Jewish comedy is serious business

Sometimes, a great joke can make us laugh until it hurts. But the opposite is also true.

By SHLOMO MAITAL
February 21, 2018 16:43
Comedy (Illustrative)

Comedy (Illustrative). (photo credit: INGIMAGE)

 
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DURING MY seven decades on this planet, one of the life lessons I acquired is this: People are often most serious when they are joking. There are things we all find very hard to say straight out. So we make a small joke about them and chuckle or laugh. Suppose someone you love is ignoring you. You can say, “Pay attention!” Or you can say, “Hey, what am I, chopped liver?”

If you listen carefully to what people joke about, you can get small windows into their souls about what troubles them, troubles that are otherwise opaque. A Yiddish saying goes, “m’lacht mit yash’akas” (you laugh, even when the worms are eating you).

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