Let There Be Laughter
A Treasury of Great Jewish Humor and What It All Means
by Michael Krasny
“Yes this is a joke book. It has in it some of the greatest Jewish jokes of all time. But it is much more. Embedded in the jokes and folklore and tales and anecdotes is the history of a people, a tribe, their value system and their rich ongoing heritage. It is a work of cultural anthropology, a wide portal to understanding Jewish identity and an immersion into the hilarity, joy and power of laughter. So enjoy, learn and, above all, laugh!”
– Michael Krasny, San Francisco, California, October 2016
About the Book:
From the host of NPR affiliate’s Forum with Michael Krasny, a compendium of Jewish jokes that packs the punches with hilarious riff after riff and also offers a window into Jewish culture.
Michael Krasny has been telling Jewish jokes since his bar mitzvah, and it’s been said that he knows more of them than anyone on the planet. He certainly states his case in this wise, enlightening, and hilarious book that not only collects the best of Jewish humor passed down from generation to generation, but explains the cultural expressions and anxieties behind the laughs.
With his background as a scholar and public-radio host, Krasny delves deeply into the themes, topics, and form of Jewish humor: chauvinism undercut by irony and self-mockery, the fear of losing cultural identity through assimilation, the importance of vocal inflection in joke-telling, and calls to communal memory, including the use of Yiddish.
Borrowing from traditional humor and such Jewish comedy legends as Jackie Mason, Mel Brooks, and Joan Rivers, Larry David, Sarah Silverman, Jerry Seinfeld and Amy Schumer, Let There Be Laughter is an absolute pleasure for the chosen and goyim alike.
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• Michael's current book is published by Harper Collins.
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• A list of interviews.
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Interviews and Articles:
• What Does Jewish Humor Mean Today?, An Interview with Michael Krasny, by Ellen Wexler, Moment Magazine, 6.7.17 article ink
• Edgy humor is a mitzvah in the age of Trump by David Talbot, San Francisco Chronicle, 1.24.17 article ink
• For Sad Democrats, Jewish Humor Helps Make America Bearable Again by Michael Krasny, The Forward, 2.10.17 article ink
• Let There Be Laughter: Modern Jewish Jokes Poke At Assimilation, Weekend Edition with Scot Simon, NPR, 9.25.16 audio link
• Too Jewish Radio Show with Rabbi Sam Cohon & Friends, 9.24.16 audio link
• Michael Krasny Examines the Wisdom of Jewish Humor in Let There Be Laughter, Forum with Mina Kim, KQED, San Francisco, 9.30.16 audio link
• KQED’s Michael Krasny on Jewish Humor, AirTalk with Larry Mantle, KPCC Los Angeles, 10.20.16 audio link
• New Book by Michael Krasny Celebrates Jewish Humor, KPIX-TV (CBS), San Francisco, 9.21.16 video link
• Michael Krasny’s New Book of Jewish Humor by Paul Liberatore, Marin Independent Journal, 9.14.16 article ink
• Will this be on the test? Professor Krasny goes highbrow on Jewish jokes by Dan Pine, Jewish News Weekly of Northern California, 9.22.16 article link
• Michael Krasny invites you to yuk it up with him by Lou Fancher, The Mercury News, San Jose, 9.19.16 article link
• Let There Be Laughter, Interview with Ronn Owens, KGO-810, San Francisco, 10.17.16 audio link
• Let There Be Laughter, Interview with Brian Copeland, KGO-810, San Francisco, 10.24.16 audio link
• Interview with Jim Bohannon, Westwood One, 40:27-1:18:50 10.26.16 audio link
• It’s funny what you can learn from Jewish humor by Jonathan Kirsch, Jewish Journal, Los Angeles, 10.26.16 article link
Michael on NPR:
Michael Krasny with Scott Simon on Weekend Edition, NPR 9.24.16
• What’s So Funny About Jewish Humor? by Peter Keenews, New York Times Book Review, 12.1.16