Jewish Comedy: A Serious History

Jewish Comedy: A Serious History

Finalist for the National Jewish Book Award “Dauber deftly surveys the whole recorded history of Jewish humour.” —Economist In a major work of scholarship that explores the funny side of some very serious business (and vice versa), Jeremy Dauber examines the origins of Jewish comedy and its development from biblical times to the age of Twitter. Organizing Jewish comedy into “seven strands”—including the satirical, the witty, and the vulgar—he traces the ways Jewish comedy has mirrored, and sometimes even shaped, the course of Jewish history. Dauber also explores the classic works of such masters of Jewish comedy as Sholem Aleichem, Isaac Babel, Franz Kafka, the Marx Brothers, Woody Allen, Joan Rivers, Philip Roth, Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman, Jon Stewart, and Larry David, among many others.

Laughter After

Humor and the Holocaust

Laughter After

A global tour of Jewish humor since the Holocaust.

Historical Dictionary of Woody Allen

Historical Dictionary of Woody Allen

Historical Dictionary of Woody Allen contains a chronology, an introduction, a filmography, an appendix, and an extensive bibliography. The dictionary section has over 600 cross-referenced entries on the actors, actresses, cinematographers, editors, designers, and producers he’s worked with as well as his films and awards.

Typically Jewish

Typically Jewish

Is laughter essential to Jewish identity? Do Jews possess special radar for recognizing members of the tribe? Since Jews live longer and make love more often, why don’t more people join the tribe? “More deli than deity” writer Nancy Kalikow Maxwell poses many such questions in eight chapters—“Worrying,” “Kvelling,” “Dying,” “Noshing,” “Laughing,” “Detecting,” “Dwelling,” and “Joining”—exploring what it means to be “typically Jewish.” While unearthing answers from rabbis, researchers, and her assembled Jury on Jewishness (Jewish friends she roped into conversation), she—and we—make a variety of discoveries. For example: Jews worry about continuity, even though Rabbi Mordechai of Lechovitz prohibited even that: “All worrying is forbidden, except to worry that one is worried.” Kvell-worthy fact: About 75 percent of American Jews give to charity versus 63 percent of Americans as a whole. Since reciting Kaddish brought secular Jews to synagogue, the rabbis, aware of their captive audience, moved the prayer to the end of the service. Who’s Jewish? About a quarter of Nobel Prize winners, an estimated 80 percent of comedians at one point, and the winner of Nazi Germany’s Most Perfect Aryan Child Contest. Readers will enjoy learning about how Jews feel, think, act, love, and live. They’ll also schmooze as they use the book’s “Typically Jewish, Atypically Fun” discussion guide.

Mayhem and Madness

Chronicles of a Teenaged Supervillain

Mayhem and Madness

Bailey never meant to be the bad guy in the bulletproof robotic suit, but with every mission he gets closer to finding his father . . . and he can't stop now. Bailey is a pretty average teenager in a pretty average town. He runs track, gets decent grades, and has an unrequited crush. So what is a super-powered flying suit of computerized armor doing twenty feet under his boring suburban home? Bailey needs to know where it came from, if it belonged to his long-missing father, and most importantly, if it can be used to bring his dad back. This lightning-fast adventure inspired by classic comic book tales pushes a good kid to his limits and questions the difference between a hero and a villain. One day he's getting beat up by the captain of the football team, the next day he's robbing banks on Fifth Avenue, stealing diamonds from Tiffany's, and zooming through aerial dogfights. But how much bad is Bailey willing to do to bring his dad home safely? For fans of Iron Man, superhero stories, and dark humor.

The Comic Image of the Jew

Explorations of a Pop Culture Phenomenon

The Comic Image of the Jew

The author's analysis confirms the existence of a Jewish Comic Image that does not appear to mirror directly a lingering Jewish estrangement from, or exclusion by, the larger society. Examines the Jewish Comedian and the Jewish past in association with humor.

The Jewish Joke

A Short History-with Punchlines

The Jewish Joke

Heard the one about the Rabbi and the cow from Minsk? Look no further than this witty compendium, a fascinating and revealing celebration of the great Jewish Joke. Comedy is full of famously funny Jews, from Groucho Marx to Sarah Silverman, from Larry David to Jerry Seinfeld. This smart and funny book includes tales from many of these much-loved comics, and will appeal to their broad audience, while revealing the history, context and wider culture of Jewish joking. The Jewish joke is as old as Abraham, and like the Jews themselves it has wandered over the world, learned countless new languages, worked with a range of different materials, been performed in front of some pretty hostile crowds, and yet still retained its own distinctive identity. So what is it that animates the Jewish joke? Why are Jews so often thought of as "funny"? And how old can a joke get? The Jewish Joke is a brilliant—and laugh-out-loud funny—riff on what sets Jewish jokes apart from other jokes, why they are important to Jewish identity, and how they work. Ranging from self-deprecation to anti-Semitism, politics to sex, Devorah Baum looks at the history of Jewish joking and asks whether the Jewish joke has a future. With jokes from Lena Dunham to Woody Allen, as well as Freud and Marx (Groucho, mostly), Baum balances serious research with light-hearted humor and provides fascinating insight into this well-known and much loved cultural phenomenon.

Sitting in the Earth and Laughing

A Handbook of Humor

Sitting in the Earth and Laughing

Sitting in the Earth and Laughing is organized on the working assumption that humor is born of paradox and contradiction. Hence a book on humor, even a scholarly one, ought to be funny. In that spirit, the author alternates chapters of serious study with chapters composed of illustrative humorous material. "Serious" chapters include distinctive efforts to understand the reality of comic laughter; the laughter of children, the clown, and the fool; the quality of secular humor within the Jewish tradition; and the vexing question of whether there is such a discrete phenomenon as Christian or theological laughter.