami and cheese. Its reaction is a lack of interest, bordering on disdain. As soon as the kippah is removed, the dog eagerly devours the snack. 

Enjoy!

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Friday, August 19, 2016

Tu B'Av - A Holiday for Matchmaking and a Scene from "Fiddler"


Today is Tu B'Av, the 15th day of the Jewish month of Av. And it's a holiday. A very ancient holiday that went almost unnoticed in the Jewish calendar for many centuries. But in recent decades, especially in Israel, it has taken on the trappings of Valentine's Day -- a Hebrew-Jewish day of love and romance.

Originally a post-biblical day of joy, it served as a matchmaking day for unmarried women in the second Temple period (before the fall of Jerusalem in 70 C.E.).

The website MyJewishLearning.com explains the origins of the holiday:

There is no way to know exactly how early Tu B'Av began. The first mention of this date is in the Mishnah (compiled and edited in the end of the second century), where Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel is quoted saying, "There were no better (i.e. happier) days for the people of Israel than the Fifteenth of Av and Yom Kippur, since on these days the daughters of Israel/Jerusalem go out dressed in white and dance in the vineyards. What were they saying: Young man, consider whom you choose (to be your wife)?"(Ta'anit, Chapter 4).

The Gemara (the later, interpretive layer of the Talmud) attempts to find the origin of this date as a special joyous day, and offers several explanations. One of them is that on this day the Biblical "tribes of Israel were permitted to mingle with each other," namely: to marry women from other tribes (Talmud, Ta'anit 30b). This explanation is somewhat surprising, since nowhere in the Bible is there a prohibition on "intermarriage" among the 12 tribes of Israel. This Talmudic source probably is alluding to a story in the book of Judges (chapter 21): After a civil war between the tribe of Benjamin and other Israelite tribes, the tribes vowed not to intermarry with men of the tribe of Benjamin.

Today most eligible men and women find their own matches through the workplace, the synagogue, summer camp, and, increasingly, Internet dating. In the very Orthodox world, traditional matchmaking is still practiced. The best portrayal of this tradition is in the Matchmaker, Matchmaker scene in Fiddler on the Roof, when Tevye's daughters pine for a match and contemplate the possibilities in finding one. 

Enjoy and Shabbat shalom!

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