Professor Krasny: Laughter is Universal, But Has Jewish Roots

Tuesday, November 08, 2016
TOLEDO BLADE -- Krasny is the author of three books, with another in the works. He also is host of “Forum,” a live public affairs program on KQED-San Francisco, that is the No. 1 radio show in its market and he teaches at San Francisco State and Stanford universities. “I look at jokes as narratives to be plumbed in terms of meaning,” he says. But he also got personal in the book, telling “stories from my own life or stories that I hear … stories that are often like jokes in the way that they’re set up and their trajectory, and the kind of bang they have at the end and all the rest of it.” Among the meanings of Jewish humor, he found an element “that’s very celebrative,” Krasny said. “It’s often identified with suffering — and there’s the old joke about why so much Jewish humor is masochistic, and the answer is ‘If I hear that one more time, I’m going to kill myself.’ … I think people may want to realize that there’s a lot of this humor that ties in with American identity.”