January 24 is actually Belly Laugh Day. We have a rich history of Jewish comedy in this country. What better way to mark this day than turning to Hon. Max L. Rosenberg, a local attorney who performed stand-up comedy in the Borsht Belt, Catskills and New York City clubs.
I recently suffered from strange and unsettling dreams. An angry, green furry man was trying to stride toward me, but was hip-deep in candles. “What am I going to do with all these fakachte candles?” he muttered. “Who are you?” I said. He looked at me and snarled, “I’m the Grinch who stole Hanukkah!” I said, “2020 has been hard on all of us,” and gave him a pair of socks.
It’s never been easy to be a Jew in society. We are always a minority and often a scapegoat. This is why we developed our unique brand of humor. Take me, for instance. Seriously, take me. You’re doing my wife a favor. But seriously, folks, I’m a glasses-wearing, gefilte fish-eating, dark-haired, dark-eyed lawyer. I might as well be stamped across the forehead. Notwithstanding this fact and the fact that my last name is Rosenberg, I recently found myself sitting in a consultation with a woman who seemed oblivious to my heritage. She said to me, “The Jews are the source of all the problems in our society!” I said, “No, it’s the bicyclists.” She replied, “Why the bicyclists?” And I said, “Why the Jews?!”
So what do we do in this miserable year that has brought us so much pain, shame and embarrassment? Where our 401Ks have magically turned to 201Ks? Where toilet paper is a rarity? Where our children have to distance learn? I just heard my kid recite that old rhyme: 30 days has September, April, June and November; all the rest have 31…except March, which has 8,000 and, in case you lost track, today is March 200th something.
Well, we find a way to laugh. Regarding the toilet paper thing, wouldn’t now be time for everyone to invest in matzoh? That’s what should be flying off the shelves. It lasts forever. It keeps you full. It even slides easily under a door. And it causes such constipation so who needs toilet paper? In any event, do you know what the number one food item that I’ve stocked up on for COVID is? Anxiety. And don’t worry, when this pandemic is all over, you’ll look back on this time and laugh...well maybe not all of you...
In closing, I am reminded of the words of my zaide, “If you can’t say something nice, say it in Yiddish.”
Max L. Rosenberg, a Stratford-based attorney, started his career as an actor in films, educational videos and commercials as well as a stand-up comedian. He is the Probate Judge of Stratford, Connecticut. In addition to many published legal decisions, Rosenberg writes a column for the Stratford Crier.