Jokes From Shaf
And even though he is going through a tough health siege at home, we still get a great oldie but goodie Jewish Joke from the Jewish Joke Maven, ...
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Tom Lehrer was born in 1928 to a secular Jewish family and grew up on Manhattan's Upper East Side. He began studying classical piano at the age of seven, but was more interested in the popular music of the age. Eventually, his mother also sent him to a popular-music piano teacher. At this early age, he began writing show tunes, which eventually helped him as a satirical composer and writer in his years of lecturing at Harvard University noting the influence of one of his professors Irving Kaplansky, and later at other universities.
Lehrer attended the Horace Mann School in Riverdale, New York, part of The Bronx. He also attended Camp Androscoggin, both as a camper and a counselor. Lehrer was considered a child prodigy and entered Harvard College at the age of 15 after graduating from Loomis Chaffee School. As a mathematics undergraduate student at Harvard College, he began to write comic songs to entertain his friends, including "Fight Fiercely, Harvard" (1945). Those songs were later named collectively The Physical Revue, a joking reference to a leading scientific journal, the Physical Review.
Lehrer earned his Bachelor of Arts in mathematics (magna cum laude) from Harvard University in 1946, where he was the roommate of the Canadian theologian Robert Crouse. He received his MA degree the next year, and was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He taught classes at MIT, Harvard, Wellesley, and the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Lehrer remained in Harvard's doctoral program for several years, taking time out for his musical career and to work as a researcher at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. He was drafted into the U.S. Army from 1955 to 1957, working at the NSA. (Lehrer has stated that he invented the Jell-O shot during this time, as a means of circumventing the base's ban on alcoholic beverages.) These experiences became fodder for songs, e.g., "The Wild West Is Where I Want to Be" and "It Makes a Fellow Proud to Be a Soldier". It was many years before Lehrer publicly revealed that he had been assigned to the NSA, since the mere fact of its existence was classified at the time; this left him in the interesting position of implicitly using nuclear weapons work as a cover story for something more sensitive.
From 1962, Lehrer taught in the political science department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 1972, he joined the faculty of the University of California, Santa Cruz, teaching an introductory course entitled The Nature of Mathematics to liberal arts majors—"math for tenors", according to Lehrer. He also taught a class in musical theater. He occasionally performed songs in his lectures, primarily those relating to the topic.
In 2001, Lehrer taught his last mathematics class (on the topic of infinity) and retired from academia. He has remained in the area, and in 2003 said he still "hangs out" around the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Lehrer was encouraged by the success of his performances, so he paid $15 for some studio time in 1953 to record Songs by Tom Lehrer. The initial pressing was 400 copies. Radio stations would not air his songs because of his controversial subjects, so he sold the album on campus at Harvard for $3 (equivalent to $29.00 today), while "several stores near the Harvard campus sold it for $3.50, taking only a minimal markup as a kind of community service. Newsstands on campus sold it for the same price." After one summer, he started to receive mail orders from all parts of the country, as far away as San Francisco, after the San Francisco Chronicle wrote an article on the record. Interest in his recordings spread by word of mouth. People played their records for friends, who then also wanted a copy. Lehrer recalled, "Lacking exposure in the media, my songs spread slowly. Like herpes, rather than ebola."
Here are two famous examples of Lehrer at his best, singing about things Jewish and things
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An Italian man said, "Last week, my wife and I had great sex. I rubbed her body all over with olive oil, we made passionate love, and she screamed for five full minutes at the end."
The Frenchman boasted, "Last week when my wife and I had sex, I rubbed her body all over wiz butter. We zen made passionate love and she screamed for fifteen minutes."
The Jewish man said, "Well, last week my wife and I also had sex. I rubbed her body all over with schmaltz. We made love, and she screamed for over six hours."
The other two were stunned. The amazed Frenchman asked, "What could you have possibly done to make your wife scream for six hours?"
Said the Jewish man, "I wiped my hands on the bedspread."