Friday, October 14th, 6:30pm
Award-winning talk show host Michael Krasny, an author and scholar, makes us laugh while explaining the cultural currents that inform the Jewish humor tradition, following the generational through-line from Jackie Mason to Jon Stewart in his new book Let There Be Laughter. Find out why only a schlemiel or a schmuck would pass up a chance to partake of a book given the thumbs up by the likes of Ken Burns and P.J. O’ Rourke! Talk with signing to follow.
Beloved radio personality Michael Krasny has been telling Jewish jokes since he could say “oy vey!” It’s even been said that he knows more of them than anyone on the planet, and that’s saying a lot! In his new book Let There Be Laughter Michael pairs the most iconic Jewish jokes with wise and entertaining explanations, illuminating 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 forms 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. From the old Jewish greats like Mel Brooks, Jackie Mason, and Joan Rivers to the Sarah Silvermans, Amy Schumers, and Jon Stewarts of today, Let There Be Laughter is an absolute pleasure — for the chosen and goyim alike.
“A book about Jewish jokes that’s as funny as the jokes – what’s not to love?”—Andy Borowitz
“Why is ‘Jewish’ the only religion with a type of humor named after it? Because the Jews are God’s chosen people. And God has a sense of humor. Check Genesis 1:27, ‘So God created man in his own image.’ Now look in the mirror. God is kidding. Michael Krasny explains it all…” —P.J.O’Rourke
“I loved it.”—Ken Burns
MICHAEL KRASNY, Ph.D., is a scholar and Professor of English and American Literature at San Francisco State University, an award winning broadcast journalist, and author of two acclaimed books, Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life and Spiritual Envy: An Agnostic’s Search. Since 1993 he has been the host of “Forum with Michael Krasny,” a news and public affairs interview program produced at KQED Radio, the NPR affiliate in San Francisco.