Friday, October 24, 2014

Comedy Flashback - Singer Ed Ames Performs a "Bris" on The Johnny Carson Show


Ed Ames, the lead singer of The Ames Brothers, was a pop star back in the 1950s. Together with three of his brothers, his top hits included Rag Mop, You You You, It Only Hurts for a Little While, and The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane.

Ames, now 87, was born in Malden, Massachusetts to Jewish immigrants from Ukraine. After the singing group disbanded in the 1960s, he pursued an acting career. Because of his dark complexion and facial bone structure, he was often cast in Native American roles, including that of Mingo, a Cherokee tribesman, on the NBC television series, Daniel Boone, with Fess Parker.

While playing Mingo on television, Ames developed some skill in throwing a tomahawk. This led to one of the most memorable moments of his career, when he appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson on April 29, 1965. During the course of the show, Ames and Johnny Carson were discussing Ames' tomahawk throwing abilities. 

When Ames claimed that he could hit a target from across the room, Carson asked Ames if he could demonstrate this skill. Ames agreed, and a wood panel with a chalk outline of a cowboy was brought on to the stage. As the studio band played, Ames proceeded to throw the tomahawk, which hit the "cowboy" square in the groin with the handle pointing upward. This led to a very long burst of laughter from the audience, which has been called the longest sustained laugh by a live audience in television history. 

After a moment, Ames proceeded to walk toward the target to retrieve the tomahawk but Carson stopped him and allowed the situation to be appreciated for its humor. Carson ad-libbed: "I didn't even know you were Jewish!" and "Welcome to Frontier Bris." Ames then asked Carson if he would like to take a turn throwing, to which Carson replied: "I can't hurt him any more than you did." The clip became a favorite of Carson's own yearly highlight show and subsequent blooper television specials.

(Special thanks to Marnie Winston-Macauley, Aish.com's humor columnist, for finding this gem and including it in a collection of "Jewpers," bloopers with Jewish content published this week at Aish.com.)

Enjoy!

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Israel's Livnot U'Lehibanot Joins The Shabbos Project With a Welcoming Song


With the worldwide Shabbos Project taking place tomorrow night and Saturday, we found groups all over the world busily inviting largely unafilliated Jews to spend 25 hours immersed in the warm, relaxed atmosphere that prevails on Shabbat, week after week, year after year. 

One of these groups is Livnot U'Lehibanot, an unaffiliated, non-profit organization that has been running co-ed Israel experience programs since 1980 in the city of Tzfat.  The programs facilitate an exploration of Israel and Jewish heritage through hiking, community service, seminars, and meaningful interactions with native and immigrant Israelis.  Livnot programming is geared for Jewish adults with little Jewish background.

Three Livnot members have created a buzz on the Internet with a song to welcome the Shabbat. While it has attracted thousands of views on Facebook, it didn't quite achieve the 360 million views that the song it's based on got on YouTube. That's almost the same as the combined population of the USA and UK, a number that we find difficult to fathom. So what's the song that it parodies? Royals, by New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde.

Enjoy!

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

South Africa's "Shabbos Project" Goes Global This Shabbat, Oct. 24-25



In 2013, South Africa's Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein, had an idea. Wouldn't it be wonderful if most South African Jews kept one Shabbat together, publicly?

The idea took root and last October the majority of South Africa's 75,000 Jews, most of whom had never observed a single Shabbat, adopted the slogan "Keeping it Together" and turned the major cities into examples of Shabbat observance. Dinners indoors and outdoors, synagogue attendance, quiet time with the family, and a well-attended Havdalah concert were enjoyed by the participants.

So what are they doing for an encore? They're going global. Already some 170 cities in 30 countries are geared up for the 2014 Shabbos Project this Friday and Saturday, October 24 and 25, Shabbat Parshat Noach. Challah baking has started, invitations are going out, and Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox communities will be participating in local events and observances.

The two videos below tell the whole story. The first tells about the concept and implementation in South Africa last year, and the second is an invitation by former Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman to Jews worldwide to participate this week.

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.) 


 


(A tip of the kippah to Jack Kustanowitz for bringing The Shabbos Project to our attention.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ray Jessel, 84-Year-Old Jewish-Welsh Songwriter, Sings Irish-Jewish Folksong "Shirley Levine"


Jewish-Welsh songwriter Ray Jessel (not related to the late great comedian George Jessel) has been around a long time, but somehow we only found out about him today. The 84-year-old Jessel was born in Cardiff, Wales, and has been writing songs since the 1960s, including songs for the Broadway musical Baker Street about the life of Sherlock Holmes.

Jessel made his cabaret debut when he turned 72, and has been writing comic and naughty songs that he performed in his own acts and on America's Got Talent earlier this year.

As Pat Launer wrote in the San Diego Jewish Journal,
“There were quite a number of Jews there when I grew up, about 2,000 families and three shuls,” the avuncular Jessel says by phone from his home in Los Angeles. His grandfather was one of the co-founders of the Orthodox synagogue in Cardiff, where Jessel had his bar mitzvah.
“Following the Jewish tendency to be musical,” young Jessel started piano early. He earned a degree in music from the University of Wales, and won a scholarship to study composition for a year in Paris. He emigrated to Canada and served as music director for a Reform temple, writing music for the choir.
He became an orchestrator/composer for CBC radio and television. In Toronto, he got involved with musical theater, and that changed his life.
Jessel wrote material for “Upstairs at the Downstairs” revues in New York, and created songs for the Sherlock Holmes musical, “Baker Street,” which ran on Broadway (1965). He wrote the score for “Helzapoppin,” which premiered at the Montreal Expo in 1967.
In this video clip, Jessel sings an "Irish-Jewish folksong" about a fair colleen named Shirley Levine.

Enjoy!

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Monday, October 20, 2014

A Joke to Start the Week - "Remember When We Started Dating?"


Can you believe it? We're in for a whole week without a single holiday! That's amazing!

So we're looking forward to a full week of Jewish humor and we hope you are too, starting with today's Joke to Start the Week.

Once again today's joke comes from the Old Jews Telling Jokes collection. The joke teller is 68-year-old Dennis Spiegelman, an antiques and collectibles dealer.

Here's the setup for the joke: Helen wakes up at four o'clock, and Lou is not in bed. So she goes downstairs and sees him sitting at the kitchen table. 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, October 19, 2014

Rutgers Jewish Film Festival to Feature Comedies Including "Hunting Elephants," "Quality Balls: The David Steinberg Story," and "Sturgeon Queens"

 
Every year we see a new crop of films of Jewish interest made in Israel, the USA, and other countries. They make their first appearance at Jewish film festivals from New York to California and lots of places in-between.

We've been tracking these festivals to watch for movies of special interest to us, which naturally means funny films, or films that evoke a nostalgic kick that give us a good dose of Yiddishe nachas.

The Rutgers Jewish Film Festival, which will run from October 29 through November 9 at the Regal Cinema Commerce Center in North Brunswick, New Jersey, will show 15 films that touch on serious themes as well, but we'd like to call attention to the three that fit our Jewish humor profile.

Hunting Elephants, a film made in Israel in 2013 by director Reshef Levi (107 minutes, English and Hebrew with English subtitles), is a bank robbery caper pulled off by a collection of aging former Zionist underground fighters. The group is led by a visiting uncle who is a disgraced British lord played by Sir Patrick Stewart.

(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.)



Quality Balls: The David Steinberg Story, a 75-minute-long documentary made in Canada in 2013 by director Barry Avrich, tells the story of Canadian comedian David Steinberg. After attending yeshiva in Chicago, Steinberg went on to comedy fame with performances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and directing stints that included Seinfeld, Mad About You, Golden Girls, and Curb Your Enthusiasm.



The Sturgeon Queens, a film we reported on back in January, will also be shown at the festival. While not a comedy that will leave you laughing out loud, it's a film that will make you smile and leave you hungering for some pickled herring, lox, or whitefish as served for the last 100 years at the Lower East Side appetizing store of Russ and Daughters.



Tickets for each film are available online for $12, $10 for seniors, and $6 for students.

Enjoy!



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Rebbetzin Rivka Leah Zelwig Gets Tangled Up While Sukkah Hopping - Part 2


On Sunday we posted the first part of a video of actress and comedian Danielle Jacobs in the role of accident-prone Rebbetzin Rivka Leah Zelwig, as she attempts to sukkah hop around her neighborhood.

We said it was funny, but some readers disagreed. That's understandable, because the funny part is not the introduction to the video that we posted, but the improv dialogue that the "rebbetzin" delivers while trying to explain some of the bizarre drawings and wall hangings in the sukkot that she visits.

So here is Rivka Leah in full satire mode, speaking in what to some readers will be a funny parody of speech patterns that they recognize as a blend of English, Hebrew, Yiddish, and Yeshivish (a dialect that is similar to Yiddish but that has unique qualities, some of which we discussed in one of our first blog posts.) 

Enjoy, and have a happy Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah and Shabbat shalom. We'll be in shul and at a huge kiddush this weekend before returning to our regular mix of Jewish humor on Sunday.

(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, October 14, 2014

Just in Time for Next Sukkot - A Complete Inflatable Sukkah in Four SIzes



Yarok Inflatable Sukkah
If you struggled last week to put up a sukkah made of wood or plastic panels and metal pipes and canvas and are thinking that maybe there's a better way to erect a temporary structure to last the whole week of Sukkot, there may be good news and a better way for next year.

It's the Yarok inflatable sukkah, created by an Israeli company that specializes in building inflatable tennis courts, swimming pool covers, and jumping bouncers. Now why didn't we think of that?

Pop-Up Sukkah
The Yarok isn't the first portable sukkah.

There have been Pop-Up sukkot and a PediSukkah
but they all had limited capacity (one or two people). 


This one comes in four sizes: 10 x 6.5 ft., 10 x10, 10 x 13, and 10 x 16, big enough for a large family.
PediSukkah

The sukkah is kept stable by an inflatable base that gets filled with water. The whole contraption inflates in 46 seconds and the included electric pump monitors the air pressure and reinflates it when necessary. It can be carried in a rolling cart and has been certified kosher by Orthodox rabbis.

Prices have not been made public, but we suspect that they will be known well before next Sukkot.

Check out the video and see for yourself.

(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, October 13, 2014

A Joke to Start the Week - "Taking Samela to the Beach"


Happy Chol Hamoed Sukkot to all. We had a great start to the week-long holiday and we hope you did, too. Yesterday was the first day of Chol Hamoed outside of Israel and the second day in Israel. 

Today it's another sort of holiday, too. It's Monday, the day that we start the week with a joke. Here's another one from the files of Old Jews Telling Jokes. Today's joke teller is 75-year-old Brenda Fishman, an elementary school principal and retired education consultant.

Here's the setup: Sadie lived in Florida in an active 55+ conmunity. And her daughter-in-law wouldn't allow her 3-year-old grandson come and stay with her. She was so bitter because all the other yentas had their grandchildren with them.  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, October 12, 2014

Rebbetzin Rivka Leah Zelwig Goes Sukkah Hopping (With the Help of Siri) - Part 1 of 2


She's back. Yes, "Rebbetzin Rivka Leah Zelwig" aka actress and comedian Danielle Jacobs is back with a funny Sukkot episode. We've posted her funny Pesach preparation video and others on Purim and Chanukah in previous years.

This is part one of a two-part video. We'll post the second part later in the week.

In part one, she takes direction from her iPhone assistant, Suri, in finding the location of the sukkot on her sukkah hop.

In part two, the "Rebbetzin", speaking in a mock Yeshivish dialect, stumbles verbally and physically as she tries to show her daughter Chanele (never seen but presumably videotaping the shtick) the meaning of the decorations in a few sukkot that her iPhone assistant, Suri, leads her to.

The fact that she doesn't understand some of the decorations doesn't faze her as she finds a way to spin the meaning of a wall of mustached figures and other unconventional sukkah decorations.

 Stay tuned and 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.)