CATSKILL COMEDIANS IN THOSE GOOD OLD DAYS – Marilyn Armstrong

Maybe you remember the old Jewish Catskill comics. Some of them went back to the old days of Vaudeville. Others are more recent. A fair number are alive and well, and a surprisingly large number are still working. Except, the center of the action today is Las Vegas.

Maybe the Catskills will rise again. Probably not. It has gotten too built up. Meanwhile, ghost hotels are still there. Empty, but packed with memories.

Red Buttons, Totie Fields, Joey Bishop,  Milton Berle, Jan Murray, Danny Kaye, Henny Youngman,  Buddy Hackett, Sid Caesar, Groucho Marx, Jackie Mason, Woody Allen, Lenny Bruce, George Burns, Allan Sherman, Jerry Lewis (mostly at Brown’s Hotel),  Carl Reiner, Shelley Berman, Gene Wilder, George Jessel, Alan King, Mel Brooks, Phil Silvers, Jack Carter, Rodney Dangerfield, Don Rickles, Jack Benny, Eddie Cantor, Mel Brooks, Mansel Rubenstein and so many others … they were all there.

Grossinger’s in the early 1970s, the end of the good old days

There was not a single swear word in the ” family” routines, but on the road, these guys were (are) as blue as any other comics. Also, when the punchline was in Yiddish, you knew it was too blue for English.

I always tried to get my mother to translate for me, but she said the lines were “earthy” in Yiddish, but disgusting in English. So mostly, I never heard the punchline.


 For your enjoyment, a few oldies but goodies:

I just got back from a pleasure trip. I took my mother-in-law to the airport.

I’ve been in love with the same woman for 49 years! If my wife ever finds out, she’ll kill me!

What are three words a woman never wants to hear when she’s making love? “Honey, I’m home!”

Someone stole all my credit cards but I won’t be reporting it. The thief spends less than my wife did.

We always hold hands. If I let go, she shops.

My wife and I went back to the hotel where we spent our wedding night; only this time, I stayed in the bathroom and cried.

My wife and I went to a hotel where we got a water-bed. My wife called it the Dead Sea .

She was at the beauty shop for two hours. That was only for the estimate. She got a mudpack and looked great for two days. Then the mud fell off.

The Doctor gave a man six months to live. The man couldn’t pay his bill so the doctor gave him another six months.

The Doctor called Mrs. Cohen saying, “Mrs. Cohen, your check came back. ”  Mrs. Cohen answered, “So did my arthritis!”

Doctor: “You’ll live to be 60!” Patient: “I am 60!” Doctor: “See! What did I tell you?”

Patient: “I have a ringing in my ears.”
Doctor: “Don’t answer!”

A drunk was in front of a judge. The judge says, “You’ve been brought here for drinking.”
The drunk says “Okay, let’s get started.”

The Harvard School of Medicine did a study of why Jewish women like Chinese food so much. The study revealed that this is because Won Ton spelled backward is Not Now.

There is a big controversy on the Jewish view of when life begins. In Jewish tradition, the fetus is not considered viable until it graduates from medical school.

Q: Why don’t Jewish mothers drink? A: Alcohol interferes with their suffering.

A man called his mother in Florida, “Mom, how are you?”
“Not too good,” said the mother. “I’ve been very weak.”
The son said, “Why are you so weak?”
She said, “Because I haven’t eaten in 38 days.”
The son said, “That’s terrible. Why haven’t you eaten in 38 days?”
The mother answered, “Because I didn’t want my mouth to be filled with food if you should call.”

A Jewish boy comes home from school and tells his mother he has a part in the play. She asks, “What part is it?”
The boy says, “I play the part of the Jewish husband.”
The mother scowls and says, “Go back and tell the teacher you want a speaking part.”

Question: How many Jewish mothers does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: (Sigh) “Don’t bother. I’ll sit in the dark. I don’t want to be a nuisance to anybody.”

A short summary of every Jewish holiday — They tried to kill us. We survived. Let’s eat.

Did you hear about the bum who walked up to a Jewish mother on the street and said, “Lady, I haven’t eaten in three days.”  “Force yourself,” she replied.

Q: What’s the difference between a Rottweiler and a Jewish mother?
A: Eventually, the Rottweiler lets go.

Grossinger’s – 2008

COMEDY, COMEDIANS AND COMEDIC RANGE – BY TOM CURLEY

This is a blog that’s been bouncing around in my head for I while.  Events that happened recently brought it to the forefront. I love comedy. Always have. When I was a child and got a transistor radio, I didn’t care much for all the songs about love and romance. I loved the novelty songs. The silly songs. I grew up worshiping Alan Sherman.

I still can recite the lyrics to most of his songs by heart. He was a genius at parodying old standard songs. His song “Glory, Glory Harry Lewis” is a parody of “Glory, Glory Hallelujah. The hero is Harry Lewis, a clothing worker who worked for Irving Roth.

The best line in the song?

“Harry Lewis perished in the service of his lord. He was trampling through the warehouse, where the Drapes of Roth are stored.”

Genius. Today, his mantle as been taken up by Weird Al Yankovic.

I have always prided myself on my comedic range. By that, I mean I think pretty much all types of humor are funny. I love intellectual humor.  For instance, Oscar Wilde:

On God: “I think that God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability.”

Or Dorothy Parker: Use the word “horticulture” in a sentence.  “You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.”

I love the comedy of the Three Stooges, The Marx Brothers, Carl Reiner and my comedy God, Mel Brooks.

I love science jokes. “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the precipitate.”

I love fifth grade humor: “What is a shark’s favorite game show? Swallow the leader.”

I love lawyer jokes: “Why don’t sharks eat lawyers? Professional courtesy.”

I love elephant jokes: “What game do four elephants in a mini-van play? Squash.”

I love “dumb” jokes. These are jokes that at one time were ethnic jokes. They were German jokes, Irish jokes, Italian jokes, Polish jokes, North Dakota jokes, South Dakota jokes and blonde jokes.  “Why did the blonde stare at the orange juice box? Because it said ‘Concentrate.’”  

Which brings me to another type of humor I love. Tasteless humor. I have no problem with tasteless humor, as long as it’s funny.

Extra points if you get this joke.

“What’s the difference between an art student and a pizza? A pizza can feed a family of four.” That was the tamest one I could find. Unless you’re an art student, most people would find it funny. Let’s get real. Most art students would laugh the hardest.

I love roasts. Roasts are where you are supposed to be brutally funny and tasteless. You insult your guest as hard as you can. When all the quests are done insulting the subject of the roast, the subject of the roast gets to do a ‘rebuttal’ and insult all the guests right back. It’s fun. Roasts started at the Friars Club in New York City.

Now they are done on Comedy Central. Another example of a roast is The White House Correspondent’s Dinner. It’s supposed to be a roast of the President and the press. Then the President gets to roast everybody back. Steven Colbert made history when he roasted George W. Bush. It was an amazing example of speaking truth to power.

Here’s my favorite line from the roast. “Critics of the President Bush  say his administration is sinking. They’re just re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. I say no. His administration isn’t sinking. It’s soaring! They’re re-arranging the deck chairs on the Hindenburg!”

Our current so-called President will not even show up to this dinner because he can’t stand being made fun of. Two years in a row now. There’s a popular theory that the only reason Colt-45 ran for President is because of how President Obama took him down in the 2012 Correspondents dinner. “People say Trump is running as a Republican. I thought he was running as a joke.”

Actually, Seth Meyers said that, but you get the point. 

A “burn,” or a “roast” is done out of affection. You “bust balls” on your friends because you like them. You do “Your Mama jokes.”

“Your Mama’s so stupid she puts lipstick on her forehead to make up her mind.”

A science your mamma joke!

My family was famous for “busting balls”. If we goofed on you, it was because we liked you. If we didn’t like you, we were very polite around you and said nothing. We would never dream of saying anything that was actually hurtful. Because, well, that would be hurtful.

Oddly, most people can dish it out, but can’t take it, the current so-called-president being a prime example.

I am one of those people who can take a joke. Because of this I get goofed on a lot. I don’t mind. If the joke on me is good, I appreciate it. Sadly, most of the time I don’t get to fire back. I’d hurt people’s feelings. My step son is a great example. He is a great joke teller. He knows them all. All the good ones, the bad ones and the ones that makes his Mom leave the room. He also loves busting my chops. All of his burns are funny and on point. I always laugh.  But if I wanted to get him back, all I’d have to do is say “yeah, but I fuck your Mom.” I can’t do that because he’d go into a catatonic state.

Everybody has a line where something isn’t funny anymore. I remember going to see Mel Brooks’ “The History of The World Part One” when it first came out.

It was hysterical. There is a scene where he turns the Spanish Inquisition into an Esther Williams musical number. It was tasteless and funny as hell.

The Inquisition! What a show!

The whole audience was laughing their asses off. Then the next skit came on. Mel Brooks was a waiter at the Last Supper. Also hysterical. Jesus would say “Before this night is over, one of you will betray me.”

And Brooks immediately says “Judas!” Everybody stops and stares at him in stunned silence. Then he says “Would you like a salad?

It was then I noticed I was the only one in the audience laughing. I thought “Wow, torturing Jews was hilarious, but making fun of the Last Supper, not so much.”

Everybody has a line that once crossed, isn’t funny. So, I wondered, where is my line? Do I have one?

It turns out I do. My line is racism. Right wing “humor.” That offends me. Why? Because it’s mean, racist and it’s NOT FUNNY. It’s merely racist and mean. At this point you can say “Hey, YOU, don’t think it’s funny. That doesn’t mean it’s not funny.”

OK, fair enough. But let’s look at this ‘Joke’ tweeted by Rosanne Barr.

VJ refers to Valerie Jarrett, a former adviser to the Obama Administration who is not white and was born in Iran. Both of her parents are Americans. Roseanne “apologized” for her “joke.”

Was that a joke? Hell no. Just racist and mean.

Think about this. How many right-wing comics are there? Name one. I dare you, because I can’t.

A joke can be tasteless, sophomoric, silly, stupid, and dumb, yet still funny. On the other hand, saying something mean and racist, then defending yourself by saying “It was just a joke” is not funny.

That was Rosanne Barr’s defense. That’s the excuse our Racist-in-Chief and his staff use every time he makes a racist statement or tweet.

Finally, why aren’t there any right-wing comedians?  Bottom line? The right-wing doesn’t have a sense of humor.


And racism is not funny.

I hate ending on a down note. So, I’ll leave you with some 16th Century humor.

“Henry the Eighth was so fat when he sat around the castle, he sat AROUND the castle.”

Too soon?

LIGHTEN UP, WORDPRESS

Todays’ Daily Prompt: Circle of Five is so dreary, I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t. I didn’t want to, don’t want to. Can’t. No more. This has become the Daily Angst … or maybe the Daily Downer. So instead, here are some one-liners, a couple of cartoons. Maybe a laugh or a chuckle. I promise there is nothing profound here, not a single life changing revelation in this post. You can relax now.

72-Glow-Snow-3-2_15

The sun is out. It snowed (again) last night and the world looks pretty this morning, even though our car is buried and poor Garry will have to do some digging. Later.

72-Branches-Snow-3-2_08

I’m stressing over needing to get our taxes done … and wondering if we can get there from here because they are even more buried than we are … and that’s pretty buried.

It's a beautiful day ... snow and all ...

It’s a beautiful day … snow and all …

I love jokes. I collect them. If you have something you think is hilarious, send it to me. I’ll save it and when I have enough to fill a page, I’ll post it and we can all enjoy a good laugh. If it’s something you made up yourself, make sure to sign it so I can give credit where it’s due!


Bob-Mankoff-cartoon_660

No moment is more painful than the moment during an argument when you realize you’re wrong.

Does anyone know how to fold a fitted sheet? If you do, will you let me know the secret?

Bad decisions make great stories. If we didn’t make dumb choices, we wouldn’t have great anecdotes. I think that’s what we call a silver lining.

Can we agree to ignore whatever comes after Blu-ray? I can’t redo my collections again. I replaced records with tapes and tapes with CDs. I’ve replaced videocassettes with DVDs and may never fully embrace Blu-ray. I don’t think I’ll live long enough to go another round.

Sounds like my AT&T Password. And THEN they say "Make it something you find easy to remember."

And make sure it’s something you can easily remember. Right.

I’m always slightly worried when I exit an application and it asks me if I want to save my changes when I’d swear I didn’t make any changes.

Why doesn’t the freezer have a light too? Don’t we need to find stuff in the freezer?

Mental-Health-Humor_cow_500

You want to know how many times you can say “What?” before you just nod and smile because you still didn’t hear or understand a word they said? The answer is three. Try it. You’ll see.

Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Jeans? Jeans never get dirty. You can wear them forever. After a while, you can train them to come when called.

First Senior Moment

The first senior moment

I used to look at my watch 3 or 4 times in a row and still not grasp the time thing. So I stopped wearing a watch. No more problem.

A COLD DISH

Roaring Laughter — What was the last thing that gave you a real, authentic, tearful, hearty belly laugh? Why was it so funny?


One Sunday, Pastor’s sermon was about forgiveness. About letting go of old anger and resentment and handing that burden to God. At the end of his sermon, he asked the congregation to rise.

“Now,” he said, “Anyone who has an enemy at work, please sit down.” About half the congregation sat. “Will those who are estranged from one or more members of their family please sit.” Many more sat.

steeple light 3Finally, everyone was seated except for one old woman.

“You have no enemies at all? No one is harboring ill will towards you? Or is the object of your anger?” asked Pastor.

“Not a single one,” she answered, nodding her head.

“Please, come up here and tell everyone how you reached such a great age without having enemies,” said Pastor, greatly impressed. As a deacon escorted the elderly matron to the pulpit, everyone applauded.

She slowly made her way up the steps while Pastor adjusted the microphone.

“You must have done a lot of forgiving,” said Pastor. “Please, tell us your secret.”

The old lady smiled beatifically.

“I outlived the bitches,” she said.


Talk about an oldie but a goodie. The horrible truth is, you can forgive until you are blue in the face. You can work at forgetting until you overdose on whatever drugs are supposed to wipe your memory clean of the burning anger you’ve been harboring for years. In the end, nothing can come near the pure, delicious satisfaction of outliving the bitches.

This final story is  from my mother. She told it as an anecdote, a true story, but you are welcome to judge for yourself.


A friend of my mom’s was married for many years to a real bastard. Mean as a junkyard dog and so tight with his money (of which there was quite a bit) that the family lived in poverty while his bank accounts grew. One day the guy up and died of a heart attack.

The next day (Jews believe in rapid burial), there was a funeral. When the widow went up to the casket, she just stood there and looked at it. Nudged to say something, she thought for a long time. And then she said:

Good. Very good. Very, very good.” And that was all.


If you can’t see why that’s funny, I’m afraid I can’t help you.

CATSKILL COMEDIANS

Maybe you remember the old Jewish Catskill comics. Some of them went back to the old days of Vaudeville. Others are more recent. A fair number are alive and well, and a surprisingly large number are still working. Except the center of the action is Las Vegas. Maybe the Catskills will rise again. There are people trying to create a revival, so time will tell. Meanwhile, the ghost hotels are still there. Empty of life, but packed with memories.

Red Buttons, Totie Fields, Joey Bishop,  Milton Berle, Jan Murray, Danny Kaye, Henny Youngman,  Buddy Hackett, Sid Caesar, Groucho Marx, Jackie Mason, Woody Allen, Lenny Bruce, George Burns, Allan Sherman, Jerry Lewis (mostly at Brown’s Hotel),  Carl Reiner, Shelley Berman, Gene Wilder, George Jessel, Alan King, Mel Brooks, Phil Silvers, Jack Carter, Rodney Dangerfield, Don Rickles, Jack Benny, Eddie Cantor, Mel Brooks, Mansel Rubenstein and so many others … they were all there.

Grossinger’s in the early 1970s, the end of the good old days

There was not a single swear word in the ” family” routines, but on the road, these guys were (are) as blue as any other comics. Also, when the punchline was in Yiddish, you knew it was too blue for English.

I always tried to get my mother to translate for me, but she said the lines were “earthy” in Yiddish, but disgusting in English. So mostly, I never heard the punchline.


 For your enjoyment, a few oldies but goodies:

I just got back from a pleasure trip. I took my mother-in-law to the airport.

I’ve been in love with the same woman for 49 years! If my wife ever finds out, she’ll kill me!

What are three words a woman never wants to hear when she’s making love? “Honey, I’m home!”

Someone stole all my credit cards but I won’t be reporting it. The thief spends less than my wife did.

We always hold hands. If I let go, she shops.

My wife and I went back to the hotel where we spent our wedding night; only this time, I stayed in the bathroom and cried.

My wife and I went to a hotel where we got a water-bed. My wife called it the Dead Sea .

She was at the beauty shop for two hours. That was only for the estimate. She got a mudpack and looked great for two days. Then the mud fell off.

The Doctor gave a man six months to live. The man couldn’t pay his bill so the doctor gave him another six months.

The Doctor called Mrs. Cohen saying, “Mrs. Cohen, your check came back. ”  Mrs. Cohen answered, “So did my arthritis!”

Doctor: “You’ll live to be 60!” Patient: “I am 60!” Doctor: “See! What did I tell you?”

Patient: “I have a ringing in my ears.”  Doctor: “Don’t answer!”

A drunk was in front of a judge. The judge says, “You’ve been brought here for drinking.”
The drunk says “Okay, let’s get started.”

The Harvard School of Medicine did a study of why Jewish women like Chinese food so much. The study revealed that this is because Won Ton spelled backward is Not Now.

There is a big controversy on the Jewish view of when life begins. In Jewish tradition, the fetus is not considered viable until it graduates from medical school.

Q: Why don’t Jewish mothers drink? A: Alcohol interferes with their suffering.

A man called his mother in Florida , “Mom, how are you?”  “Not too good,” said the mother. “I’ve been very weak.” The son said, “Why are you so weak?” She said, “Because I haven’t eaten in 38 days.” The son said, “That’s terrible. Why haven’t you eaten in 38 days?” The mother answered, “Because I didn’t want my mouth to be filled with food if you should call.”

A Jewish boy comes home from school and tells his mother he has a part in the play. She asks, “What part is it?” The boy says, “I play the part of the Jewish husband.”  “The mother scowls and says, “Go back and tell the teacher you want a speaking part.”

Question: How many Jewish mothers does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: (Sigh) “Don’t bother. I’ll sit in the dark. I don’t want to be a nuisance to anybody.”

Short summary of every Jewish holiday — They tried to kill us. We survived. Let’s eat.

Did you hear about the bum who walked up to a Jewish mother on the street and said, “Lady, I haven’t eaten in three days.”  “Force yourself,” she replied.

Q: What’s the difference between a Rottweiler and a Jewish mother?
A: Eventually, the Rottweiler lets go.

Grossinger’s – 2008

Because we need a laugh … or at least I do!

Probably like everyone else, people send me jokes. I love jokes, as long as they aren’t offensive or mean-spirited and I collect them. When I have enough, they becomes a post. Like this. So, if you have something you think is hilarious, send it to me. I’ll save it and when there’s enough to fill a page nicely, up it goes and we can all enjoy a good laugh. If it’s something you made yourself, make sure to sign it.

Send them to fivedawgz@gmail.com and stick “Joke” somewhere in the subject line so I won’t think it’s spam. I can’t, however make promises for Google. They think everything is spam … except spam.Bob-Mankoff-cartoon_660

No moment is more painful than the moment during an argument when you realize you’re wrong.

Does anyone know how to fold a fitted sheet? If you do, will you let me know the secret?

GodIsFunnyBad decisions make great stories. If we didn’t make dumb choices, we wouldn’t have great anecdotes. I think that’s what we call a silver lining.

Can we agree to ignore whatever comes after Blu-ray? I can’t redo my collections again. I replaced records with tapes and tapes with CDs. I’ve replaced videocassettes with DVDs and am very slowly switching to Blu-ray. I frankly don’t think I’ll live long enough to go another round.

Sounds like my AT&T Password. And THEN they say "Make it something you find easy to remember."

I’m always slightly worried when I exit an application and it asks me if I want to save my changes when I’d swear I didn’t make any changes.

Why doesn’t the freezer have a light too? What, we don’t need to find stuff in the freezer?

Mental-Health-Humor_cow_500

You want to know how many times you can say “What?” before you just nod and smile because you still didn’t hear or understand a word they said? The answer is three. Try it. You’ll see.

Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Jeans? Jeans never get dirty. You can wear them forever.

First Senior Moment

The first senior moment

I used to look at my watch 3 or 4 times in a row and still not know what time it was at least partly because I couldn’t read the numbers. I rethought the problem and stopped wearing a watch. No more problem.

Daily Prompt: Leave em’ laughing!

There’s no viable alternative to laughter. Drugs, booze, even chocolate … all are nothing in the face of the black comedy of our lives. True there is something to be said for laughing while drinking and eating chocolate, but not all of us can treat our bodies that way and live to tell the tale, so we have to settle for humor.

VeganWitches

When our lives are in shambles, when all around us is falling apart, the brave tell jokes. When the laughter dies down, we take a deep breath, tell another one … and laugh some more. The more horrific the situation, the more devastating the problems, the more catastrophic the impending calamity, the funnier it is. We do not laugh at tragedy.  We laugh at life. We laugh at ourselves.

Laughter is not about happy times. Jokes are full of pain and sorrow. They are the defense we’ve been given to push back the darkness and despair. Use it freely. It’s the best medication on earth.

The difference between tragedy and comedy is how you look at it. Laughter is the universal cure for the griefs of life.

What can you do? If the light at the end of the tunnel is indeed the headlight of an oncoming train? Heard any good ones lately?

Laughing at the craziness, insanity, ludicrousness, the utter absurdity of my life — and the demented world in which I live it — is my first line of defense against despair. Take away laughter, strip away my sense of humor and I’m a goner.

I hope I’ve left you laughing!