My Jewish Learning

Jewish Humor Quiz

Jews have long used humor as a tool for self-ridicule, fighting anti-Semitism, and even passing down traditions. And in the past few decades Jewish humor has become significant in mainstream popular culture. How much do you know about Jewish humor?

Question 1. Many of which characters' sketches on Sesame Street are adaptations of traditional Jewish jokes?
 Ernie and Bert
 Big Bird and Snuffy
 Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy
 Big Bird and Count von Count
 Cookie Monster and Elmo


Question 2. Which of these is an example of Jewish humor in the Middle Ages?
 The few deliberately funny passages of the Shulhan Arukh
 The "laughing cure" used to ward off the Black Plague
 Purim plays known as shpiels
 All of these


Question 3. What is a shlemiel?
 A luckless fool
 A deliberately funny person
 A beggar
 A matchmaker


Question 4. True or false: Humor is one of the hallmarks of Yiddish literature.


Question 5. Where was Lenny Bruce's "Jewish and Goyish" routine first published?
 MAD Magazine
 The New Yorker
 The New York Times


Question 6. "I do not know whether there are many other instances of a people making fun to such a degree of its own character." Who said this about the Jews?
 Sigmund Freud
 Theodor Herzl
 Golda Meir
 Winston Churchill
 Theodor Reik


Question 7. How did the magazine National Lampoon set a new comedic standard?
 By softening up some of the more harsh and vulgur aspects of Jewish humor
 By being the first Jewish humor magazine to be published
 By printing both comedic jokes and stories, as well as original Yiddish folk tales
 By using mockery exemplified by sarcasm and ironic detachment


Question 8. Which of these TV characters is Jewish?
 Ross on Friends
 Fran on The Nanny
 Jerry on Seinfeld
 All of these


Question 9. Woody Allen's Oscar-winning film Annie Hall focuses on what subject?
 Dating between Jews and non-Jews
 Civil unrest in America
 Jewish comedy in the shtetls


Question 10. What was The Goldbergs?
 A humorous work of fiction, written first in Yiddish
 The original name of All in the Family
 A radio show about a Jewish family, which later became a television show
 The most popular vaudeville show in history