February ’95 in the Exponent: Library Makes Book on Jewish Humor


A Warm Welcome for Vice President

Henny Youngman. Jerry Seinfeld. The Marx Brothers. The Three Stooges. Roseanne Barr. Mel Brooks. Woody Allen. Lenny Bruce. Billy Crystal. Joan Rivers. Even Larry David, his recent SNL monologue notwithstanding.

These Jewish comedians and many others have made the world laugh for years, and the front cover of the Feb. 24, 1995 Jewish Exponent featured a huge reproduction of a Harpo Marx poster teasing an inside article about an exhibit at the Free Library of Philadelphia.

“Decades of Laughter: An Exhibition of Jewish-American Comedians and Humorists” was on display for months at the library, and curator Jerry Di Falco explained the connection between Jews and humor.

“An integral part of Jewish culture is being funny. The ability to present humor and very serious stories with a lighthearted tone goes back among Jews almost 6,000 years, all the way to Egypt,” Di Falco said. “The Jews as a race have constantly been burdened with persecution — the Holocaust being the most mindboggling of persecution. The humor comes out of rage.”

More than 50 comics were featured in the exhibit, ranging from Fanny Brice “to the current hip and hot Jerry Seinfeld.”

Also teased on the cover was Vice President Al Gore’s appearance at the 93rd Annual Banquet of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.

Gore wore a yarmulke (as did Secret Service agents) as he reaffirmed to a crowd of more than 800 people the Clinton administration’s commitment to peace in the Middle East, Israel’s security and domestic social programs.


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