Friday, October 9, 2009

Shtick Shift: A New Book on Jewish Humor

In this slim volume (142 pages) Simcha Weinstein analyzes the shift in shtick (modern Jewish humor) from Jack Benny and the Marx Brothers to Mel Brooks, Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, and Adam Sandler.
Along the way, he reviews the success of Jon Stewart and his fake news show, The Daily Show.
Weinstein defines the shtick shift as the new comic sensibility where today's Jewish comics aren't afraid of proclaiming their ethnicity, and have the confidence to laugh about their frailties.
The book addresses issues of Jewish identity and assimilation, and covers years of Jewish comedy from the lower east side to vaudeville, movies, and sitcoms.
It contains a glossary of Hebrew and Yiddish words, and 20 pages of footnotes.