Sunday, June 30, 2013

Comedian Annie Korzen Leaves Them Laughing With "Post-Partum Blues"


Comedian and story teller Annie Korzen has done it again. In February and again in April we posted two of her funny works, a video clip of her Yenta Unplugged solo show and a reading of her feelings about a Jewish wedding, specifically her son's wedding.

Last week Annie took to the microphone at Tales by the Sea, a popular spoken word venue in Malibu, California, to deliver a monologue about what was going through her head as she prepared to give birth to her son and the aftermath of the blessed event.

Annie played the role of Doris Klompus on Seinfeld, has appeared on other TV shows and films and is also a regular on the Old Jews Telling Jokes website.
 
In Post-Partum Blues, Annie tells of the effects of buying into the natural childbirth dogmas of the '60s, greeting her newborn son with tears of profound and hopeless terror ("Who is this creature, and how the hell am I supposed to keep him alive?" She shares the real truth about the imiracle of childbirth ("It is a miracle that anyone who has been through it is willing to do it again.")

She shares her experience in starting motherhood in the cold and windy countryside in Denmark, home of her husband's parents, which only makes the story funnier. We won't spoil it for you by quoting more lines -- you have to see and hear it for yourself.

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.)





Friday, June 28, 2013

Happy 87th Birthday, Mel Brooks! Reflections on a Long Comedy Career


Today is Mel Brooks' 87th birthday and we wish him a very happy one and many more in the years ahead.

This has been quite a year for Mel. He was the recipient of a Life Achievement award from the American Film Institute. He was the subject of a PBS American Masters TV Special, achieved an Honorary Fine Arts Degree from the AFI, and released a new 5-DVD comedy collection.

After returning home from World War II, Mel got his start in stand-up comedy at the Butler Lodge in Hurleyville, New York, in the Catskills Borscht Belt. He went on to become a film director, screenwriter, composer, lyricist, comedian, actor, and producer.

To mark his 87th birthday, we're sharing a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter's Scott Feinberg at the TCM Classic Film Fest. In the interview, he reflects on how he got his start in comedy, how he first crossed paths with Sid Caesar, and the legacy he'd like his films to leave.

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.)


Thursday, June 27, 2013

From the Catskill Collection: Buddy Hackett Tries to Keep it Clean on Johnny Carson Show


As we head into July, we're in a Catskills frame of mind. We're getting ready to give a few lectures at Kutsher's next week and at other resorts later in the month. We're also anticipating the July 30 release of a new film about comedians who got their start in the Catskills and went on to become famous in the larger entertainment world (more details coming in the next few weeks.)

So what better way to get ready than to reminisce and post some classic routines by the most famous Catskill Mountain comedians. We'll start with an old favorite, Buddy Hackett (1924-2003), as he tries to tell a clean joke on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, where he was the most frequent  guest.

Buddy was born Leonard Hacker in Brooklyn, the son of a Jewish upholsterer, and went to a public school that is now a yeshiva. His next door neighbor was Sandy Koufax.

Did he succeed in telling a clean joke? We'll let you decide. Actually he tells two jokes. The first is about a Filipino salad man who kept mixing up the letters "F" and "P" and farked the car by the pire flug and the foliceman gave him a farking ticket. You get the idea. The segment ends with a "guy walks into a bar" joke. 

We're still laughing and hope you enjoy it, too!

(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, June 26, 2013

Comedy Showcase: Molly Livingstone Becomes "Mooly Levenson" in Israeli Translation


What happens when an American transplants herself to Israel and has to deal with unfamiliar bureaucracies?  

A post office isn't only a post office, national insurance bureaucrats can test your patience, and renderings of English names into Hebrew can create unpredictable and funny results.

Last week Molly Livingstone, co-founder of the comedy troupe HaHafuch, made her standup comedy debut on stage in Jerusalem.

Luckily for us, the performance was taped before a very responsive audience, who could relate well to her experiences and her explanation of how she became Mooly Levenson and her son Oz became Og.

Short glossary:
Bituach Leumi = National Insurance
Misrad Hapnim = Interior Ministry 

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, June 25, 2013

Gene Wilder at 92Y: You Asked For More, So Here's The Interview Video


Earlier this month we posted our reflections on an interview with Gene Wilder by Robert Osborne onstage at the 92nd Street Y. We summarized the conversation in a few paragraphs and included a clip from The Frisco Kid.

Now the 92nd Street Y has made an excerpt from the video available and we're delighted to bring it to you. It runs for 28 minutes and includes Wilder's reflections on making movies and answering questions from the audience.

In the interview 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, June 24, 2013

A Joke to Start the Week: "A Dwarf Sees a Shrink"


It's the last Monday in June and summer has begun. Seasons come and go but the Monday jokes keep rolling along. 

For the umpteenth time we dip into the treasure chest of Old Jews Telling Jokes for this short but sweet one from Charlotte Bornstein, a skin care business owner who's somewhat ambivalent about her age.

For this joke you'll have to listen closely or you'll miss the punch line. It's really that short. (Oy, that's another pun.)

Here's the setup: A very small man walks into a psychiatrist's office and asks "By any chance, do you treat dwarfs?" And the psychiatrist says...


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Sunday, June 23, 2013

James Gandolfini: An Israeli Connection in a Funny Commercial


When we were saddened to hear about the untimely death last week of actor James Gandolfini (Tony Soprano in The Sopranos HBO series), the last thing we expected to hear among all of the tributes that came pouring in was a Jewish or Israeli connection.

Well, Tzvee's Talmudic Blog, a blog by Tzvee Zahavy that we follow regularly, found one and posted it on Thursday. Gandolfini was featured in an ad for the Israeli cablevision network called YES. The ad was a tongue-in-cheek commercial for saying YES to trying new ways to stay healthy, illustrated by mob activities such as shooting at a man's feet to make him dance, dumping a body off a bridge into the river, and other such scenes as you'd see in a crime movie.

The ad was created to encourage viewers to try new things, such as a two-month free trial of the YES cablevision service,

We'll miss you, James.


Friday, June 21, 2013

Barbra Streisand Performs in Hebrew at Shimon Peres' 90th Birthday Bash


(Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO/FLASH90)
Israeli President Shimon Peres was guest of honor at a spectacular 90th birthday party in Jerusalem this week. The party was part of the fifth annual Presidential Conference hosted by Peres.

The conference, titled Facing Tomorrow 2013 took place from June 18-20, 2013 at Jerusalem's International Convention Center. It was organized in partnership with Hebrew University. More than 5,000 participants attended this year’s event, including Jewish Humor Central's Los Angeles Bureau Chief Esther Kustanowitz.

As Tia Goldenberg wrote for the Associated Press Wednesday,
Scattered in the audience among Israeli Cabinet ministers and local clergy sat actors Robert De Niro and Sharon Stone. Rwandan President Paul Kagame sat in the front row beside former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, now an international envoy to the Middle East.
(Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO/FLASH90)
The star of the night was Streisand, dressed in a flowing black dress accented with gold jewelry. Streisand sang the Jewish prayer "Avinu Malkeinu," which Peres called "heavenly" and gave her a long embrace and two kisses on the cheek. The prayer, which means "our Father, our King" is recited on the Jewish New Year and Yom Kippur, a day of fasting and reflection. Streisand said the prayer was meant to "cause all hate and oppression to vanish from the earth."
Peres, who serves in a largely ceremonial position, was serenaded by local musicians and entertained by dance troupes, one of which intercut its music with inspirational quotes from the nonagenarian leader.
Here's the video of Barbra Streisand singing Avinu Malkeinu at the event.

Enjoy and Shabbat shalom!

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(A tip of the kippah to Dan Mosenkis for bringing the video to our attention.)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Just Released - Rick Moranis' Hilarious Jewy CD - "My Mother's Brisket"


Remember Rick Moranis? The funny guy who made us laugh in Ghostbusters, Little Shop of Horrors, Spaceballs, and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids? He retired from the film industry in 1997 but now, 16 years later, he's back in a very different role -- singer and songwriter.

Yesterday's New York Times featured an article by Neil Genzlinger about Moranis' latest venture, a new CD titled My Mother's Brisket & Other Love Songs. The CD contains 13 comic songs that explore his Jewish heritage in ridiculous ways.

With this album, Moranis goes back to where he started. He says "When I first began writing jokes and sketches with various Jewish partners one of us would inevitably stop at some point and announce, "Too Jewish!" Too Jewish for the star, the show, the network, or the audience. The songs on this album are all in that category. I grew up hearing the Allan Sherman and the You Don't Have To Be Jewish albums in the 60s. Now I m in my 60s." 

The album includes My Mother's Brisket, Pu-Pu-Pu, Parve, The Seven Days of Shiva, Kiss My Mezuzah, and Live Blogging the Himel Family Bris. If you link to the Times article, you'll be able to play the complete versions of My Mother's Brisket, Pu-Pu-Pu, and Belated Haftorah, a clip that we are also including below. It's a clever rendering of a soliloquy about his being called to recite a Haftarah many years after reaching the age of 13. He sings the song with a melody that approximates the cantillation with which the selection from the Prophets is read after the Torah reading in the synagogue.

Just below this video (it's really an audio, with a photo of the album cover) we're sharing Suddenly Seymour, Moranis' duet with Ellen Greene from Little Shop of Horrors, the film in which he played Seymour Krelborn, the shlemiel who gets in over his head with a man-eating plant.

Enjoy and share with your friends!

(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 Yonina Rosenbluth for alerting us to this story.)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Comedy Showcase: You Asked For It - Another Round With David Finkelstein


Back in January we posted two stand-up comedy routines with David Finkelstein, a comedian who appears in Yeshivish orthodox garb -- black hat, black suit, tieless white shirt -- at the Broadway Comedy Club.

The two posts got a very good response, with readers asking for more. We wish we could find more of his comedy on the internet, but so far all we found was a third clip from the same show. 

In this short video, David touches on movie ratings ("Brief Nudity"), living without a television, and what happened when he found a swastika spray-painted in his neighborhood.

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Seinfeld in Yiddish: Dentist Jokes


A few weeks ago we posted an episode of Seinfeld in Yiddish called The Bar Mitzvah. Since we got a lot of requests for more, we're sharing another episode today.

As we wrote then, a YouTube uploader named A Mishel has done a big favor for Seinfeld fans who want to learn Yiddish.He or she collected excerpts from a few popular episodes of Jerry Seinfeld's long-running sitcom and posted them with the dialogue dubbed in Yiddish and with English subtitles. 
 
We didn't want to have a problem with copyright violations, but the poster seems to have avoided these by stating that the clip is being used for education purposes and should fall under the fair use provisions of copyright law. If you listen carefully and read the translations, you are likely to pick up a fair amount of conversational Yiddish.

In today's episode, Dr. Tim Whatley, a dentist, informs Jerry that he finished converting to Judaism two days ago. Jerry visits the dentist only to be subjected to Jewish jokes while he is being treated. He gets upset because he thinks the dentist converted only for the Jewish jokes.

Jerry visits Whatley's Catholic priest in his church confessional booth and the Jewish and dentist jokes keep coming. It's a funny episode that we hope you'll enjoy.

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Monday, June 17, 2013

A Joke to Start the Week: "Fidelity"


Jewish jokes fall into predictable categories, such as holidays, synagogue, food, health, travel, and so on. But there are other categories that are typified not by the topic, but by the people mentioned in the joke. One example is "priest, minister, and rabbi" jokes. You know, they walk into a bar and the joke takes off from there. 

Another example is what we like to call "Jake and Becky" jokes, (or Abe and Becky or Sam and Becky.) Whatever the man's name is, the woman's name is usually Becky. And the joke usually involves a long marriage or relationship and almost always includes a funny reference to sex.

To get this week off to a funny start, we bring you a Jake and Becky joke by Barnett Hoffman, a 73-year-old retired New Jersey judge whose son Sam created the Old Jews Telling Jokes website in 2009.

Here's the setup: Jake and Becky are married for 50 years. It's their fiftieth wedding anniversary and Becky asks Jake, "Jake, all these years, have you been faithful to me?" 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, June 16, 2013

Don Rickles to Perform Thursday in New Jersey at BergenPAC


Don Rickles, the 87-year-old comedian known for his insults and politically incorrect humor sprinkled with Yiddishisms, will be performing this Thursday evening, June 20 at the Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood. Since we have a lot of readers in the New York-New Jersey metro area, we thought you'd like to know whenever a major Jewish comic comes to town.

Born in Queens with the name Rikhters to a Yiddish-speaking family, he began doing stand-up comedy performing in hotels in the Catskill Mountains in New York. He became known as an insult comedian by responding to his hecklers. The audience enjoyed these insults more than his prepared material, and he incorporated them into his act.

Rickles is the subject of an article by Warren Boroson in this week's Jewish Standard. In the article, Boroson writes:
He has never played down his Jewishness.
One of his sons became a bar mitzvah at the Wall in Israel.
In his book, he writes that the Newharts (Bob Newhart is one of his favorite comedians) invite him and his wife over every Christmas eve. “Once in a while, Bob has a serious moment and says to me, ‘Don, you really enjoy Christmas, don’t you?’
“Sure I do,” Rickles answers. “One of our guys started it.”
He also writes that on the day of his wedding the phone rang at 4 a.m. in his hotel room in New York City. It was Cantor Yavne, from his childhood synagogue in Jackson Heights, who was to sing at the wedding in a few hours. He wanted Rickles and his cousin to meet him downstairs in a half-hour.
The cantor proceeded to drive Rickles and his cousin to the cemetery in Long Island where Rickles’ father was buried. “The cantor put on his white robe and prayer shawl,” Rickles said. “In the still of the morning, standing over my dear father’s grave, he sang the Hebrew prayer for the dead. He wailed; he sang with such tender feeling and heartfelt anguish that I felt the presence of God Almighty in every fiber of my being. Afterward, we recited the Kaddish, the Jewish mourners’ prayer, our words melting the morning fog to tears.
“Before we left, the cantor sang a prayer in Hebrew, inviting Dad to my wedding. Then he finished by saying, ‘May your soul be with us forever.’”
For a good look at Rickles' humor, check out this 1993 interview with Larry King.
 
Enjoy!
 
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Friday, June 14, 2013

Gene Wilder Celebrates His 80th Birthday With a Rare Interview


Gene Wilder as a Polish Rabbi in the Wild West in The Frisco Kid
The Kaufmann Concert Hall at the 92nd Street Y in Manhattan was filled last night with hundreds of Gene Wilder's fans as the comic actor, director, screenwriter, and writer celebrated his 80th birthday with a rare public appearance.

Interviewed on stage by Robert Osborne, the film historian and host of Turner Classic Movies, Wilder revisited many of his 18 films with an obvious delight that was shared by the audience.

Born Jerry Silberman in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1933, Wilder became a favorite of Mel Brooks and had major roles in Brooks' films -- Blazing Saddles, The Producers, and Young Frankenstein. They were introduced by Brooks' girlfriend and later wife, Anne Bancroft. Much of the interview was spent reminiscing about Mel Brooks and their collaborations. But he drew distinctions between Brooks' Borscht Belt origins and his own classical training with Actors' Studio director Lee Strasberg and at the Old Vic Theater in England.

He liked acting with Harrison Ford, who was "wonderful" as a co-star in The Frisco Kid, a film in which he could be serious and funny at the same time. He spent time with two rabbis and learned to sing in Hebrew.

Asked why he hasn't made a film in 20 years, the gentle, soft-spoken actor became outspoken about the trend in movies to fill many scenes with swearing and using dirty words. He didn't want to swear and didn't want to do 3D films. He acknowledged that occasionally the use of a word is reasonable, but he got turned off by their use throughout a film.

Wilder also heaped praise on Woody Allen, saying "Midnight in Paris -- how can you do better?"

He also talked about his five-year marriage to comic Gilda Radner, most of which was spent caring for her after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Following Radner's death in 1989, Wilder became active in promoting cancer awareness and treatment, helping found the Gilda Radner Ovarian Cancer Detection Center in Los Angeles and co-founding Gilda's Club, a support group to raise awareness of cancer that began in New York City and now has branches throughout the country.

In 1991, he married Karen Boyer, who was in the audience, and they have been happily married for 23 years. Now he prefers writing books to acting and writing screenplays for movies. His favorite activity is writing, pausing for a glass of tea and a kiss for his wife, who was in the audience last night, and returning to his writing.

Here's a video clip of Wilder as Rabbi Avram Belinski, just arrived from Poland, in one of our favorite scenes from The Frisco Kid.

Enjoy!

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Oldie But Goodie: Allan Sherman's Mystery Guest Appearance on What's My Line?


This year we've been giving a lot of attention to Allan Sherman, whose Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah parody of life in sleepaway camp was released 50 years ago. We've posted a few rare unreleased recordings collected by Mark Cohen, who just published Overweight Sensation, his biography of the singer and parodist.

We're not finished with the unreleased recordings -- there are still a few waiting in the wings -- but today we thought you'd like to see an episode of What's My Line?, the long-running TV panel game show, the day that Allan Sherman was the mystery guest. This was made possible because a YouTube member known only as romeman01 posted 121 What's My Line? episodes last week, for which we thank him.

Sherman was the mystery guest on the March 15, 1964, episode of the popular panel program, hosted by John Daly, than ran for 17 years (1950-1967) on CBS. The panelists who try to guess his identity are Dorothy Kilgallen, Steve Lawrence, Arlene Francis, and Robert Q. Lewis. The voice that Sherman parodies for most of the appearance was that adopted by Frankie Fontaine, himself a noted comedian who worked in radio with Jack Benny and in television with Jackie Gleason. In the end, even though Sherman uses his own voice in order to give himself away, he still manages to create a warm, delightful moment as a befuddled panel gains a sudden moment of clarity. 

Besides the fun of Sherman's appearance, the episode is a rare look back at what television was like in the 1950s and 1960s. We were surprised to see the low stakes as every wrong guess added $5 (yes, five dollars) to the amount the guest received. Also, we wonder if the parting kiss on the cheek given to the female panelists (they all shook hands) would fly today.

Enjoy!

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Love and Respect - Flash Mob Dances in Jerusalem to Support Pre-Nuptial Agreements

 
In mid-May, lots of couples dressed up as brides and grooms went out to dance on Ben Yehuda Street in the middle of Jerusalem to the sounds of the song "Love and Respect". The dance was created as part of a campaign of two organizations Kolech and Mavoi Satum to support the Mutual Respect prenuptial agreements. These are dedicated to to insure that women who seek a Jewish divorce (get) will not encounter a “dead end” that results from insensitive legal interpretations and stringencies.

In Jewish law, a woman must obtain a bill of divorce from her husband before she is able to marry again. According to women’s rights groups, there are several thousand open cases of men refusing to give their wives a get, using it as a tool to extort more favorable terms in the divorce settlement.

Mavoi Satum is promoting what it calls “an agreement for mutual respect,” a document which, if the couple signs, legally obligates a partner to pay $1,500 a month or half  of his or her salary, until he gives or she accepts a get. The penalty terms would begin six months after one party requests the request for divorce.

Not exactly Jewish humor, but it's encouraging to see some progress being made toward resolution of what has been a difficult issue in Jewish life for a long time.

And it's always nice to enjoy the sights and sounds of singing and dancing in the streets of Jerusalem.

(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 Sheila Zucker for bringing this video to our attention.)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Happpy Birthday, Jackie Mason: Still Going Strong at 82


Comedian Jackie Mason celebrated his 82nd birthday on Sunday, and he's as active as ever, with public and private performances scheduled into 2014.

Born Yacov Moshe Maza in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, Jackie followed his three brothers, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather into the rabbinate, only to resign three years after his ordination to become a comedian.

Jackie is the subject of a long interview in Tablet this week by David Evanier, an article worth reading whether you love him or hate him. The interviewer covers a wide range of topics from his family background, his Jewishness, his pride in the Borscht Belt origins of his comedy, his support for Israel, why Gentiles in general and Italians in particular are his best audiences, and his favorite comedians.

As a tribute to Jackie on his birthday, we're sharing two video clips of his performances. The first is a classic routine about how the dating system is a fraud from his first Broadway show The World According to Me, and the second is a collection of clips from a documentary about Jackie called Equal Opportunity Offender.

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, June 10, 2013

A Joke to Start the Week: "Brand New Rolls Royce"


It's Monday again. Where did the weekend go? Oh well, if we have to go back to work, we might as well start the week off with a joke. Here's one from our favorite source, Old Jews Telling Jokes.

Today's joke teller is 94-year-old real estate agent Malcolm Mason. Here's the setup:

A guy all his life wanted a Rolls-Royce. That's all he thought about, day and night. Finally he reaches a year when he can buy a Rolls-Royce. So he buys one. He's driving the first day, stops at a red light, and sees another brand new Rolls-Royce next to him. 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, June 9, 2013

Sexually Suggestive Double Entendre Provokes Uncontrollable Laughter in Knesset Session


An unintentional sexually suggestive double entendre spoken by a member of the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) touched off an uproarious five minute long bout of laughter last Monday night.

As Stuart Winer reported in The Times of Israel,
Education Minister Shai Piron (Yesh Atid) set the Knesset’s benches rolling Monday night when his attempt to address the plenum was frustrated — and ultimately doomed — by a sophomoric, uncontrollable fit of giggles, sparked by a double entendre. 

In a video posted on the Knesset’s YouTube channel, Piron can be seen taking the lectern to introduce to the Knesset a bill relating to smuggling in prisons. However, when Piron, who is also an ordained rabbi, reaches the words “insertion of forbidden items,” he immediately begins to snicker. 

The Hebrew word for insertion — hahdara – connotes both penetration and smuggling.
“What’s so funny, minister?” asks a deadpan MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud), who chairs the debate.
Piron, apologetic, responds “No, no, no,” and tries to calm himself.

MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism), seated in the opposition’s back benches, is more direct than Feiglin.

“How is inserting objects in prisons a concern of the education minister?” he chortles.
“I’m  beginning to think, what can you insert?” quips Piron, and then finds himself unable to continue amid rising gales of laughter from the benches. “Enough Gafni, stop,” the minister pleads.

Soon afterward, Feiglin’s hand can be seen entering the frame as he offers the helpless Piron a glass of water. Feiglin then addresses the MKs and asks them to calm down, noting that “despite the hour,” some people may still be watching the Knesset TV Channel at home.

“Please, this is Israel’s Knesset,” Feiglin implores as other back-benchers attempt various attempts at further humor, and another legislator whips out her cellphone to capture an image of the chortling minister for posterity.

For more than a minute, the minister — a portly, bespectacled figure — stands helpless at the microphone, his speech in his left hand, giggling, squealing, pushing his glasses up to his forehead and rubbing his eyes.

“You want to wait a little?” asks Feiglin kindly, as Piron makes further failed efforts to resume reading his text. The minister takes a glass of water, but that doesn’t help either.

In the end, Piron gives up trying to keep a straight face, and instead of making his speech, takes his glass of water and returns to his seat. 

A grinning but under-control Minister of Social Affairs Meir Cohen (Yesh Atid) takes Piron’s place and reads the bill, which proposes stricter punishment for those caught smuggling illicit items, and in particular mobile phones, into prisons.

Just another late night in the Knesset.
The video of the Knesset episode is all in Hebrew with no English translation or subtitles. But really, no translation is needed.

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, June 7, 2013

Jewish Traces in Unexpected Places: Hava Nagila Resonates in Southern Poland


In Southeastern Poland, close to the borders with and Slovakia, the sounds of Hava Nagila were heard in the streets of Rzesziw in 2010. The song was featured in a concert outdoors in the rain, with a large chorus and orchestra leading the way, and the large crowd, holding umbrellas, joining in the singing.

As we point out in the headline above, this is a Jewish trace, but not a Jewish group singing. It's a Christian choir started by two Catholic priests in the area of Rzeszow, with much the same energy as the Cornerstone Singers from Texas expended in their country version of Hava Nagila, which we reported on way back in November 2009, our first blog post about the spread of this song around the world.

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, June 6, 2013

A Comedy Classic: Alan King Reminisces About His Family


Alan King (1927-2004) was synonymous with classic Jewish comedy during his career which lasted about 50 years starting in 1955. He had roles in many movies, but we remember him most vividly for his stand-up comedy routines in the Catskills and on television.

King began his comedy career with one-liner routines and other material concerning mothers-in-law and Jews. King's style of comedy changed when he saw Danny Thomas performing in the early 1950s. He realized that Thomas was talking to his audience, not at them, and was getting a better response. King changed his own style from one-liners to a more conversational style that used everyday life for humor. His comedy inspired other comedians such as Joan Rivers, Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, Billy Crystal, Robert Klein, and Bill Cosby.

In this video clip from 1967, which just appeared on the internet yesterday, Alan King tells stories about his family, notably the time when he had the challenge of rounding up his parents' children and grandchildren (all 42 of them) for a 49th anniversary Sunday dinner in their 2 and a half room apartment.

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.)  


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Ashkenazi and Sephardi Chefs Square Off at London Gefiltefest


You may have noticed that most of our posts are related to events in the United States, but we don't want to neglect funny and Jewish happenings in the other 190 countries (no, we're not kidding) where Jewish Humor Central is read.

On May 19, our brethren in the United Kingdom (ranking 4th in our readership) hosted Gefiltefest 2013 at the Jewish Cultural Centre in London. Gefiltefest is an annual gathering of Jews interested in food (are there any who aren't?). 

One of the highlights was a cook-off matching Ashkenazi and Sephardi master chefs. Ashkenazi and Sephardi cooking go back centuries, but the two are distinctly different from one another. Here at the fourth annual Gefiltefest, cooks from both sides took  part in a competitive match-up to test their skills in food preparation and presentation. Both teams were given one hour to complete an egg and potato dish representing their culture and cooking styles. There was only one winner. Who won? Watch the video 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.)



Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Another Lost (and Found) Allan Sherman Parody: Overweight People (Over the Rainbow)


Two weeks ago we posted There is Nothing Like a Lox, one of a group of long-lost parodies recorded by Allan Sherman, the king of musical parody. The story behind the song and others like 76 Sol Cohens is presented in Overweight Sensation: The Life and Comedy of Allan Sherman, Mark Cohen's new biography. 

In our previous posts we promised that we would share more of the lost gems that Cohen discovered during the research that he did for the book.

 Here is another item from the collection. Overweight People is a parody of Over the Rainbow, Judy Garland's signature song in The Wizard of Oz. It was recorded live in concert in Santa Monica in 1963, 50 years ago.
Somewhere, overweight people just like me
Must have someplace where folks don't count every calorie.
Somewhere, over the rainbow way up tall
There's a land where they've never heard of cholesterol.
Where folks can eat just what they want and still be slim and trim and gaunt
They'll find me.
Where every little thing I taste won't wind up showing on my waist, or worse,
Behind me.
And just in case you don't remember the original, the Shermanesque version is followed by a clip from the 1939 film.

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.)