Let There Be Laughter: A Treasury of Great Jewish Humor and What It All Means
Whether they’re the writers, comedians, and performers bringing the jokes to life or they’re the butt of the joke, the Jewish people have a long and curious history with comedy. Let There Be Laughter breaks down more than a hundred jokes about Jews, providing cultural and historical insight into the mindsets and movements that inspired these jokes.
And what could have simply been another repository of jokes about thrifty men, shrewish women, and overbearing mothers instead becomes a cultural touchstone, a scholarly analysis of the roots of each joke, its stereotypes, its hidden truths and ugly dark sides, and why we tell them at all.
I was thoroughly impressed by Krasny’s ability to tie significant historical or social value to nearly any joke in his arsenal, covering everything from the rise of gallows humor during the Holocaust to jokes that cross unexpected cultural lines (like the one about the Jewish and Japanese samurai). Krasny not only makes you laugh, but he makes you pause and really think about where that laugh comes from. It’s great stuff.
Let There Be Laughter puts Jewish humor under the microscope, creating a deeper, more worthwhile read than you’ll expect.