When comedians look at their own cultural background, they tend to find ample material for their stand-up routines. Whether it is Russell Peters making fun of his father, Chris Rock making light of his daughters chances for occupational success, some rednecks singing their order through TacoBell, or Sugar Sammy ridiculing the wonderful province that I call home, the jokes that work the best are the jokes that are based on culture, custom and commonality.
For Jews, most jokes are based around food. Let’s face it, we like to cook, we like to eat, and most of all, we like to complain. We also like to laugh at ourselves. I don’t know where it came from or why it persists, but this fascination with food defines us as a people – and when we are honest, we will admit to being particular about what we eat, when we eat it, and how much of it we eat. (Giulian and I remember a trip we took almost 15 years ago with our French family, not only because we loved being with them, but also – and most particularly – because those Gallic kids were not allowed to snack between meals. Therefore, neither were we. This presented a bit of a dilemma that was quickly overcome by sneaking food into our rooms and eating it on the sly. Not quite but kinda like this.)
I guess I’d rather be known as one who prefers to eat over one who prefers to drink, but frankly, if given the choice, I think I’d like to eat a little less and enjoy what I am eating a little bit more. But who am I kidding? I’m genetically predisposed to take a little bit of this and a little bit of that at any buffet table I happen to come across, and then, most likely, I’ll go back for more. I can’t help it, it’s part of the package. Call it a cross I have to bear …
Some of my favorite Jewish food related jokes or cultural icons: