December 11, 2016. 2:00 pm.
From Jewish Mothers to Schlemiels and Schmucks: the Jewish Journal and Writers Bloc present an Afternoon on Jewish Humor with author Michael Krasny, (Let There Be Laughter: A Treasury of Great Jewish Humor and What It All Means) and comedian Bobby Slayton. Moderated by David Kipen (critic and owner of Libros Schmibros).
When all else fails, a book full of great Jewish jokes and stories beats just about anything. Michael Krasny‘s new book, Let There Be Laughter: A Treasury of Great Jewish Humor and What It All Means, is an antidote to the deepest blues. Michael Krasny is a scholar of English and American literature, whose primary interest is Jewish jokes. (Don’t you wish all of our professors shared that passion?) The book’s chapters are riddled with jokes, slotted into segments called Schlemiels &Schmucks; Suffering; Jewish Mothers & Jewish Bubbies; Sex & Marriage; and more. While you race to the jokes and stories, many with familiar punchlines (“He had a hat!” or our favorite, “Sheldon, come home.”), Krasny adds protein to the mix with psychological and cultural notes and analysis. Mothers, sons and their girlfriends, food and the notion of conventional success strike rich chords of resonance that we enjoy in Jewish humor, and Krasny’s explorations and explanations are often as funny as the jokes themselves.
Krasny has been the host of Forum on the Bay Area NPR flagship station KQED, and his show is the most-listened-to locally produced public radio show in the country. You can download the podcasts of Forum, or listen to it on Sirius XM radio.
Bobby Slayton adds a comedian’s interpretation to the party. He’s known as the “pitbull” of comedy, and is evocative of Don Rickles. He’s been in countless movies and television shows, and appears all over the country as a standup comedian.
David Kipen is a book critic, editor, and former literature director for the National Endowment for the Arts. He is the Executive Director of the Boyle Heights-based lending library, Libros Schmibros, and can be heard on NPR. Kipen is an expert in California literature, and has edited magnificent reissued WPA guides to cities in California.
Writers Bloc thanks the Jewish Journal for their gracious support of this culturally and fun program.