Michael Krasny poses for a portrait.

In this hour, Forum’s longtime host Michael Krasny finds himself on the other side of the microphone. His new book, “Let There Be Laughter,” celebrates and analyzes Jewish humor — its history, its cultural revelations, and of course, its jokes. Krasny, a collector of Jewish jokes, explores what makes Jewish humor so distinct. We’ll talk to Krasny about his latest book and hear stories from his 20-plus years as Forum’s host.

More Information:


Michael Krasny’s Book Events:

Michael Krasny Examines the Wisdom of Jewish Humor in ‘Let There Be Laughter’ 30 September,2016Mina Kim

Michael Krasny, host, Forum; professor of English, San Francisco State University: author, "Let There Be Laughter: A Treasury of Great Jewish Humor and What It All Means"

  • William – SF

    Question for your guest … a Jew, a Christian, and a Muslim walk into a bar, who’s funnier?

    • Robert Thomas

      Shecky Greene

  • Robert Thomas

    Dr Krasny, which came first, the Jewish “deathbed kugel” joke or the identical Scandinavian-American “Ole and Lena” joke of the upper midwest?

  • Another Mike

    Whoa: the shtetl was a ghetto? Jewish husbands studied the Talmud instead of working for a living?
    In most shtetls Jews and Catholics lived and worked side by side. The most popular occupation for Jewish men before WW II was teamster. Jews lived within walking distance of the synagog, making the Jewish neighborhood rather compact.
    What is true is that the King of Poland could and did charter both Jew-free towns and Gentile-free towns, such as Kazimierz near Krakow.

  • Terry

    A tiger mom encountered a helicopter mom and said, why don’t your slap your kid three times a day? The helicopter mom said hey, she’s a kid not your defective vibrator. The tiger mom said, is that a kind of rice cooker?

  • Ben Rawner

    It seems that since the 70s African Americans have ascended to the top of comedy, particularly stand up. Does your guest see any parallels between the two cultures in the use is comedy for not only societal coping but also gaining access to the entertainment industry?

  • Another Mike

    Does the book cover litvaks vs. galitzianers?

  • geraldfnord

    It must be remembered that in years past a Jewish man who became a comedian was almost automatically meeting with his mother’s extreme disapproval—an engineer, civil service worker, doctor, or lawyer was the hope for the security of the son or of the family, but never a comedian. Defensive aggression in jokes in return was only natural.

    My two cents: modern Deşi comedians seem very much to me like Jewish comedians—some similar circumstances, and pethaps the power of a prëxisting rôle.


    I believe the Jewish sense of humor may g back to their ancient Egyptian heritage as well to Egypt theough the ages ,since Egyptians are known for their creation of humor as well the great number of Jews who lived in Egypt through the ages till recently .

  • Ben Rawner

    Was it hard for your guest to keep the book funny since analyzing jokes makes them anything but funny?

  • Another Mike

    What’s the difference between a schmuck and a putz, because they both refer to the same thing?

  • JED

    Repeating a joke I heard on NPR, but don’t remember who said it:

    An Irishman walks into at bar and says, “I’m thirsty, I’ll have a Guiness.” A Frenchman walks into a bar and says, “I’m thirsty, I’ll have a Chardonnay.” A Jewishman walks into a bar and says, “I’m thirsty, maybe I have diabetes?”

    I always thought a comedian like John Stewart would appreciate that joke.

  • JED

    Also, just want to compliment Michael Krasny’s thoughtfulness on this subject.

  • BDN

    EVERYBODY’S A CRITIC! — seriously though Michael you forgot the important “sell” cap to the “Life Guard/Mother” joke — it’s “He had a hat, *WHERE’S* his hat!” or the way that failed comedians tell it “He had a joke, where’s his Joke!”


Mina Kim

Mina Kim is KQED News’ evening anchor and the Friday host of Forum. She reports on a wide range of issues affecting the Bay Area and interviews newsmakers, local leaders and innovators.

Mina started her career in public radio at KQED as an intern with Pacific Time. When the station began expanding its local news coverage in 2010, she became a general assignment reporter, then health reporter for The California Report. Mina’s award-winning stories have included on-the-scene reporting of the 2014 Napa earthquake and a series on gun violence in Oakland.

Her work has been recognized by the Radio Television Digital News Association, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Asian American Journalists Association.

Mina grew up in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Oak Park, CA. She lives in Napa.

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