La Cosa Nostra Meets Kosher Nostra

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The key ingredient to comedy? Jews in mountains

"While assimilation is a big concern in the Jewish community, Arthur Asa Berger contends that, conversely, Jewish culture has 'Yiddishized' American humor.

'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

"America has provided a multitude of new conduits for traditional Jewish humor transmission: public meetings and lectures, vaudeville, the Borscht Belt, Broadway, nightclubs, radio, record albums, movies, and most especially television, as well as widely circulating books, newspapers, and magazines.

America 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 Europe.

There has been, of course, a price to pay for accepting this invitation, which has resulted in the parevezation, or 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 poor, the obese, the aged and infirm are pariahs to be ridiculed." - Australian Jewish News, February 24, 2003

It is impossible to imagine what humor would be like in America today without the contribution of Eastern European Jews.

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.

Beginning in vaudeville crude Yiddish humor took over Talmudwood in the early days.

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


The 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 1965

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 cleverness.

Parents and 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.

1921 Inkwell Studios, founded by the Fleischer brothers, Max and Dave, is incorporated as an animation studio located at 1600 Broadway, New York City, New York.

Max and Dave animate Betty Boop.

The 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.

Mayer, Laemmle, 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 Comics.

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 Bunny.

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. Wright

1954 The Yiddishization of comedy left behind a social culture that laughs at the plight of others.

"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 victim.

Little was left to the imagination.

Another issue 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 United States.

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, 1997

1956 The concept of a Superman, Übermensch, is expropriated by two young Jews, Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster, from the Father of Nazism and Zionism Benjamin Disraeli.

US Senate investigates the matter, releasing a report labeled "Comic Books and Juvenile Delinquency."

Senate document notes that "on first impression, the present comic book industry would seem to comprise many different publishing firms with no apparent relationship to one another.

676 comic book titles examined are published by 111 companies owned by only 121 persons or families in addition to 1 corporation.

The majority of the publishers maintain editorial offices in New York City."

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 'Justice.'"

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 material."

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 Mad Magazine.

William Gaines publishes only Mad Magazine; editors Al Feldstein, Harvey Kurtzman; writers Frank Jacobs, Barry Leibmann, Andrew J. Schwartzberg, Larry Siegel, Lou Silverstone.

William Gaines 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 incorporation profitable.

"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, 2001

Israeli-born Haim Saban creates 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles'.

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, Rich Vos, Rodney Dangerfield, Buddy Hackett, Alan King (Irwin Alan Kniberg), Tony Randall (Arthur Leonard Rosenberg), ad infinitum.

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