Chutzpah, An Introduction to Jewish Humor: A Discussion with Steve Shaw
On November 6th, from 1:00 – 3:00 pm, Steve Shaw, a familiar figure, and a popular instructor will return to Maine to present a program entitled “Chutzpah: An Introduction to Jewish Humor” at the Camden Public Library. The program is free and open to the public.
Steve describes the focus of his program this way: “According to one reliable source, eighty percent of the comedians performing in the second half of the twentieth century were Jewish. These range from Groucho Marx, Jack Benny and Danny Kaye to Mel Brooks, Jackie Mason, and Woody Allen. How to explain this striking phenomenon is one of the goals of this talk.
We will concentrate on two areas of Jewish humor: the use of the term “chutzpah”–a word which has entered into the English language–and why there are so many Yiddish jokes about sex. We also will learn something about how humor often reflects aspects of Jewish history, sociology, and even theology and how the roots of our two subjects may actually be found in classical Jewish sources including the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud.
This talk will function as an introduction to a spring 2018 course which will be sponsored by Coastal Senior College.
Steve Shaw served for many years as director of the Department of Community Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York City.