"While assimilation is a big concern in the Jewish
community, Arthur Asa Berger contends that, conversely, Jewish culture has
'Yiddishized' American humor. "America has provided a
multitude of new conduits for traditional Jewish humor transmission: public
meetings and lectures, vaudeville, the Borscht Belt,
albums, movies, and most
especially television, as well as
books, newspapers, and
'When the Jews disappear,' he joked, 'the
Jewish humor will be written by non-Jews because they've been Yiddishized and
they'll be able to carry it on.'" - Jewish Bulletin of Northern
California, June 5, 1998
has made available a popular culture that has been not only open to Jews but
positively inviting to Jewish
performers and Jewish themes to a degree that was unimaginable in Eastern
There has been, of course, a price to pay for accepting
this invitation, which has resulted in the
neutering, of much of the
material." - William Novak and Moshe Waldoks
"Joan Rivers' (Joan
Alexandra Molinsky) comic universe is a parade of crude 1970s-era stereotypes.
It is a realm in which the world belongs to
the rich and thin and where
the obese, the aged and
infirm are pariahs to be ridiculed." - Australian Jewish News, February
It is impossible to imagine what
humor would be like in America today without the contribution of
Most of the
comedy in America is written, produced and performed by Jews and has been
for the last century.
Those that find
Yiddish humor low brow will
just have to leave America (love
it or leave it!) because Yiddish humor
has permeated American social culture.
crude Yiddish humor took
over Talmudwood in the
Yiddish humor developed slapstick with each performer
having his or her own shtick.
Think Harry Ritz, Jimmy Ritz, Al Ritz,
Leonard "Chico" Marx, Adolf "Harpo" Marx, Milton "Gummo" Marx, Herbert "Zeppo"
Marx, Julius Henry "Groucho"
Marx and Jerry Lewis (Joseph Levitch).
three stooges originally featured Moe Howard (Harry Moses Horwitz), brother
Shemp Howard (Samuel Horwitz), and longtime friend Larry Fine (Louis Feinberg).
"The Jewish style, with its heavy reliance upon Yiddish and
Yiddishisms, has emerged not only as a comic style, but as the comic style." -
Wallace Markfield, The Yiddishization of American Humor, Esquire
Yiddish 'humor' is marked with the belittling of individuals and
individual beliefs, stereotyping of
any type of behavior that the Yiddish find offensive or look down on and
the quick wit that proves that the
target is an idiot while elevating the witty one to new heights of superior
family structure is one of the favorite targets of Yiddish humor which
thumbs its nose at God,
respect for neighbors and
respect for any and all types
of thought that elevate humans above animals.
Inkwell Studios, founded by the Fleischer brothers, Max and Dave, is
incorporated as an animation studio located at 1600 Broadway, New York City,
Max and Dave animate Betty Boop.
grotesque overt sexuality of Betty Boopeven is provocative when viewed in
relation to the lives of
working class Eastern
European settler cousins.
Betty's initial disappearance can be
traced to the Hays Production Code Office.
Goldwyn grouped themselves into
the Motion Pictures Producers and Distributors of America Inc and
invited Will H. Hayes to preside over them.
They bought off criticism
by purchasing respectability.
1939 Martin Goodman founds Marvel
The "Golden Age" of comics begins.
Hordes of young
Jewish writers and artists, most of them struggling settlers' sons, forged
armies of imaginary superheroes like Superman and Captain America, whose
mission was to wage war against Nazis and their ilk.
No one is more Jewish than Bugs
1948 Catholic schools conduct bonfires
of comic books.
1950s Yiddish dominated comic
book industry raised familiar issues - public concern that they are influential
in the degradation of morals and values.
"Corpses in various states of decay and reanimation
regularly adorned the covers." - Bradford W. Wright1954 The Yiddishization of
comedy left behind a social culture that laughs at the plight of
"EC Comics offered something of a precursor to the upheaval of
the 1960s, questioning authority
before it became fashionable.
In perhaps the most notorious panel
printed by EC Comics, a murderous baseball
team plays a midnight game with
the limbs and entrails of a
Little was left to the imagination.
depicted a man holding a bloody ax in
one hand and a
woman's severed head in the other." - Jacob Heilbrunn
Comics Code Authority (CCA) forms Comics Magazine
Association of America as an alternative to government regulation, to allow
the comic publishers to 'self-regulate' the content of comic books in the
The real heroes of Marvel Comics are the two
Israeli's at the corporate helm, Isaac (Ike) Perlmutter and Avi Arad.
At Marvel the key players throughout the decades, including Jack Kirby
(Jacob Kurtzberg) and Stan Lee (Stanley Lieber) creators of the Fantastic Four
and Spider-Man, have been almost exclusively Jewish.
"'It was no
accident,' observes David Gilner, director of Libraries for Hebrew Union
College, 'that Bugs Bunny's animator was Fritz Freleng, and his voice supplied
by Mel Blanc - both of whom were Jewish.''' - Cincinnati Post, April 21,
The concept of a Superman,
expropriated by two young Jews, Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster, from
the Father of Nazism and Zionism
US Senate investigates the matter, releasing a
report labeled "Comic Books and Juvenile Delinquency."
notes that "on first impression, the present comic book industry would seem to
comprise many different publishing firms with no apparent relationship to one
676 comic book titles examined are published by 111 companies
owned by only 121 persons or families in addition to 1 corporation.
majority of the publishers maintain editorial offices in New York
Subsections of the report include "Techniques of Crime Taught
by Crime and Horror Comics," "Criminal Careers as Glamorous in Crime and
Horror Comic Books", and "Defenders of Law and Order Frequently
Represented as All Powerful Beings Who Kill and Commit Other Crimes to Defend
Yiddish comic book entrepreneurs singled out by the
report include direct-mail advertiser
Samuel Roth "who has for many
years been engaged in using the mail to advertise lewd and lascivious
Alex Segal, also modeled, "testifies that 'by mistake' one
of his trays of addressograph plates bearing the names of 400 children was
routed to the publisher of sex literature."
In the listings of owners
and distributors of comic book businesses, among the best known are Marvel
Comic group (owners: Martin and Jean Goodman) and Archie Comic group
(owners: Maurice Coyne, John Goldwater, and Lewis H. Silberkleit).
EC Comics stops publishing everything except for the satirical
William Gaines publishes only Mad Magazine;
editors Al Feldstein, Harvey Kurtzman; writers Frank Jacobs, Barry Leibmann,
Andrew J. Schwartzberg, Larry Siegel, Lou Silverstone.
produces "the greatest of the under-the-covers-with-a-flashlight genre."
These comics, featuring new explorations of gore, include Tales from
the Crypt, Weird Science, Shock Suspense stories,
Frontline Combat, "and a few other titles made the struggling
"From 'Seinfeld' to 'Mad About
You' to 'Dharma and Greg' to 'The Larry Sanders Show,' Jewish
humor has infiltrated popular culture.
On television, Jewish humor is
the Trojan horse sneaked
into the living rooms of non-Jewish America." - Jewsweek,
Israeli-born Haim Saban creates 'Teenage Mutant Ninja
A few of the Yiddish "comedic"
performers that have so successfully upset the moral fabric of America include:
Al Jolson, Jackie Mason (Yacov Moshe Maza), Ed Wynn (Isaiah Edwin
Leopold), Mae West (Mary Jane West), Zero Mostel (Samuel Joel Mostel), Jack
Benny (Benjamin Kubelsky), George Burns (Nathan Birnbaum), Milton Berle (Mendel
Berlinger), Eddie Cantor (Israel Iskowitz), Sid Caesar, Henny Youngman, Howard
Morris, Myron Cohen, Phil Silvers (Fischl Silver), Danny Kaye (David Kaminsky),
Red Buttons (Aaron Chwatt), Bud Abbott, Victor Borge (Børge Rosenbaum),
Oscar Levant, Mickey Katz, Mel Brooks (Melvin Kaminsky), Don Rickles, Leonard
Schneider (Lenny Bruce) , Marty Allen (Morton Alpern), Roseanne Barr (Barsky),
William Edward "Billy" Crystal, Jerry Seinfeld, Jason Alexander, Adam Sandler,
Charles Grodin, Harvey Korman, Marty Feldman, Gilbert Gottfried, Gilda Susan
Radner, Carl Reiner, Paul Reiser, Rita Rudner, Robert Schimmel, Pauly Shore,
Sarah Silverman, Rob Schneider, Ben Stiller, Sam Seder, Frederick Alan "Rick"
Moranis, Jon Stewart, Morey Amsterdam, Lewis Black, Albert Brooks, Andrew Dice
Clay (Andrew Dice Silverstein), Randy Sklar, Jason Sklar, Rhea Perlman, Chelsea
Handler, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jack Black, Mel Blanc (Melvin Jerome Blank),
"Professor" Irwin Corey, Tom Arnold (Cohen), Andy Kaufman, Richard Lewis, Larry
Miller, Paul Reubens (Rubenfeld), Garry Shandling, Gene Wilder (Jerome
Silberman), Shelley Berman, Dustin Diamond, Tiny Tim (Herbert Khaury), Dan
Ahdoot, Dave Attell, Jon Stewart (Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz), Sandra Bernhard,
Alex Borstein, David Brenner, Steve Bernard Cohen, David Cross, Larry David,
Wayne Federman, Jeff Garlin, Andrew Ginsburg, Elon Gold, Judy Gold, Shecky
Greene (Greenfield), Robert Klein, John Lehr, Jan Murray, Jeffrey Ross, Andy
Samberg, Al Shean, Jon Lovitz, Oscar Levant, "Reverend" Bob Levy,
Marc Maron, Lorne
Michaels (Lorne David Lipowitz), Larry Miller, Bobby Slayton, Jerry Stiller,
Buddy Hackett, Alan King
(Irwin Alan Kniberg), Tony Randall (Arthur Leonard Rosenberg), ad
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