In a work of scholarship both erudite and funny, Jeremy Dauber traces the origins of Jewish comedy and its development from biblical times to the age of Twitter. Organising his book thematically into what he calls the seven strands of Jewish comedy (including the Satirical, the Witty and the Vulgar), Dauber explores the ways Jewish comedy has dealt with persecution, assimilation and diaspora through the ages. He explains the rise and fall of popular comic archetypes such as the Jewish mother, the JAP, and the schlemiel and schlimazel. He also explores a range of comic masterpieces, from the Book of Esther, Talmudic rabbi jokes, Yiddish satires, Borscht Belt skits and Seinfeld to the work of such masters as Sholem Aleichem, Franz Kafka, the Marx Brothers, Woody Allen, Joan Rivers, Philip Roth, Sarah Silverman and Jon Stewart.
Jeremy Dauber is the Atran Professor of Yiddish Language, Literature and Culture at Columbia University. He is the author of several books on Jewish literature, including In the Demon's Bedroom: Yiddish Literature and the Early Modern, Antonio's Devils: Writers of the Jewish Enlightenment and the Birth of Modern Hebrew and Yiddish Literature, and The Worlds of Sholem Aleichem, which was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. He lives in New York City.