When Ronna Glickman and Beverly Ginsburg, two 50-something lifelong friends from Boston who between them have seven marriages, three children and several stepchildren they don’t talk about, come to Los Angeles to promote their book, “You’ll Do a Little Better Next Time: A Guide to Marriage and Remarriage for Jewish Singles,” they announce that they love the used bookstore they find themselves in because “everything is half-off” – and then berate the hapless Jewish clerk they meet because his wife isn’t Jewish.
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.
The day after Richard Pryor died, longing to be transported comedically, I went to see Sarah Silverman's concert film "Jesus is Magic." I expected to be entertained, nothing more. Instead I was overwhelmed, not just by the sharpness of Silverman's delivery but by the surprise of her material. And like Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show" (who uses a Jewish sensibility to expose the emptiness of much of our social discourse) Silverman puts her Jewishness front and center as she analyzes American life today.
Even books with footnotes can make for great summer reading.
For those who prefer their late summer fare more substantial than breezy novels and suspense fiction, many new works of nonfiction offer compelling reading. Some are inspirational, looking toward the month of Elul with its contemplative mood beginning the process of teshuvah; some break down stereotypes and perhaps prompt readers to rethink long-held assumptions.
While millions of Americans spent their Columbus Day weekend home from work or scoping out one-day sales, more than 100 young Jews trekked down to South Florida, where they scouted out not only their own grandparents, but also hordes of Bubbe and Zeyde’s closest friends.
Lenny Bruce cursed a blue streak. Don Rickles insulted anyone within hearing distance. Sacha Baron Cohen has raised embarrassment of the unsuspected — Jews and non-Jews alike — into an art form. And for Sarah Silverman, not even the memory of the Holocaust is sacred.
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.
Sunday, October 26th, 2008
James Besser in Washington
Why have Sen. Barack Obama’s Jewish numbers surged, at least according to two polls released last week? The pollsters don’t answer that question in detail, but several likely explanations jump out from the numbers.
* The economy.