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Let There Be Laughter

Let There Be Laughter Cover

Let There Be Laughter

A Treasury of Great Jewish Humor and What It All Means

By Michael Krasny

William Morrow & Company, Hardcover, 9780062422040, 304pp.

Publication Date: September 27, 2016


From the host of NPR affiliate's Forum with Michael Krasny, a compendium of Jewish jokes that packs the punches with hilarious riff after riff and also offers a window into Jewish culture.

Michael Krasny has been telling Jewish jokes since his bar mitzvah, and it's been said that he knows more of them than anyone on the planet. He certainly states his case in this wise, enlightening, and hilarious book that not only collects the best of Jewish humor passed down from generation to generation, but explains the cultural expressions and anxieties behind the laughs.

-What's Jewish Alzheimer's?-
-You forget everything but the grudges.-

-You must be so proud. Your daughter is the President of the United States -
-Yes. But her brother is a doctor -

-Isn't Jewish humor masochistic?-
-No. And if I hear that one more time I am going to kill myself.-

With his background as a scholar and public-radio host, Krasny delves deeply into the themes, topics, and form of Jewish humor: chauvinism undercut by irony and self-mockery, the fear of losing cultural identity through assimilation, the importance of vocal inflection in joke-telling, and calls to communal memory, including the use of Yiddish.

Borrowing from traditional humor and such Jewish comedy legends as Jackie Mason, Mel Brooks, and Joan Rivers, Larry David, Sarah Silverman, Jerry Seinfeld and Amy Schumer, Let There Be Laughter is an absolute pleasure for the chosen and goyim alike.

Saturday, Sep 24, 2016

Michael Krasny's new book is called Let There Be Laughter. He tells NPR's Scott Simon about this treasury of great Jewish jokes, and why they matter. More at

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