- Published on Sunday, 17 June 2012 10:27
- Written by Irwin Becker
So What’s So Funny About Some “ Old Jews Telling Jokes” ?
A few hundred Jews walk into a midtown theatre…You get the joke, actually 90 minutes of a fast, punchy semi-history of old and some slightly younger, Jewish one-liners, covering generations of humor that created, at least from a recent show at the Westside Theater, continuous loud laughing, even some screams, at the punch lines.Actually, the most original, even poignant piece was not a joke but an unexpected recital of “Old Man River” by a mournful, straight forward, middle-aged, schlump delivered in an increasingly hilarious rendition by Todd Susman.
After all the fast-paced routines, the slow offering of that famous Showboat show stopper initially caught the audience by surprise, but as Sussman continued in his thick, perfect Yiddish accent, the audience started laughing cautiously so as not to miss the growing incongruity of the lyrics and the unusual phrasingNot only was the finish applauded, it received a mini standing ovation. It was shock over schlock.
Two other old Jews, Lenny Wolpe and Marilyn Sokol , didn’t let their advancing years stop them from delivering a host of jokes that spanned the usual categories of Jewish humor-- lawyers, mothers, doctors, grandmothers, sons, daughters , husbands, wives , crooked business men, politicians and sex and more sex.
And there were two un- old Jews in the cast –Audrey Lynn Weston and Bill Army—who were just as funny and as well timed in delivering punch lines.
Some of the better one-liners concerned an unusual use of a ketchup bottle, a preference for kitchen counters, and a lost hat in the ocean.
The Westside Theatre, 407 West 43rd Street, slightly west of Ninth Avenue. 212-239-6200. White hair not required.