Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"Old Jews Telling Jokes" Going Strong as it Heads Into a Fifth Season

Sam Hoffman  (Photo: 92Y)
Here's a special bonus for our readers who responded to last Tuesday's post about the upcoming lecture  by Sam Hoffman, creator of "Old Jews Telling Jokes," the website, the book, and the CDs. Quite a few of you "liked" the post and asked for more like it and more jokes. So here we go.
Yesterday we spent over an hour at the 92Y Tribeca location in downtown Manhattan with a live audience that we'd like to call "Old and Young Jews Listening to Jokes" as told and played by Hoffman.

He delivered an interesting talk on Jewish humor with some insights into the process of joke delivery and the culture that provided the fertile soil for its creation. He started with a disclaimer that "many of you have heard or told these jokes before" but that didn't matter much since the joy of jokes is in the manner of telling and what they tell about the rich Jewish culture.

Hoffman observed: If you tell a joke to a gentile, you get three reactions:
1. When he hears it.
2. When you explain it to him.
3. When he gets it.

If you tell a joke to a Jew, you get two reactions:
1. I heard it before.
2. This is how you should tell it.

Here are four of the many jokes that Hoffman showed on the giant screen at 92Y Tribeca. We hope you enjoy them. For many more, vist

"The Plumber" joke has been told by four different old Jews in such a way that Hoffman was able to interweave pieces from each one so that the chopped up joke could stand on its own. It's funny whether you hear each one in the original or in this edited version.

The Plumber

New York Athletic Club

Long Island Duck

Herschel, the Magnificent Jew

So what's Hoffman's favorite joke?
A German, a Frenchman, and a Jew are wandering in the desert and complaining of thirst.
The German says: "I'm so thirsty and tired, I must have my beer."
The Frenchman says: "I'm so thirsty and tired, I must have my wine."
The Jew says: "I'm so thirsty and tired, I must have diabetes."

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