Jewish Humor43:33

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Twenty-five years ago, super ghost-writer William Novak and his pal Moshe Waldoks banged out the first edition of their Big Book of Jewish Humor. Three hundred wide pages of wit and comedy stretching from the Borscht Belt to Philip Roth, Woody Allen, Lenny Bruce and Neil Simon.

Now they're back, with a 25th anniversary edition, and the laughter and wincing has spread — to Seinfeld, South Park, Borat, The Simpsons — deeper and deeper into the American mainstream.

This hour On Point: American culture and The Big Book of Jewish Humor, at 25.

Quotes from the Show:

"One thing that's changed [since 1981] is that Moshe and I seem to find it [Jewish humor] in the most unexpected places.." Bill Novak

"An essential form of Jewish humor is parody." Bill Novak

"Jewish humor was more ghettoized in 1981 and now it's mainstream." Bill Novak

"After 1972, Jewish humor was no longer a male-dominated endeavor." Moshe Waldoks

"To be Jewish is to not accept things as they are." Moshe Waldoks

"Only a fraction of Jewish humor is about suffering." Moshe Waldoks


William Novak and Moshe Waldoks, editors of "The Big Book of Jewish Humor."

This program aired on April 26, 2007.