Episode generally avoids Israeli-Palestinian conflict
First, Krusty the Clown intermarried. Now, Homer Simpson, in Jerusalem on the animated family’s first trip to Israel, thinks he’s the Messiah.
In its more than 20 years on the air, “The Simpsons” has had countless Jewish moments and references, such as when Homer expresses shock that Mel Brooks is Jewish, a Springfield department store advertises “Christmas gifts at Hannukah prices” and the numerous adventures of Krusty, whose father Hyman is an Orthodox rabbi.
Thirty years ago, when we were finishing up “The Big Book of Jewish Humor,” a few older comedians were still doing what comedians had always done. They told jokes — by which we mean funny little stories of indeterminate authorship — about a man and an elephant walking into a bar, for example, or a rabbi, a priest and a minister on a train.
It’s common wisdom that the best comedy is essentially serious. Of course, clichés often have an underlying truth, so maybe that explains why Rob Tannenbaum, one half of the comedy-music duo Good for the Jews playing at the Highline Ball Room on Dec. 23, is both a very funny guy and yet someone who discusses his work in surprisingly sober terms.
Jack Polak states the situation quite succinctly at the outset of Michele Ohayon’s new documentary, “Steal a Pencil for Me.” The engaging nonagenarian, who is one of the film’s central figures, smiles slyly at the camera and says, “I’m a very special Holocaust survivor. I was in the camps with my wife and my girlfriend and, believe me, it wasn’t easy.”
The 2000-Year-Old Man tells a 350-year-old story — about Jews in the United States.
The now-classic comedy routine of Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner, a new PBS documentary suggests, delivers a serious moral message about Jewish identity, about Jewish self-confidence, and about how the act itself became a part of popular American culture.
For Jewish comics, Dom Imus is no joke.
In the wake of the shock jock’s unflattering comments about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team and his shockingly swift departure from the national airwaves has come a national discussion about the propriety of character defamation in the guise of humor, and predictions that an era of increased civility will ensue.