Celebrating the great Jewish comedians: Groucho and Chico Marx

Marx Brothers

BY JORDAN PALMER

In the 1982 film, “My Favorite Year,” the lead character, Bengie Stone, a Jewish comedy writer who worked on a fictional version of Sid Caesar’s “Your Show of Show’s” is on a date, and trying to explain to his non-Jewish date, that “Jews know three things, suffering, where to find great Chinese food, and funny.”

That line is sort a punchline within a sterotype that so many of the great early comedians through present day are Jewish. Well, I guess we like to laugh and make people laugh. What’s wrong with that?

And that sentiment is alive and well, and celebrated daily on the website Jewish Humor Central. Each day, the masterminds at this website send out a daily email, reminding us all to remember to laugh, at least once a day.

On Thursday’s the site publishes, their Throwback Thursday, which features a funny clip from the past. Check it out here on The Jewish Light every Thursday, or visit their site to sign up for their daily newsletter.

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Today’s Chuckle

Today, we’re going back nearly 90 years, to 1932 and a look at famous  password scene from Horse Feathers, a Marx Brothers comedy starring Groucho, Chico, Harpo, and Zeppo.

Horse Feathers, a wacky comedy about college football and and how eligibility rules are stretched by collegiate athletic departments. The film has many references to Prohibition. Groucho plays a college president and Chico plays an “iceman”, who delivers ice and bootleg liquor from a local speakeasy.

The term “horse feathers” was a colloquial American expression for “nonsense” in the 1920s and 1930s but is now archaic.

In this scene Chico is guarding the speakeasy and Groucho is trying to get in. The password for entry is “Swordfish”. This sequence degenerates into a series of puns.