These days, comedy is tricky. On the one hand, people need to laugh — boy, do we ever need to laugh!
On the other hand, are we allowed to? Covid, race riots, unemployment through the roof…should we be making jokes when so many are suffering?
As a comedian, I believe there’s always room for laughter, so long as we don’t ignore the hardship around us. I’m pretty sure Judaism would back me up. “Mitzvah gedollah lihiyot b’simcha” (“It’s a big mitzvah to be joyous!”) the well-known chasidic saying goes. And in one of my favorite stories, Elijah the Prophet declares, “Those who bring laughter to the world are guaranteed a place in the world to come.” Over and over our tradition gives us permission — even commands us — to laugh.
In “Corona Confession,” I poke loving fun at the absurdity of our current situation, against the backdrop of a familiar Yom Kippur ritual.
I hope it brings you some joy during this most unusual High Holiday season. And in this year of online shofar blasts and digital prayer, may we all be inscribed in the eBook of Life!
Joel Chasnoff is a stand-up comedian and author of the memoir “The 188th Crybaby Brigade,” about his experience as a combat soldier in the IDF. Visit him at www.joelchasnoff.com.