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Jokes about aging and retirement take center stage (illustration) Photo: CD Bank
Jokes about aging and retirement take center stage (illustration) Photo: CD Bank

NY hosts celebration of Jewish humor

In 'Old Jews Telling Jokes,' performed at Manhattan’s Westside Theater, five actors run through some of best jokes in Jewish canon

Published: 01.24.13, 13:08 / Israel Culture

VIDEO - From Joan Rivers to Gilda Radner, Woody Allen and the Marx Brothers, Jewish comedy is part of American comedy.


But if your Bubie and Zadie didn’t share some of those rich Jewish wisecracks with you, you can now come to Manhattan’s Westside Theater to see the off-Broadway, aptly-named show, "Old Jews Telling Jokes."


Video courtesy of jn1.tv


For 90 minutes, five actors on this New York City stage run through some of the best jokes in the Jewish canon – some self-deprecating, many downright bawdy.


Co-creators Daniel Okrent and Peter Gethers set out to make a show that includes Jewish humor about life from the cradle to the grave.


Jokes about aging and retirement take center stage, but two of the play’s five actors are definitely not anywhere close to retirement.

The sketches and monologues bring a clear narrative arc to the show, but the script is mostly comprised of zingers many audience members know by heart.


Okrent and Gethers say contemporary sitcoms and stand-up comedians have drawn from what they identify as the basic elements of Jewish humor.


The show has played now for six months, 250-plus performances. And for those who say it could only play in New York, the show’s producers are planning to take it on the road next year.



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