This is a smart little book of 93 Yiddish words and expressions that are defined, illuminated, and used-in-a-sentence by comic and philosopher Mason. In his Introduction, a thoughtful essay on Yiddish, he asserts that although he born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin in 1934, he grew up in a one hundred percent Yiddish-speaking world ("I didn't know that anybody in this country spoke English until I was old enough to go to the movies.") His family moved back to New York before he was five.
This little book contains a wealth of Masonisms. Jackie Mason used to have run-ins with censors and others. He reserves the right to be both self-deprecating and insulting. Jews, gentiles, politics, marriage, family, ethnicity, money, power, and God himself - all are up for grabs. There are a lot of funny stories. In addition, he has an understanding of the Yiddish language that he is happy to share. (Harry Truman was haimish - accessible, natural - FDR was not. Colorful explanation is provided.) He offers a theory of chicken soup that links it -successfully - to most of the world's cuisines. He is never dull. Mason: "It seems that in English that you have to prove that you're not emotional in order to have class." He posits his sociolinguistic theory (which you've heard if you've seen or heard his stage show) that the more emotional the speech - content and structure - the more "low class" the speaker. He defends emotionality. He loves Yiddish, and in fact the language (black English, specifically) of any people engaged in a battle of wits to survive.
A funny and endearing book.