Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

thescroll_header

Are Jews Funny Without The Neurosis?

A new Jewish comedy manifesto.

Print Email

Winner gets a free Nextbook Press book appropriate to his or her comment (if he or she emails Jacob Silverman, jacobsilverman@gmail.com, with his or her mailing address).

This week’s winner goes by the name of EggMan and comes in response to Josh Lambert’s “Non-Jews Telling Jokes.” Here’s an excerpt: 

I sat down the other day and wrote what I call “The Silverman Manifesto (2012).” The date is important. It’s not 1950 anymore, and it’s not 1975 anymore either. It’s time for Jewish humor to become more life-affirming and positive. Goodbye Catskills, goodbye Borscht Belt, goodbye self-loathing. We are a normal people now, successful, we made it. Cut the self-loathing. I have no agenda here, and I am all ears. I am interested in  hearing from all points of view on this — even from Mel Brooks, even from Sacha Baron Cohen, even from Sarah Silverman! As I wrote it, ”The Silverman Manifesto (2012)” is an alarm bell, awake up call for Jewish writers, comedians, film directors, artists, screenwriters, producers, actors and others to re-examine the state of Jewish humorin 2012 and where it’s headed….

”Enough of this self loathing and self hating! Enough of Jews themselves denigrating themselves in public show sof comedy or books! Enough of dysfunctional families and ghetto Jews from the past!” We are now living in 2012 and we are no longer dysfunctional people nor do we live in dysfunctional families anymore and Jewish mother jokes and Jewish Princess jokes and distasteful Joan Rivers’ Anne Frank jokes should be thrown out the window.

The Bronx and Brooklyn ghettoes are things of the past. Wake up, fellow Jews and castoff your self loathing and self hatred with these terrible jokes about dysfunctional mothers and weak fathers and antisemitic tropes that are sometimes even worse than Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice schtick! Wake up, people! We are a normal people now, successful, middle-class, no longer in theNew York City ghettoes where much of the old sick humor came from. Sure, in the 1930s, those jokes had a purpose. Sure, in the 1950s, after the war, maybe some of those jokes still had a purpose. But now,in 2012, they have no purpose! 

…We don’t live in dysfunctional families anymore and we have success stories all around, in an entirely new and loving way…. Stand up and create a new kind of warm, life enhancing and positive humor that goes beyondthe old stereotypes of yore. Rise up and rejoice, O Jews of America,you have nothing to lose but your long-suffering neuroses.”

The question is, is “life enhancing and positive” funny? While we ponder this, EggMan gets a copy of David Mamet’s Wicked Son: Anti-Semitism, Self-Hatred, And The Jews. 

 

Print Email

”Eggman” also goes by the Yiddish name of Daniel Halevi Bloom, google him. He’s from Avenue J in Brooklyn via Bernie Bloom of same, and he loves egg creams, thus the nickname. THE SILVERMAN MANIFESTO 2012 was not named after any particular Silverman living or dead and certainly NOT Sarah Silverman. But comments and feedback  welcome, yes, pro and con. This is above all something in the discovery process, and hopes to touch all bases, pro and con. There is no agenda, other than to push for a more responsible and 2012-ish Jewish comedy. I am sure there are others out there who agree with me, and I am sure 90 percent of you will disagree. So let’s agree to disagree and see where this discussion takes us. Ricky Gervais Anne Jokes on the Jon Stewart show open for discussion too, as are Joannie  Rivers tastelss ANNE FRANK jokes online in her stage act. I got a funny bone, too, so don’t think i am humorless. After all, as I write this comment today from my wireless cave in Taiwan, it is BLOOMSDAY in fact, June 16, thanks to my literary forebears Leopold and Molly Bloom, who, by the way, I am told, where in fact, not really Jewish. Google it. EMAIL offline danbloom AT gmail if you awnt to keep things privato for now.

re: the hedline — “are Jews funny without the neurosis?’ might be better as “are Jews funny without the neuroses?” plural, no? But i never said neursis or neuroses are wrong or the problem. having neuroses is par for the course for all human beings of all ethnic groups and Jews are no exception. So neursos is fine. But does neurosis mean cracking selfhating selfloathing jokes about Jewish women, see all JAP jokes, still in circulation, or cracking similar selfloathing self hating anti female jokes about Jewish women who are mothers? No way. Jokes about neuroses are fine. Most Jewish humor is GOOD and funny. But ten percent of it needs to be clearned up and that is what the SM aims to do. DISH!

the full SILVERMAN MANIFESTO full text is here: to be fair:
google “The silverman manifesto (2012)” and read it all there

The question is, is “life enhancing and positive” funny?  ANSWER: YES. There can be lots of good Jewish humor that is sharp and edgy and yet at the same time life enhancing and not denigrating to Jewish people…..and can be positive too and still be funny. Jewish humor needs to grow up, get past the 1950s Catskills schtick and Joan Rivers Anne Frank jokes act and evolve into a postiive and life-affirming humor and still retain its Jewish themes and edge. Just no more JAP jokes, no more Jewish mom jokes, no more Joan Rivers bending down to pick up diamonds off the floor antisemitic jokes, WTF?, and all Rikcy Gervasi Anne Frank Jokse adn gthe Jon Stewart show. Jewish is funny. Denigrating Jews is not funny, be it by real antisemities or Jews who think its funny to denigrate their fellow Jews. Come on! Jewish humor CAN evolve and become BETTER. try it

surfer dad told me: ” I’d add the silent writers behind so many TV shows to your diatribe too.
How many smart, normal, Jewish affirming young men have been on TV in the last … say 60 years?It seems impossible for an outwardly Jewish character (from Ross Geller to Seinfeld to Howard Walowitz) to feel an attachment to anything other than non-Jewish women and would never be caught dead marrying one.Enough already. If these writers feel like the producers won’t buy it, stand up for yourselves!!! 

Marc says…..
”DANNNY, life affirming isn’t funny. Positive isn’t funny. We laugh at what’s transgressive, what’s uncomfortable, what otherwise makes us feel ashamed–like little kids laugh about going to the bathroom–because that’s what humor…is. That’s what humor does. For Jews as much as any other group of people, or any individual person. ”

larry adds

”Gut gezogt!”

Do ‘Jewish jokes’ need to be updated?
San Diego Jewish WorldBy Danny Bloom
— When I first began to write “TheSilverman Manifesto (2012)”, I had some qualms about how it might ormight not go over …

Posted on May 25, 2012 at 8:47 am
Reply » 0
Danny Bloom (#5,490) I sat down and wrote The Silverman Manifesto:
”Enough of this self loathing and self hating! Enough of Jews themselves denigrating themselves in public shows of comedy or books! Enough of dysfunctional families and ghetto Jews from the past!
”We are now living in 2012 and we are no longer dysfunctional people nor do we live in dysfunctional families anymore and Jewish mother jokes and Jewish Princess jokes and distasteful Joan Rivers’ Anne Frank jokes should be thrown out the window.
”The Bronx and Brooklyn ghettoes are things of the past. Wake up, fellow Jews and cast off your self loathing and self hatred with these terrible jokes about dysfunctional mothers and weak fathers and antisemitic tropes that are sometimes even worse than Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice schtick! Wake up, people!
”We are a normal people now, successful, middle-class, no longer in the New York City ghettoes where much of the old sick humor came from. Sure, in the 1930s, those jokes had a purpose. Sure, in the 1950s, after the war, maybe some of those jokes still had a purpose. But now, in 2012, they have no purpose! Those jokes should be retired and you know exactly what jokes I am talking about!
”We don’t live in dysfunctional families anymore and we have success stories all around, in an entirely new and loving way. It’s time for Jews in America to wake up and smell the new air of happiness and life. It’s time to stop the self loathing and self hating Catskills and Borscht Belt jokes of the 1950s and celebrate the joyful reality of 2012.
”Stand up and create a new kind of warm, life enhancing and positive humor that goes beyond the old stereotypes of yore. Rise up and rejoice, O Jews of America, you have nothing to lose but your long-suffering neuroses. We are no longer a neurotic people. Stop the Jewish mother jokes, stop the JAP jokes, stop the sick Anne Frank jokes (and books!), stop the dysfunctional family jokes, stop the victimization. We are no longer victims. We have made it. Wake up and celebrate success, joy, happiness, normalness.
”Enough already. We are normal. We have arrived. Leave the past alone. Where it belongs. Stop the Jews are cheap jokes; some of the most philanthropic people on Earth are American Jews: they build hospitals, museums, fund scientific research, professorships, educational initiatives. Focus on the good and the positive; leave the past where it belongs: in the past!
”Wake up and smell the sunshine. We don’t all live in the Bronx or Brooklyn anymore, or Queens or Beverly Hills. American Jews must evolve. Be nice, all ye who are comedians and humor writers. Respect yourselves. Respect what we have become now in 2012.
”Stop the old, out-dated stereotypes. We can write a new chapter in American Jewish history in the creative arts of comedy and film and literature and it does not have to be Portnoy’s Complaint anymore. Nor does it have to be Old Jews Telling Jokes off-Broadway anymore. Mirror the present, stop mirroring the dysfunctional ghetto past. Get past the past! Embrace the now!”Posted on May 25, 2012 at 8:51 amReply » 0
Danny Bloom (#5,490) When I first began to write “The Silverman Manifesto (2012)”, I had some qualms about how it might or might not go over among American Jews, and whether it might be or might not be accepted. Still, struck by some of the God-awful humor that has made its way into so-called “Jewish humor” over the years — most of it good and life-affirming, but some of it tasteless and sexist and even feeding into the Internet hands of neo-Nazis and anti-semites — I decided to push on with the manifesto in order to raise some issues that I hope thoughtful people will address, pro and on. I have no agenda here, and I am all ears. I am sincerely interested in hearing from all points of view on this, and I will censor no one.
The manifesto below is an alarm bell, I hope, a wake up call for Jewish writers, comedians, film directors, artists, screenwriters, producers, actors and others to re-examine the state of Jewish humor in 2012 and where it’s headed. And a look back to the past might not hurt either.
When I proposed this oped commentary to a Jewish editor in California, he told me that it was a good idea but that it needed some work.
“How about interviewing some Jewish comedians on this topic, and perhaps some sociologists and psychologists as well, and give me a report on why some Jews paint false pictures of themselves,” the editor suggested.
What set me off a few weeks ago was the opening of a new play off-Broadway titled “Old Jews Telling Jokes” that was based on a popular video website that was launched in 2008 by some Jewish dudes with good credentials. The website was and is hilarious, and if you’ve never seen it yet, by all means go and check it out. The videos consist of elderly Jewish men and women, over 60, telling one minute jokes they like to tell. Some of them work. Some of them go over like a lead balloon. But all of the videos on the website are fun and funny and offer an interesting window into Jewish life in America.
I was one of the first to sign up for the free weekly website pitches, and I’ve been a fan ever since. I love humor, especially Jewish humor, and I love old people. I’m the bloke who wrote “Bubbie and Zadie Come To My House” in 1985 and I got some street cred, too. But when the website morphed into an off-Broadway play, and I read some of the reviews, I began to worry that maybe the play was going too far with old, out-dated Jewish jokes that are sexist, vile, tasteless and sometimes even defame Jews as a people. So why, I asked myself, are Jews still putting out this dreck, when there is another way that Jewish humor can go in the 21st Century and that is toward life-affirming, positive, constructive, empathetic, loving humor that is at the same time “all in the family” and fun?Posted on May 25, 2012 at 8:51 amReply » 0
Danny Bloom (#5,490) Okay, maybe I repeated myself a few times here and there, and I was writing fast and can correct the repetition later on. For now, I just want to issue this wake up call and get feedback, pro and con. I have no agenda and I have no dog in this fight. I just feel, I just feel, it’s time to move on. We are no longer living in the ghettoes and we are already third and fourth generation American Jews. Do we still have to wallow in old, stereotyped jokes that were written by comedians of the past?I asked around, as my wise editor asked me to, and here are some of the comments I got back so far. More to come in the future, as this manifesto finds its footing.“The jokes, like many of the comedians, might be aging, but a lot of their point is anachronism, and a lot of that humor originated when the movement out of the ghetto neighborhoods began,” a Princeton scholar in his 60s told me. “Read Arthur Miller’s autobiography, ‘Timebends’, about growing up on the Upper West Side and seeing the chauffeur-driven limousines of his father and other factory owners waiting to take them to the garment district, for example.”“A lot of older Jewish humor from the past is also positive and refers to aspirations for children to be (or to marry) professionals with a good income — in order to aspire get out of the Bronx or Brooklyn ghetto neighborhoods,” he continued. “What you’re referring to with your manifesto is really part of a broader nostalgia wave — itself old by now, and in part the work of Jewish entrepreneurs like Ralph Lauren. You might also compare Jewish humor to Larry the Cable Guy, who is actually from Nebraska and a college graduate but who created a redneck character. You could say that redneck humor came into its own only with the rise of the Sunbelt. It’s certainly okay to attack the trend of negative Jewish humor, but to me the real objection is that this stuff is getting stale by now. Things are more complicated with black comedians, who took over edgier stuff from their Jewish colleagues.”And not being able to resist a good Jewish joke, and one I approve of, as this is the essence of life-affirming and positive American humor, my Princeton pal adds: “By the way, Danny, did you know what joke Rodney Dangerfield said always got the biggest laughs for him? Goes like this: ‘A new hire meets with boss, who tells him among other things to keep his salary strictly confidential, replies, “Don’t worry, I’m as ashamed of it as you are.”‘Peter Kubicek, a 80 year old Holocaust survivor from Czechoslovakia who spent time in six Nazi labor camp as a child and now lives in New York, and a mensch among mensches, agrees with me but also disagrees, saying: “This manifesto is fine, but I think you go too far. Some of the traditional Jewish jokes we here all the time are simply self-deprecating and indicate that we do not have to take ourselves so seriously all the time. Lighten up, Danny.”When I queried a respected Jewish professor at Michigan State University for her opinion on the sentiments contained in the manifesto, she wrote back to me in Internet time: “So sorry, Danny. My schedule now is crazy — I’m afraid I cannot read this and don’t have time to respond.”[I love busy professors who don't want to get involved in the very issues they profess to profess about. That's life in the manifesto lane!]Another friend of mine, who live on Long Island and is a longtime observer of Jewish culture from the perspective of the publishing field and is himself the son of Holocaust survivors, tells me: “Danny, you don’t know my relatives. Normal is not in their vocabulary. Here’s the thing, who’s normal? Jews are as normal or as abnormal as most other civilized ethnic groups. We tend to have a lot more inbreeding than other groups, but what the hell. I just don’t see having to tell anyone that we are now ‘normal’ in 2012 helps any argument. We all have our ways at looking at the same things and not necessarily seeing the same thing. That’s that makes us interesting. And by the way, Danny, just so you know, my opinion is my opinion, and I know I could always be wrong. It’s just that I know I’m right.”Wayne Hoffman, a drama critic, said this about the play, which he loved, by the way: ”All the usual topics are covered: Jewish mothers, impotence, digestive problems, death, doctors, assimilation, and, of course, oral sex.”A very good friend in the Berkshires, a novelist, who knows more about Jews than I will ever know, and has the books behind him to show it, tells me: To be honest, Danny, this manifesto is one of your crusades that simply does not grab me. Popular culture has so little lasting impact that it’s not worth your intelligence or energy to go down this path.”Says a 93 year old friend of mine in Australia, not Jewish but a longtime newspaperman: ”I support your viewpoint, Danny, but I fear you will have an uphill battle with this manifesto!”Jewish Princess jokes? Are they still around or did they get the axe? Says a Jewish newspaper editor from Manhattan: “Danny, I don’t see what your manifesto is driving at. I myself haven’t heard a JAP joke in 20 years. I suggest you look for a topic that is more current and relevant to these times.”So maybe those old stale and often tasteless and sexist JAP jokes have been jettisoned. Good! I always hated those JAP jokes and I am glad to hear they have been retired. Still, Marilyn Stasio, reviewing the play for variety, wrote: “By the time the show moves from Birth and Childhood, through Dating and Marriage and Business and Money and lands between Doctors and Death, Weston has tried on more accents than Jewish American Princesses do shoes.”So the stale and sexist JAP joke is not dead, it seems, thanks to Ms Stasio, who may or may not be Jewish herself (not that it matters, or does it?)But what about those stale and anti-female Jewish Mother jokes that are still around and even make their way into the Peter Gethers and Daniel Okrent co-production of “Old Jews Telling Jokes”?Ms. Stasio, again for Variety, writes: “Marilyn Sokol …applies her genius for physical comedy to the adorably named Bunny. Her verbal forte is Jewish mother jokes (Question: “Why don’t Jewish mothers drink?” Answer: “They don’t want to dull the pain”).”Stasio lands one more Jewish Mother punch: “Lenny Wolpe … is the genial guy, the funny uncle who can make even a Jewish mother laugh.”[Ms Stasio, please! It's 2012, not 1912? Jewish mothers are doing fine, now. Stop the stereotypes!]Says one critic of the play, Elisabeth Vincentelli, a native of France who has been living in the USA for the past 20 years, and who liked most of the jokes but had some reservations about some of the material: “Unlike the Old Jews Telling Jokes Website, which you can leave after a ba-dum-bump or three, the off-Broadway show holds you hostage. And no matter how funny the material is here, 90 minutes worth of doctor visits and “oy, my wife!” is exhausting.”Another critic, also a woman, Jessica Shaw, was more critical: “This play, now playing at Off Broadway’s Westside Theatre, [is an add-on] to the simple website concept’s successful franchise and you’ve got a lot of jokes about overbearing wives who don’t want to have sex with their shlemiel husbands…In fact, the performance I attended left the mostly geriatric audience in stitches, often repeating punchlines for their hard-of-hearing seat-mates…Too often, ‘Old Jews Telling Jokes’ feels like a night of community theater put on for an Upper West Side nursing home.”And another critic, again a woman, Eleanor J. Bader, said she liked the show for “its funny — and yes, sometimes corny — stuff” but added a note of caution: “Occasionally, however, the sexism is glaring and the Jewish mamma stereotypes are more annoying than amusing.”Got that Gethers and Okrent? The sexism was glaring and the Jewish mother jokes were more annoying than amusing. Eleanor J. Bader, who liked the show as a whole, said that. It’s important to listen to her, too.Okay, my friendniks: time to close the curtain on this broadside. Here are four jokes from the play to end with, with my comments, and you, dear reader, please, tell me which ones you like or don’t like:* A Russian man, a French man and a Jewish man are lost in the desert. The Russian says, “Ach, I’m tired and thirsty — I must haf a wodka.” The Frenchman says, “Mon dieu, I am tired and zirsty, I must have some wine.” The Jew says, “Oy, I’m tired and thoisty — I must have diabetes.” [So Jews in 2012 are more likely to be hypochodriacs than other people?]* I told my mother I was finally getting married. She was thrilled! She wanted to meet my fiancée so I said, “Ma, I’m gonna play a little game with you. I’m gonna bring in three women and you have to guess which one’s gonna be my wife.” She said fine, so the next day I brought in three beautiful women. My mom talks to each of them for 15 seconds and then she turns to me and says, “The one in the middle.” I said, “Ma, that’s amazing! How’d you do that?” She said, “That’s the one I don’t like.” [So Jewish mothers still act like this in 2012?]* A man goes to see his rabbi. He says, “Rabbi, I think my wife is poisoning me. I don’t know what to do!” The rabbi says, “Give me a chance to talk to her and I’ll get back to you.” The next day, the rabbi calls the guy and says, “I had a long, long talk with your wife. Three hours at least.” The man says, “Yes, yes, so what’s your advice?” “Take the poison.” [This is funny? In 2012? In 1962, yes but now in 2012?]* Zipkin and Weinstein walk by a Catholic church. A big sign says, “Convert to Catholicism and Get $50.” Weinstein says, “I’m gonna do it.” He strides into the church and comes out 20 minutes later with his head bowed. Zipkin says, “So, did you get your $50?” Weinstein looks at him and says, “Is that all you people think about?” [So Jews, who contribute in major ways to philanthropic organizations that help all people, not just Jews, are still cast as cheap? In 2012?]Jason Zinoman of the New York Times puts it this way, in reviewing the play: “Of course, the world and its stereotypes have changed, making some wonder if assimilation threatens the future of Jewish humor,” adding: “This show is more interested in honoring the past than refreshing it.”Then again, Zinoman is the Times man who thinks tasteless and vile Anne Frank jokes are so funny and that Shalom Auslander is a great Jewish writer. He wrote in his review of “Old Jews Telling Jokes: “Exciting new spins on Jewish mother jokes do exist. Shalom Auslander’s inspired novel “Hope: A Tragedy” is a book-length version.” What? That book is sick! Jewish critics have dismissed it for what it is. Wake up, Jason Zinoman!I emailed the producer of “Old Jews Telling Jokes,” Daniel Okrent — a Daniel to Daniel email exchange (and we are the same age, 64, same generation, but I am third-generation American Jewish man, and he is apparently a second-generation American-Jewish man and that’s a big difference! — and Dan is a friendly and warm man, about my concerns, and he always answered my emails in a warm and pleasant way, and he said: “Danny, please – you and I are on different wavelengths. I’m not going to persuade you, and you’re not going to persuade me. We’re simply going to disagree.”And with that, let’s end this commentary, and let the comments begin!And I don’t expect everyone to agree with me here. In fact, I don’t expect anyone to agree with me. But a man’s gotta say what a man’s gotta say. There: I said it.As for that new off-Broadway play being talked about, “Young Jews Telling Jokes,” I wonder if it will be an improvement, or what? And will anyone in that new play take the advice of “The Silverman Manifesto”?*Bloom is a Jewish American freelance wrwiter now living. Later not living. Datestamped: 1949-2032

”danny eggman, Here’s my advice to you. Go see the show OLD JEWS TELLING JOKES (I’ve seen it.) I dare you not to laugh out loud. The show is not only hilarious but it has a sweetness to it in spite of plenty of vulgarity. There is something about it that takes us (and we’re the same age) back to something in our past, or unites younger generations with something that is in their DNA, because I’ve spoken to many 20-30 somethings that have seen this show and have loved it as well. A friend of mine called the humor “the anti Jackie Mason” style of Jewish humor, and one might also suggest that it’s also the anti Sarah Silverman style of Jewish humor also. ” — wrote Alan Medwin, Colgate alum

bettter headline migth be: ”CAN JEWS BE FUNNY WITHOUT NEUROSIS?” I’d say YES. [BECAUSE there are two kinds of humour:

one aims to please, the other aims to denigrate.

one aims
to lift the spirits with good humor; the other aims to castigate with purpose of being mean, snarky and cruel.

One shows empathy for the human condition and the Jewish condition; the other shows disdain for humans and disdain, in the end, for Jews.

One is
empathetic; the other is self-hating.]

You must admit, many of the Jewish comedias of the past and present are Jews who are not really comfortable being Jewish, were not really raised in comfortable Jewish homes and who do not live comfortable Jewish lives even now. Not that they are outsiders, being an outsider is fine, The problem is that they really don’t LIKE being Jewish and their comedy reflects that. That’s sad. So what to do? Try to raise a new generation of Jewish comedians who LIKE being Jewish, and whose comedy reflects that. Out with the old, in with the news. Who will step up to the plate? I am sure there are brillaint comedians male and female who can do this with panache and pizzaz, two of my favorite Yiiddish words.

Problem is the people who grow up to become comedians for the most part had unhappy childhoods, for reasons of their own. We cannot prevent that. Unhappy childhoods happen among all ethnic groups. But let’s welcome a new batch of comedians and writers who had happy childhoods and acutally LOVE being Jewish.

Like me! [smile]

btw, Shalom Life reviewers says: ”re JR’s new book..“I Hate Everyone… Starting With Me”, …Joan Rivers, the women with 700 plastic surgery operations and counting, has amassed quite a rabid fan base over the hundreds of years that she’s been in the public eye. As she gets older, more bitter, and less insecure… the darker and more offensive her humor has become. In Rivers’ latest book “I Hate Everyone… Starting With Me”, she rants about everything from the Holocaust and Anne Frank to Glee and Whitney Houston.

ANNE FRANK JOKES: Rivers jokes on stage that Anne Frank fantasized “about the handsome gold haired Nazi soldiers downstairs and havign wild sex with them,….” THAT”S FUNNY?……and ”AnNE FRANK in The attic waS UGLY AND HATED HER NOSE AND SHE WANTED A NOSE JOB…. PLEASE MOM CAN I GET A NOSE JOB?”
“I Hate Everyone… Starting With Me” has already created quite a stir.

Rivers has made a career outside of stand-up on insulting celebrities, their fashion choices, and current trends. She rejoices in calling public figures out on their lies and missteps. Is it possible for her to go too far? [****yes it is!!!!!]

Here are a few choice selections from the memoir. What do you think? Has she finally gone too far?

On Glee:
“The other thing that bothers me about ‘Glee’ is that everyone in that high school is happy, even the homos. On ‘Glee’ all the homo kids are smiling and giggly and they spend every day singing in the halls. When I went to high school the homos spent most of their days hiding in their lockers crying. If I came home from school and sang to my mother she would have slapped me in the face and said, ‘Stop singing! You’re Jewish! Everyone hates us.'”
On the SAG Awards:
“Calm the f**k down. You’re actors. You’re not curing cancer or solving the Middle East crisis or buying smiles for those one-toothed cleft palate kids on the back of the Enquirer. You pretend you’re Batman. You wear tight pants and a cape and you pretend you’re saving Gotham City from the Penguin. Get a grip.”
On Hitler:
“I hate people who say they’re ‘workaholics…There is no such thing. Hitler put in a lot of hours. Would you call him a workaholic? People who work 24/7 are not ‘addicted’ to work … they either hate their families or don’t have basic cable.”
On Senior Citizens and Early-Bird Specials:
“They only order half a chicken, take two bites, then put it in a doggie bag to take home, where it lasts them for six months. Anne Frank didn’t hoard food like this, and that bitch was hungry.”

i grew up an upper middle class catholic. 

i assumed jewish people were overwhelmingly represented in my social class.

i assumed growing up that jewish people were the model of upper middle class families. and i was born in 1988.

    David, thanks for chiming in here. Very interesting what you say. So at age 24, let me ask you, since I love to ask questions too: what is YOUR view of Jewish humor on TV, in books, in comedy clubs and in plays and revues? And how do you feel about Jews or non-Jews like Ricky Gervais telling tasteless ANNE FRANK jokes on
    national TV or in stage acts? DISH! I am all ears. And do you feel Catholic humor is akin to Jewish humor and this both kinds of humor resonate with you? Curious.

Dear Scroll, The book arrived in the mail today, all the way to Taiwan, from NYC, thanks so much. And what a book! David Mamet’s THE WICKED SON: Antisemitism, self-hatred and the Jews, 2006 paperback. FANTASTIC and IMPORTANT reading, thanks for sending it. I hope Josh Lambert will do a piece one day soon about the Silverman Manifesto’s themes, pro and con. GO GO GO

In connection with my ”THE SILVERMAN MANIFESTO (2012)”, google for text, Ted Merwin for JEWISH WEEK follows
my line of thinking in his very good review of the off Broadway play titled ”OLD JEWS TELLING JOKES.” Ted take: he says it even better than me:
Headline ”’When Humor Stays Below The Belt”, …Dr Merwin writes, in excerpts here exerpted by me to supportt what I wrote in the still–overlooked ”SILVERMAN MANIFESTO”
points i made two months ago:

1. ”” ”Old Jews” essentially transports its audience “up the mountains” (as my grandmother would say) to the Catskills. In Borscht Belt jokes, Jewish men always felt murderous toward their wives, non-Jewish women were secretly more attractive to Jewish men than Jewish women were, rabbis always offered ridiculous advice, and gentiles occupied a rarefied realm that Jews could never hope to enter. The dated quality of the show is summed up in two of its most inspired routines, which are Susman’s heavily Yiddish-accented, solemn rendering of “Ol’ Man River” and a sing-along with the audience of Tom Lehrer’s “Hanukkah in Santa Monica,” a song about Jews discovering that Jewish life can (big surprise!) actually take root outside of New York.”

2. To compensate for their nagging sense of outsiderness, the show implicitly suggests, Jews turned to humor — in particular, dirty jokes. Either sex or scatology is thus the underlying theme of almost every gag. Jests about masturbating teenagers, blushing brides, under-endowed grooms, priapic desert-island castaways, lascivious old ladies, flaccid old men, aphrodisiac Jewish foods — the sex jokes go on and on. Same with the jokes about bodily functions, which embrace everything from women stuck on toilets to men with prostate and bowel complaints.

3. ”This is where one needs to wonder if the show, despite having plenty of heart, has a soul. A non-Jew who wandered into the theater could be forgiven for thinking that Jews, despite being renowned for their intellectual attainments, are in reality obsessed with their lower bodies. Or that upwardly mobile Jews remain stuck in a low-class or unassimilated Jewish past that they have only transcended on the outside, but still inhabit in some nether region of their deepest selves.”

4. ”I wish that “Old Jews Telling Jokes” ….. didn’t insult its audience’s intelligence quite so much. I’m reminded of Bryan Fogel’s and Sam Wolfson’s phenomenally successful “Jewtopia” (which played at the Westside in 2006), which trotted out every Jewish stereotype and excretory joke in the book, as if paradise for Jews is an eternity on the toilet.

5. ….”. I can’t help comparing “Old Jews” to the second act of Bruce Norris’ “Clybourne Park,” the searing play about race relations that is currently running on Broadway. The characters in that play trade the most sexually explicit and utterly offensive jokes that they can muster, leaving the speechless audience to ponder the profound power of jokes to unsettle and provoke. Perhaps I’m asking too much, but I wish that “Old Jews” afforded some kind of new perspective on the place of humor in Jewish life, rather than yet another guilty peep into the bedroom or bathroom window.”

So much for apologizing for the Jon Stewart show fiasco. Now in the
middle of the summer, Mr Gervais lets loose again in a recent Twitter
message to his many “fans,” whoever
they might be, tweeting: “If I had a time machine, I’d go back and
sneak Anne Frank a DVD of ‘Home Alone’. It could give her the edge.”
The 51-year-old British comic tweeted that to over 2.5 million
”followers,” and of course he landed in hot water again with Jewish
readers in Europe and North America.
He quickly deleted the offensive tweet after being slammed by fans,
according to London press reports, but in response the outspoken
comedian and star of “The Office” tweeted this: “We have to stop this
recent culture of people telling us they’re offended and expecting us
to give a [damn].”

Ricky Gervais is a terribly tasteless, serial offender of the memory
of Anne Frank and her family and he just won’t stop. What makes this
man tick? Do Britons really lap this stuff up?

First Ricky Gervais’ Anne Frank Jokes, Now a ‘Hymie’ Joke Book … http://www.thewrap.comBy Dan Bloom. I’ve already complained about Ricky Gervais using Anne Frank jokes in his stand-up routine. Now comes this… Michael Winner, in his 70s, is a well-known British Jeiwsh film director and producer, and his first …

2000

Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Be a Mensch. Support Tablet.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Are Jews Funny Without The Neurosis?

A new Jewish comedy manifesto.

More on Tablet:

A Tale of Three Twitter Feeds: Hamas Tweets in Arabic, English, and Hebrew

By Aaron Magid — Analysis of the social-media messaging of Hamas’ military wing reveals distinct voices for the West, the Arab Middle East, and Israel