As they become like everybody else, they also become funny, because being funny—having a sense of humor—is one of the definitions of being a member of the club.
Click play to listen. Recorded on November 7, 2009.
Ego, repression, innuendo, a Freudian slip—what’s not funny about Sigmund Freud? In fact, Freud proposed one of the original theories of laughter back in 1905, arguing that humor is “best fulfilled precisely by Jewish jokes.” But when and why did the Jews become “funny,” and how did Freud’s own conflicted Jewish identity inform his development of psychoanalysis? Sander Gilman, a scholar of Jewish cultural and literary history and professor of the humanities at Emory University, explores Freud’s unique and influential understanding of the role of laughter in the human psyche.
Above: Photograph of Sigmund Freud, courtesy of the Library of Congress