Since my wife is an Atheist, I'm constantly trying to explain and show examples of Jewish humor. Let's face it, most people hear the term "Jewish humor" all the time, yet they don't exactly know what it means or why it's funny. This week, I originally intended to show you a bunch of Chanukah-themed short films because, well, the holiday still exists and it would be a nice way to balance out all the Christmas schlock Cinematical will be shoving down your throats throughout the next two weeks. However, there aren't many shorts about Chanukah currently online and available to watch -- at least, I couldn't find many. So, I decided to switch things up, and collect an assortment of short films filled with Jewish humor.
But this doesn't mean I'm forgetting about Chanukah. If you happen to stumble upon a great Chanukah-themed short film online, please send it my way as I'd love to host another edition of Eat My Shorts that covers this topic. As always, you can send all tips, links and suggestions to shorts AT cinematical DOT com. Oy vey, I feel as if I just unloaded on my therapist -- let's go watch some shorts ...
- Stalker Guilt Syndrome -- One personality trait that Jews are born with (as seen in almost every Woody Allen film) is the fact that we're neurotic -- constantly worried about what we're doing and wearing, that other people are looking at us, judging us and somehow reading our thoughts as if they were printed on a script stapled to our foreheads. Directed by Jonah Kaplan, Stalker Guilt Syndrome follows a seemingly normal guy who winds up following a girl after the two of them get off a train. It's not like he's trying to follow her (at first), he really does need to meet up with his girlfriend. However, as the two of them continue to walk in the same direction, he becomes worried that she thinks he's stalking her, and so he follows her with the intentions of telling her he's not stalking her, only the words never slip out of his mouth ... until it's too late. The entire time, a neurotic voice inside his head guides him through this journey and, quite frankly, it's one of the funniest short films I've watched in a long time. Very Woody Allen-esque, and definitely worth checking out.
- HOra HOra HOra -- This is a cute little animated film that claims Santa is Jewish and called Schmanta Claus. According to them, Jesus is black, Rudolph is green and Schmanta was born in Bethlehem. Oh, and he drank schnapps with the three wise men and gave the baby Jesus a dreidel. Yes, I'm totally serious. Kat Caverly directs, and it's a sweet short that could have been funnier -- but it blows by so fast, you need to watch it a few times to pick up on all the jokes.
- NYPD Jew -- Before it begins, there's a banner that warns you: "This Police Drama Contains Material That May Not Be Understood By Gentiles. Viewer Donations Are Strongly Advised." And from there, we're bombarded with Jewish humor. The title says it all -- imagine an episode of NYPD Blue, but everyone and everything is Jewish. The detectives are called to an apartment where a family is celebrating Passover -- the kids feel they're being forced to find the hidden Matzah and the cops are called to settle the whole thing. Oh, and there's a guy who's trying to scalp tickets to a service at the local Synagogue. It's funny, well shot and hey, the lead actor looks just like Rick Schroder. Beat that!
- Sopranowitzes -- Keeping with the whole spoof theme, here's one that shows you what The Sopranos would look like if, ya know, there were a bunch of Jews running the show. Instead of Tony, we have Sammy -- and he's got a lot on his plate. While trying to plan his son's Bar Mitzvah, he learns that his son's rabbi owes him a lot of money. What does he do? Does he whack the rabbi or go ahead with the Bar Mitzvah? Of course, that's why he's in therapy, right?
- How the Jew Stole Christmas -- Hey, check it out -- a silent film. Silent Masterpiece Theater (of course, there is no such thing) presents How the Jew Stole Christmas. While the footage was obviously doctored up to make it look very old (and because of this, it might be hard to figure out what's going on), the subtitles do help out a bit. Basically, a Jew is celebrating the last night of Chanukah, only he's run out of candles to light. And so he grabs a bunch of candles with Jesus' face on them and lights those instead. When Jesus himself shows up confused, the two wind up hitting it off and --whaddya know -- Jesus actually likes being a Jew. It runs a bit too long, but give credit to the filmmakers for trying something different.
Once again, send me whatever you got and I'll try to fit it in somewhere -- all tips, links and suggestions should be forwarded to shorts AT cinematical DOT com.