5 Feet of Fury

David Baddiel reviews “Jewish Comedy: A Serious History”

David Baddiel in the Times Literary Supplement:

Some of its jokes are laugh-out-loud-funny, and some of them are poignantly beautiful, like the one Dauber tells about a Relocation Officer speaking to a Holocaust survivor who has lost his entire family. The officer asks the survivor where he intends to go now:

“Australia! But that’s so far!”
“From where?” says the survivor.

Jewish Comedy is similar in that respect to another recent book about the subject by the British academic, Devorah Baum, The Jewish Joke, which also contains a welter of both hilarious and beautiful jokes. The nearest to the above tells of a Holocaust survivor who dies and goes to heaven. On arrival he tells God a Holocaust joke. And God says: “that isn’t funny”. The survivor replies: “Oh well, you had to be there”.