Tropedia

  • Before making a single edit, Tropedia EXPECTS our site policy and manual of style to be followed. Failure to do so may result in deletion of contributions and blocks of users who refuse to learn to do so. Our policies can be reviewed here.
  • All images MUST now have proper attribution, those who neglect to assign at least the "fair use" licensing to an image may have it deleted. All new pages should use the preloadable templates feature on the edit page to add the appropriate basic page markup. Pages that don't do this will be subject to deletion, with or without explanation.
  • All new trope pages will be made with the "Trope Workshop" found on the "Troper Tools" menu and worked on until they have at least three examples. The Trope workshop specific templates can then be removed and it will be regarded as a regular trope page after being moved to the Main namespace. THIS SHOULD BE WORKING NOW, REPORT ANY ISSUES TO Janna2000, SelfCloak or RRabbit42. DON'T MAKE PAGES MANUALLY UNLESS A TEMPLATE IS BROKEN, AND REPORT IT THAT IS THE CASE. PAGES WILL BE DELETED OTHERWISE IF THEY ARE MISSING BASIC MARKUP.

READ MORE

Tropedia
Advertisement
A Treatise of Schemes and Tropes.png This a Useful Notes page. A Treatise of Schemes and Tropes.png
File:Borschtbelt 9256.jpg

Vadda you know from funny?

"Borscht Belt" is a style of Jewish comedy. The actual Borscht Belt is a region in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York that was a popular resort destination from 1920s to the 1960s for Jews who were excluded from other resorts. Due to the heavily Ashkenazi ancestry of New York Jews, the area was nicknamed for borscht, a type of beet soup popular in Central and Eastern Europe.

The Jewish comedians who performed at these resorts developed a style of humor that became very popular in the entertainment industry. Borscht Belt humor is characterized by stereotypical Jewish traits such as Self-Deprecation, insults, complaints, hypochondria, wordplay and liberal use of Yiddish.

Comedians who have worked in the Borscht Belt or have used the style of comedy include:


Works featuring Borscht Belt comedy or characters include

Film

  • Coming to America features Eddie Murphy performing as an old New York Jew who tells a classic Borscht Belt joke: An old Jew asks a waiter to taste his soup, refusing to elaborate further. The waiter finally agrees to taste it and asks where the spoon is. The Jew smiles and says, "Ah ha!"
  • In Goodfellas, Henry and Karen watch Henny Youngman after their famous steady-cam walk into the theater. He tells the classic joke, "I take my wife everywhere, but she finds her way home!" Youngman's trouble with his lines was the biggest obstacle to getting the shot.
  • Any role played by Mel Brooks in his own movies is most likely an example. Most notable though is the Rabbi in Robin Hood: Men in Tights.
  • In The Princess Bride, Miracle Max and his wife are borscht belt-style characters, with their shrill bickering, haggling over money, complaining, and Yiddish accents.
  • Dirty Dancing is set in the Borscht Belt during the 1960s, and over the course of the film we get brief glimpses of Borscht Belt comedy in its native habitat.

Live Action Television

  • Alan interviewed a Borscht Belt-style comedian in the Las Vegas episode of Knowing Me, Knowing You... with Alan Partridge. This being Alan, he failed to get most of the comedian's humor and then told an offensive Jewish joke.
  • Buddy on The Dick Van Dyke Show is a former Borscht Belt comedian turned comedy scriptwriter.

Video Games

  • Fallout: New Vegas features Borscht Belt style comedian Billy Knight, complete with an inexplicable New York accent.

Western Animation

  • Dr. Zoidberg in Futurama is a thinly-veiled Space Jew of a Borscht Belt-style mooch.
  • Boris and Minka, Tommy's maternal grandparents in Rugrats

"Ah ha!"

Advertisement