Bottom Line: Although I would have loved if the film makers had spent more time with each of the people highlighted in these videos, it doesn’t take away from the fact that this is a clever, fun and strangely sentimental web project. I only wish others would take time to understand culture in such a creative way.
Five months later, this site is still about the same thing: Old Jews Telling Jokes.
The good news is we’ve got some new old Jews. Many of this season’s participants responded to our first round and contacted us. We know better than to deny an old Jew with a burning desire to joke.
I wrote before that these jokes shed a light on a culture, but they also reveal much about their tellers. Like playing the piano, telling a joke requires craft, artistry and style. Does the teller have the patience for the set-up? Can he or she remember the details that make the characters familiar? Will he or she commit to the voices and the accents and keep them consistent? Is there that innate sense of timing?
See for yourself. We weren’t disappointed. All the tellers bring their own individual talents and at least sixty years of life experience to the material.
If the first season of Old Jews Telling Jokes was “friends and family” then let us present the next concentric ring, one degree-click out on the map of Jewish geography.
It’s standup with one joke per show, if they added too much flair to it it would have lost its underlying humanity. (Style 3)
Sometimes it feels almost too short. Each episode comes in at under 2 minutes and a lot of times I was left wanting to hear more from the joke tellers. (Pacing 3.5)
The video is great but the sound can get really low in places. (Polish 3)
You can make it through the entire series in just about an hour, and you’ll enjoy just about every minute of it. (Watchability 4)
As high concepts go this has the right mix of anthropology and humor. I only wish they had given us a look into the lives of some of the people telling the jokes, that would have been interesting viewing indeed. Maybe on the DVD. (Novelty 4)