The Jewish Joke (Hardback)

An essay with examples (less essay, more examples)

Devorah Baum

Heard the one about the Rabbi and the cow from Minsk? Look no further than this witty compendium, a fascinating and revealing celebration of the great Jewish Joke

The Jewish joke is as old as Abraham, and like the Jews themselves it has wandered over the world, learned countless new languages, worked with a range of different materials, been performed in front of some pretty hostile crowds, but still retained its own distinctive identity. So what is it that animates the Jewish joke? Why are Jews so often thought of as 'funny'? And how old can a joke get?

The Jewish Joke is a brilliant - and very funny - riff on Jewish jokes, about what marks them apart from other jokes, why they are important to Jewish identity and how they work. Ranging from self-deprecation to anti-Semitism, politics to sex, it looks at the past of Jewish joking and asks whether the Jewish joke has a future. With jokes from Woody Allen, Lena Dunham and Jerry Seinfeld, as well as Freud and Marx (Groucho mostly), this is both a compendium and a commentary, light-hearted and deeply insightful.

Publication date: 26/10/2017

£9.99

ISBN: 9781781255230

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: Humour & Gift, Reference

The Jewish Joke (Ebook)

An essay with examples (less essay, more examples)

Devorah Baum

Heard the one about the Rabbi and the cow from Minsk? Look no further than this witty compendium, a fascinating and revealing celebration of the great Jewish Joke

The Jewish joke is as old as Abraham, and like the Jews themselves it has wandered over the world, learned countless new languages, worked with a range of different materials, been performed in front of some pretty hostile crowds, but still retained its own distinctive identity. So what is it that animates the Jewish joke? Why are Jews so often thought of as 'funny'? And how old can a joke get?

The Jewish Joke is a brilliant - and very funny - riff on Jewish jokes, about what marks them apart from other jokes, why they are important to Jewish identity and how they work. Ranging from self-deprecation to anti-Semitism, politics to sex, it looks at the past of Jewish joking and asks whether the Jewish joke has a future. With jokes from Woody Allen, Lena Dunham and Jerry Seinfeld, as well as Freud and Marx (Groucho mostly), this is both a compendium and a commentary, light-hearted and deeply insightful.

Publication date: 26/10/2017

£6.99

ISBN: 9781782831938

ISBN 10 / ASIN: B01N4PIZT6

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: Humour & Gift, Reference

Reviews for The Jewish Joke

'This book is funny, clever and, at times, heartbreaking. In other words, Jewish.'

David Baddiel 

'A Jew and a non-Jew read Devorah Baum's The Jewish Joke. They both found it hilarious and thought-provoking. Because it is.'

David Schneider 

'Devorah Baum's breezy, accessible new meditation on how [Jewish] humour works, and why it is so integral to Jewish identity... There is much for the scholar to enjoy in Baum's erudite but lightly sketched analysis of how humour helps us to deal with ageing, dislocation, impossible families and sexual confusion. Alternatively, you could just read it for the gags.'

Matthew Reisz Times Higher

'Hers is the book to turn to if you're looking to amuse your friends and has something in common with the joke books we used to pass around as kids ... [it shows] the sorrow that is the dark underside of laughter - sorrow that belongs to everyone.'

Erica Wagner New Statesman

'Even the most avid collectors of Jewish jokes are likely to find fresh material in it'

 The Economist

'The dozens of examples [the book] contains are strung together by illuminating analysis ... Baum's books direct us towards laughter when the other option feels tempting, and for that we owe the author our thanks.'

Keiron Pim Spectator

Devorah Baum

Devorah Baum

Devorah Baum is the author of the forthcoming Feeling Jewish (a book for just about anyone) (Yale, 2017) and co-director of the documentary film The New Man. She is Lecturer in English Literature and Critical Theory at the University of Southampton and affiliate of the Parkes Institute for the Study of Jewish/non-Jewish Relations.