Jokes From Shaf
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updates ONCE a week every Tuesday.
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A look at some of the best Jewish Stand-Up comics every week on the
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weeks Kosher laugh fest...
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A young Jewish boy starts attending public school in a small town. The teacher of the one-room school decides to use her position to try to influence the new student. She asks the class, "Who was the greatest man that ever lived?"
A girl raises her hand and says, "I think George Washington was the greatest man that ever lived because he is the Father of our country."
The teacher replies, "Well...that is a good answer, but that's not the answer I am looking for."
Another young student raises his hand and says, "I think Abraham Lincoln was the greatest man that lived because he freed the slaves and helped end the civil war."
"Well, that's another good answer, but that is not the one I was looking for."
Then the new Jewish boy raises his hand and says, "I think Jesus Christ was the greatest man that ever lived."
The teacher's mouth drops open in astonishment. "Yes!" she says, "that's the answer I was looking for." She then brings him up to the front of the classroom and gives him a lollipop.
Later, during recess, another Jewish boy approaches him as he is licking his lollipop. He says, "Why did you say, 'Jesus Christ'?"
The boy stops licking his lollipop and replies, "I know it's Moses, and YOU know it's Moses, but business is business."
Issac Sidney Caesar was the youngest of three sons born to Jewish immigrants living in Yonkers, New York. His father was Max Ziser (1874–1946) and his mother was Ida (née Raphael) (1887–1975). They likely were from Dąbrowa Tarnowska, Poland. Reports state that the surname "Caesar" was given to Max, as a child, by an immigration official at Ellis Island. This is an urban myth. Max and Ida Caesar ran a restaurant, a 24-hour luncheonette.
By waiting on tables, their son learned to mimic the patois, rhythm and accents of the diverse clientele, a technique he termed double-talk, which he used throughout his career. He first tried double-talk with a group of Italians, his head barely reaching above the table. They enjoyed it so much that they sent him over to a group of Poles to repeat his native-sounding patter in Polish, and so on with Russians, Hungarians, Frenchmen, Spaniards, Lithuanians, and Bulgarians. Sid Caesar's older brother, David, was his comic mentor and "one-man cheering section." They created their earliest family sketches from movies of the day like Test Pilot and the 1927 silent film Wings.
At 14, Caesar went to the Catskill Mountains as a saxophonist in the Swingtime Six band with Mike Cifichello and Andrew Galos and occasionally performed in sketches in the Borscht Belt.
After graduating from Yonkers High School in 1939, Caesar left home, intent on a musical career. He arrived in Manhattan and worked as an usher and then a doorman at the Capitol Theater there. He was ineligible to join the musicians' union in New York City until he established residency, but he found work as a saxophonist at the Vacationland Hotel, a resort located in the Catskill Mountains of Sullivan County, New York. Mentored by Don Appel, the resort's social director, Caesar played in the dance band and learned to perform comedy, doing three shows a week. He audited classes in clarinet and saxophone at the Juilliard School of Music. In 1939, he enlisted in the United States Coast Guard, and was stationed in Brooklyn, New York, where he played in military revues and shows.
During the summer of 1942, Caesar met his future wife, Florence Levy, at the Avon Lodge in the Catskills village of Woodridge, New York. They were married on July 17, 1943, and had three children: Michele, Rick and Karen. After joining the musicians' union, he briefly played with Shep Fields, Claude Thornhill, Charlie Spivak, Art Mooney and Benny Goodman.
Still in the service, Caesar was ordered to Palm Beach, Florida, where Vernon Duke and Howard Dietz were putting together a service revue called Tars and Spars. There he met the civilian director of the show, Max Liebman. When Caesar's comedy got bigger applause than the musical numbers, Liebman asked him to do stand-up bits between the songs. Tars and Spars toured nationally, and became Caesar's first major gig as a comedian. Liebman later produced Caesar's first television series.
After the war, the Caesars moved to Hollywood. In 1946, Columbia Pictures produced a film version of Tars and Spars in which Caesar reprised his role. The next year, he acted in The Guilt of Janet Ames. He turned down the lead of The Jolson Story as he did not want to be known as an impersonator, and turned down several other offers to play sidekick roles. He soon returned to New York, where he became the opening act for Joe E. Lewis at the Copacabana nightclub. He reunited with Liebman, who guided his stage material and presentation. That job led to a contract with the William Morris Agency and a nationwide tour. Caesar also performed in a Broadway revue, Make Mine Manhattan, which featured The Five Dollar Date—one of his first original pieces, in which he sang, acted, double-talked, pantomimed, and wrote the music.
Caesar's television career began with an appearance on Milton Berle's Texaco Star Theater[ in the fall of 1948. In early 1949, Caesar and Liebman met with Pat Weaver, vice president of television at NBC, which led to Caesar's first series, Admiral Broadway Revuewith Imogene Coca. The Friday show was simultaneously broadcast on NBC and the DuMont network, and was an immediate success. However, its sponsor, Admiral, an appliance company, could not keep up with the demand for its new television sets, so the show was cancelled after 26 weeks—ironically, on account of its runaway success.
On February 25, 1950, Caesar appeared in the first episode of Your Show of Shows, initially the second half of the two-hour umbrella show, Saturday Night Review; at the end of the 1950–51 season, Your Show of Shows became its own, 90-minute program from the International Theatre at 5 Columbus Circle and later The Center Theatre at Sixth Avenue and 49th Street. Burgess Meredith hosted the first two shows, and the premiere featured musical guests Gertrude Lawrence, Lily Pons and Robert Merrill. The show was a mix of sketch comedy, movie and television satires, Caesar's monologues, musical guests, and large production numbers. Guests included: Jackie Cooper, Robert Preston, Rex Harrison, Eddie Albert, Michael Redgrave, Basil Rathbone, Charlton Heston, Geraldine Page, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Pearl Bailey, Fred Allen, Benny Goodman, Lena Horne and many other stars of the time. It was also responsible for bringing together the comedy team of Caesar, Coca, Carl Reiner, and Howard Morris. Many writers also got their break creating the show's sketches, including Lucille Kallen, Mel Brooks, Neil Simon, Michael Stewart, Mel Tolkin and Sheldon Keller. Sid Caesar won his first Emmy in 1952. In 1951 and 1952, he was voted the United States' Best Comedian in Motion Picture Daily's TV poll. The show ended after almost 160 episodes on June 5, 1954.
A few months later, Caesar returned with Caesar's Hour, a one-hour sketch/variety show with Morris, Reiner, Bea Arthur and other members of his former crew. Nanette Fabray replaced Coca, who had left to star in her own short-lived series. Ultimate creative and technical control was now in Caesar's hands, originating from the Century Theater and the weekly budget doubled to $125,000. The premiere on September 27, 1954, featured Gina Lollobrigida. Everything was performed live, including the commercials.
Caesar's Hour was followed by ABC's short-lived Sid Caesar Invites You from January 26 to May 25, 1958. It briefly reunited Caesar, Coca, and Reiner, with Simon and Brooks among the writers.
Here is a video called, "The Drummer" which features classic Caesar and Nanette Fabray...
With all the submissions The Chairman gets each day, this topic is the most popular.
With this in mind, we now have a category which features "The Jewish Joke of The Day".
And Today's Jewish Joke comes from your host...