Krasny, Michael. “Let There Be Laughter: A Treasury of Great Jewish Humor and What It All Means”, William Morrow, 2016.
The Best of Jewish Humor
Michael Krasny is the host of NPR affiliate’s “Forum with Michael Krasny”. Now he has brought us a compendium of Jewish jokes that not only make us laugh but that also give us a look at Jewish culture. It is more than just a bunch of jokes here as we see how these jokes explain the cultural expressions and anxieties behind our laughs. It has been said that Krasny knows more Jewish jokes than “anyone on the planet.”
Most of us understand that it is not just the joke that is funny. We must also consider how it is told and its relevance. Even without the vocal inflection of the teller, I laughed all the way through this book. Krasny takes us deeply into the themes, topics, and form of Jewish humor and we see irony, chauvinism and self-mockery as well as the fear of losing cultural identity through assimilation. Many of our jokes look back at the Jewish communal memory and the Yiddish language. Krasny writes about our comedy heroes— Jackie Mason, Mel Brooks, and Joan Rivers, Larry David, Sarah Silverman, Jerry Seinfeld and Amy Schumer. We also see that God evidently has a
sense of humor. Michael Krasny explains this and so much more about Jewish humor in this book.
Krasny brings together the most iconic Jewish jokes with wise and entertaining explanations. He illuminates the cultural expressions and anxieties that are behind the laughs.