Old Jews Telling More Jokes
The web series ‘Old Jews Telling Jokes’ goes off-Broadway, with shtick, songs, and a script by writer Daniel Okrent
In the beginning, there were just old Jews telling jokes—you know, Uncle Buddy down in Boca or grandpa’s bawdy second wife Hettie. Then, in 2008, filmmaker Sam Hoffman had the idea of filming some of his favorite old Jews telling jokes. He created a website and posted a series of “Old Jews Telling Jokes” videos that soon attracted a devoted following. The most popular jokes (such as this one, about giving directions) have been viewed well over a million times.
Now, at the initiative of Daniel Okrent—the first public editor for the New York Times—and writer and editor Peter Gethers, Old Jews Telling Jokes has been re-purposed as a theatrical production, complete with a narrative through-line and cabaret-style musical numbers. Currently in previews, it opens May 20 at the Westside Theater in Manhattan.
Independent producer Eric Molinsky speaks to Hoffman, Okrent, Gethers, and (old Jewish) actors Marilyn Sokol and Todd Sussman about how a collection of tall tales about rabbis, doctors, and plumbers became a night of musical theater. [Running time: 10:33.]
John Travolta’s massages, ‘homosexual Jewish men’ in Hollywood, and the true nature of prejudice
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.
We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.