In the spirit of my new book on the history of Jewish comedy, I would like to begin by telling you a joke. A Jewish joke, of course; and – perhaps also unsurprisingly – one with a kind of bite to it. It may not be to everyone’s taste; you may not find it laugh-out-loud funny. But it has the benefit – at least in the eyes of this writer – to be the greatest Jewish joke in history. It also, for the historically minded, has the benefit of being one of the earliest, one that – as much as any single joke can do – explains how Jewish humour got to be the way it is.
It’s a funny old testament: the roots of Jewish humour go back to the Bible
Get Instant Access
Register for free to read this article in full
Subscribe for unlimited access
From just £21.50 quarterly
Complete access to all Tablet website content including all premium content.
The full weekly edition in print and digital including our 179 years archive.
PDF version to view on iPad, iPhone or computer.
Already a subscriber? Login