Michael Krasny: Let There Be Laughter
Let There Be Laughter
Krasny has been telling Jewish jokes since his bar mitzvah, and it’s been said that he knows more of them than anyone on the planet. He certainly states his case in this wise, enlightening and hilarious book that not only collects the best of Jewish humor passed down from generation to generation, but explains the cultural expressions and anxieties behind the laughs.
With his background as a scholar and public-radio host, Krasny delves deeply into the themes, topics, and form of Jewish humor: chauvinism undercut by irony and self-mockery, the fear of losing cultural identity through assimilation, the importance of vocal inflection in joke-telling, and calls to communal memory, including the use of Yiddish. Borrowing from traditional humor and such Jewish comedy legends as Jackie Mason, Mel Brooks, and Joan Rivers, Larry David, Sarah Silverman, Jerry Seinfeld and Amy Schumer, Let There Be Laughter is an absolute pleasure for the chosen and goyim alike.
Krasny has been a professor of English at SF State since 1970 and has taught at Stanford University and University of California, San Francisco. He is the author of Spiritual Envy: An Agnostic’s Quest and Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life, coauthor of the textbook Sound Ideas and creator of the DVD presentation Masterpieces of Short Fiction. He is a widely published scholar and literary critic, a fiction writer and a guest and frequent interviewer on the City Arts and Lectures stage.
Krasny has interviewed many of the leading newsmakers and cultural icons of our time, including former President Jimmy Carter, Cesar Chavez, Noam Chomsky, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Francis Ford Coppola, Don DeLillo, Newt Gingrich, Vice President Al Gore, Norman Mailer, Toni Morrison, President Barack Obama, Rosa Parks, Nancy Pelosi, Robert Redford, Philip Roth, Salman Rushdie, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, John Updike and countless others. He is the recipient of many awards and honors, including The S.Y. Agnon Gold Medal for Intellectual Distinction, The Eugene Block Award for Human Rights Journalism, The Inclusiveness in Media Award from The National Conference for Community and Justice and a Koret Foundation Fellowship.