Here's what happened. You woke up this morning, immediately fired up your computer just like every day. After checking your stocks, today's weather, and searching last night's "Missed Connections" on Craig's List for your name—then, after getting no results, revising your search to be more general, with descriptors like "F Train" + "The Namesake"—you browsed straight to your favorite daily, must-read web site: Epicurious.com's 'Daily Dish.' And that's when you saw my byline. "I didn't know Todd Levin wrote for Epicurious.com—my favorite daily, must-read web site!" Well, he does now.
Actually, it was funny being asked to review two books of Jewish humor. First, I hate nearly all Jewish humor. I hate all the puns and the jokes about holes in bed sheets and rapping Hasidic Jews, and the substitution of popular Jewish iconography into a well-known historical or cultural idea. I really find it all embarrassingly nerdy and distasteful. Maybe I'm not being clear enough. Here is what I think is a quintessential example of "Jewish Humor," and one that I've fabricated for the purpose of this example:
A poster for a movie called "Jewish American Beauty." It features the famous Mena-naked-in-rose-petals shot from American Beauty but here, instead of Mena Suvari, it's a badly Photoshopped Barbara Streisand. And, instead of rose petals, it's BAGELS!!! My word. The tag line: "...Look Schmoser."