Why do Jewish men die before their wives?

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On November 14, Master of Ceremonies Richard Silverberg welcomed everyone to the Amari Resort’s Tavern by the Sea Restaurant for the regular Sunday meeting of the Pattaya City Expats Club.  After the usual opening announcements, Richard called on fellow member David Garmaise to entertain everyone with his latest topic.

Previously, David has entertained the Club with a nostalgic look back at Hollywood movies. Another time, he entertained everyone by taking them to the theatre with a Broadway in Concert video presentation. David’s topic for this meeting was a little bit different as he gave a multi-media slide presentation entitled, “Is Nothing Sacred: A Tour of Jewish Humor.”.

PCEC Board member David Garmaise entertains members with a thoroughly enjoyable Keynote presentation titled, “Is Nothing Sacred: A Tour of Jewish Humor.” PCEC Board member David Garmaise entertains members with a thoroughly enjoyable Keynote presentation titled, “Is Nothing Sacred: A Tour of Jewish Humor.”

David started with a question: “Why do Jewish men die before their wives?” and the answer was: “Because they want to.”  David explained that this Henny Youngman joke is typical of Jewish humor.  Some of the characteristics of Jewish humor are that it is self-deprecating, no subject is taboo, it plays on the stereotypes people have about Jewish people, and it often has a dry, oddball, almost twisted quality to it.

He proceeded to provide numerous examples, using voice (his), cartoons, audio clips and video clips, featuring the likes of Alan Sherman and Myron Cohen.  David also used video clips from a series called “Old Jews Telling Jokes,” which is available as a podcast.

The presentation was received with much laughter and appreciation.  Some examples of the humor David presented was another question and answer: “What is a Jewish dilemma? Half-price pork.” Another humorous example of Jewish humor was: after the assassination of Tsar Alexander II of Russia, a government official menacingly addressed the local rabbi: “I suppose you know in full detail who was behind it.” To which the rabbi said: “Ach, I have no idea, but the government’s conclusion will be the same as always: They will blame the Jews and the bicyclists.”  “Why the bicyclists?” asked the befuddled official.  “Why the Jews?” the rabbi responded.

David explained that Jewish people like to talk about “chutzpah.” He provided three definitions of “chutzpah”: (1) Chutzpah is reading the entire book in the store and not buying it; (2) Chutzpah is going to the psychiatrist because of a split personality, and asking for a group rate; and (3) Chutzpah is killing your mother and father, and then pleading with the judge for mercy on the grounds that you are an orphan.”  David finished his presentation with a quote from Archie Bunker: “Jesus was a Jew, yes, but only on his mother’s side.”

After David’s presentation, the audience joined in with a few additional jokes of their own.  A good time was had by all. As E.E. Cummings said, “The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.”

Richard then updated everyone on upcoming events in and around Pattaya before calling on Judith Edmonds to conduct the always informative and sometimes humorous Open Forum, where questions about living in Thailand and Pattaya in particular are asked and answered.