Are there limits to humor?


Scandals involving rabbis or celebrities, a massively destructive Web hack, Ebola, Middle East unrest, growing anti-Semitism in Europe, even ISIS — when it comes to brainstorming for Purim content, today’s Jews see every strange or terrifying story as comedic potential. In preparing the shpiel — a collection of songs, sketches and fake headlines, presented as parody in the spirit of Purim — even the inexperienced would-be comedian takes generous license in those very unfunny things and proposes them as comedy, discussing by committee and provoking critiques like “questionable taste,” “dirty laundry ” and is this really “good for the Jews?” Regardless of the answers, Purim is traditionally the annual excuse to turn serious things upside down, to use comedy to understand and perhaps attempt to control the things that most disturb and frighten us. 

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