Professor Krasny: Edgy Humor is a Mitzvah in Age of Trump

Tuesday, January 24, 2017
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE -- Krasny, who is 72, grew up in Cleveland, far from the Borscht Belt of Jackie Mason and Henny Youngman or the Hollywood of Jack Benny and Mel Brooks. The son of a skilled worker in an ice cream factory, he arrived at San Francisco State University as a young English literature professor in 1970, too late to catch Lenny Bruce and Woody Allen in their North Beach heyday. But he has interviewed a number of the Jewish comedy greats, including Gene Wilder, Joan Rivers and Larry David. And director Barry Levinson once introduced him to Dustin Hoffman as a man who knew more Jewish jokes than anyone else. As Krasny recalled his hometown, he was reminded of an old Woody Allen joke: “The world is beautiful, and life has meaning — except for certain parts of Cleveland.”