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The Big Book of Jewish Humor Paperback – December 4, 1981


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks (December 4, 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006090917X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060909178
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,290,533 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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In fact, I have a very dog-eared copy sitting on my desk right now.
Thea Bee
It's brilliant and has humor in it for every one, from the dry to the witty, from the political to the familial.
E. Arriola
Whether goyish or Jewish, this book is guaranteed to provide a few good laughs!
FYI

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 20, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book came out a while ago yet it remains the best collection available. The various Jewish joke and humor anthologies published recently don't even come close and some are quite shoddy. This definitive, well-illustrated and definitely very "big" volume covers all types of humor from literary to stand-up to historical and more, with jokes, literary excerpts, yiddish curses, and representative selections from famous humorists and comedians as well as from obscure ones. You will find all your favorites here and you will discover some new favorites too. Perhaps the time has come for these authors to do a sequel? No one since them seems to be up to the task.

Addendum: I posted the paragraph above a decade ago for the original edition of this book. There's a new 25th Anniversary edition now. While the humor is just as good as before, I must say that this new edition is possibly a missed opportunity. There has been quite a lot of excellent new Jewish humor in the past 25 years, some of it worthy of inclusion here, but the editors have chosen just to reprint the old edition with a different colored cover and an updated preface. Maybe they didn't want to tinker with a classic, but it may be time for a "New" Big Book of Jewish humor that acknowledges new humorists and new targets for satire.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
The Big Book of Jewish Humor is a great collection of articles, one-liners, and cartoons. It's the kind of book you can pick up anywhere and start reading, the perfect book to leaf through when you've only got a few minutes and need a quick laugh. The book contains selections from authors you'd expect, such as Woody Allen and Sholom Aleichem, as well as contributions from Saul Bellow and Bernard Malamud. Many of the classics are here, such as Lenny Bruce's comparison of Jews and non-Jews and the Sanity Clause routine between Groucho and Chico written by Kaufman and Ryskind, but there also are many gems you may never have read before.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
The Big Book of Jewish Humor is a must-own for Jews of all races, creeds and... well, OK, just for Jews. Anyway, it's loaded with so many brilliant pieces -- from one-liners to standard jokes to essays -- and covers such a wide body of work and of historical subjects, that finding a flaw ain't easy. If I have any complaint (and who among us doesn't?), it's that this book is so thick with outstanding humor, I don't think I've ever read half of its works.
By the way, it's a good gift for goyim, as well. If you don't have it yet, get it soon!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
And that's what this book is! A definitive sampler of among the best of Jewish humor in all styles and eras. Loved it. Also a great reference work. I also recommend strongly A Little Joy, A Little Oy, as this small but mighty paperback, deals with humor plus, also in a sampler format, but goes further into literature, anecdotes, trivia etc. Loved both of these!!!!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By FYI TOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 21, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Extracted from "Jewish and Goyish" by Lenny Bruce, in the 25th Anniversary Edition of The Big Book of Jewish Humor:

"Dig: I'm Jewish. Count Basie's Jewish. Ray Charles is Jewish... If you live in New York or any other big city, you are Jewish. It doesn't matter even if you're Catholic; if you live in New York, you're Jewish. If you live in Butte, Montana, you're going to be goyish even if you're Jewish."

"Kool-Aid is goyish. Evaporated milk is goyish even if the Jews invented it. Chocolate is Jewish and fudge is goyish. Fruit salad is Jewish. Lime Jello is goyish. Lime soda is very goyish. All Drake's Cakes are goyish. Pumpernickel is Jewish and, as you know, white bread is very goyish. Instant potatoes, goyish... Celebrate is a goyish word. Observe is a Jewish word."

Butte, MT, happens to boast a beautiful onion-domed, historic synagogue, perched on a hillside near the Continental Divide, under Our Lady of the Rockies. Whether goyish or Jewish, this book is guaranteed to provide a few good laughs!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Lucky13 on July 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
Boy, if you like to read a book that has everything a Jew could laugh about, this book is it! I couldn't be without a book like this, so get yourself a copy! You won't be ashamed you did.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Steven Rothstein on March 25, 2008
Format: Paperback
I purchased this book as a gift for my brother. Before I repackaged it to send, I scanned several pages and found the stories, jokes and side bars very funny so, I ordered a second copy for myself.

If you're looking for a place to discover the history of Jewish humor, the very early comedians who developed this medium, quotes to use in any speach you may make or are just looking for good laughs, this is the book for you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By kametamorphic on January 10, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a very interesting and humorous book. Most of the greats that I am familiar with are represented here so you get a truly all encompassing across the board variety of wit. It takes sources of from the written word, plays, film, stand up comics, word of mouth jokes through various periods of history. It's all here or at least what can be held in one gigantic volume. A must have.
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