Here are the key takeaways from the book:
Hitler set up” Joke Courts” to punish and silence opponents—5,286 sentences to death for political joke tellers. Someone asked a Nazi how to determine if a joke was criminal-he said the better the joke—the more dangerous the effect.
An Iranian had a contest for the most anti-Israel and antisemitic cartoons and an Israeli illustrator announced it should be open to Jews—we’ll show the world we can do the best, sharpest and most offensive Jew hating cartoons ever published.
Archie and Edith were disguised Jews according to the author!
Lorne Michaels hired Al Franken to writing staff of SNL.
This struck me as an unusual comedic form: When the holidays are fighting with one another—Hanukkah is telling Passover-no one can stomach your food. Hanukkah tells Purim that Purim is inferior because it only last one night-he last eight days and even that feels brief.
Allan Sherman did parodies of Broadway musicals-My Fair Sadie and South Passaic. He couldn’t release them on albums because of copyright issues so that’s why he used stuff in public domain.
To be truly offensive and vulgar is easy and artless. To be meaningfully vulgar and offensive so in a way that enlightens that has a long tradition—and done with love.
The negatives are that the book gets repetitive and analytical without making a clear point. And way too much stuff about Purim.