Arts & Culture

Old Jews Telling Jokes

According to Sam Hoffman, the director of Jetpack Media’s “Old Jews Telling Jokes,” his dad is a pretty funny guy. Formed by GreeneStreet Films, Jetpack produces and develops original Internet video, and strives to synthesize independent film with online content. … Read More

By / January 28, 2009

According to Sam Hoffman, the director of Jetpack Media’s “Old Jews Telling Jokes,” his dad is a pretty funny guy. Formed by GreeneStreet Films, Jetpack produces and develops original Internet video, and strives to synthesize independent film with online content. Below is an anecdotal explanation by Hoffman of what exactly “Old Jews Telling Jokes” is all about, as well as a video of a decidedly dirty joke told by one of his father’s very funny friends, Larry “Moose” Donsky. Be prepared to laugh out loud.

My dad can tell a story. But he’d prefer to tell a joke. Storytelling is a Jewish tradition. You’ve probably seen Fiddler on the Roof. Whenever they ask the Rabbi a question, he tugs thoughtfully on his beard and says “let me tell you a story.” Then they sing. Jokes are like stories, but shorter and funnier. Old jokes tend to have a stigma, but they only last if they’re good. Some of the best ones provide a window to the culture of a bygone era. They can reveal the concerns of a generation or even the generation before. Anxieties of coming to a new country, of prospering, of assimilating, of having families, of fearing and worrying about, well, everything. Humor was and is the ultimate anti-depressant. My father gathered twenty of his friends to share their favorite jokes. We set three rules for the production: the joke-tellers were to be Jewish, at least sixty years of age and they were to tell their favorite joke – the one that always kills. Here, you will find them, Old Jews Telling Jokes.

Larry Donsky and my father attended Camp Dellwood together in Honesdale, PA from 1950 to 1954. At camp, Larry was known as “Moose” Donsky. Later, he played first base and catcher for a Coney Island League baseball team and worked in the Garment district in New York. He and my father fell out of touch for thirty years until my father decided to look him up in the white pages and call him. They have since rekindled their friendship and spearheaded the one and only Camp Dellwood reunion.

The video is after the jump

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