Folk Joke- Cheap Jew
What is alive and can travel faster than the speed of light?
A Jew with a coupon
I collected this joke from my little cousin Alex from Manhattan Beach. He first learned it at a Jewish summer camp in New York. He said people were not going around asking for Jewish jokes, but instead it came up casually when they were bored at night. I asked him to tell me what he thought of the joke and how it made him feel when it was told amongst a group of other Jews. He said, I found the joke pretty funny when I heard it. Telling it to fellow Jews makes you feel like part of the group.
When analyzing jokes, especially Jewish ones, it makes sense for me to tackle the easiest fact first. When a Jew amongst a group of Jews performs Jewish jokes, it allows the group to identify the stereotype that society has labeled us with and laugh about it. Jewish jokes are exclusively related to cheapness and the size of our noses, so when we can find humor in such things, it brings us together as a group and reveals a strong sense of identity.
The other aspect of this story is when the joke was told and in what environment. The joke was performed late at night when the mood was low and people were bored. Humor, especially among teenage boys, is a popular tool to use when nothing exciting is occupying their time. The other key point to pay attention to is that it was told in a bunk full of kids. My cousin did not simply here this from a friend in private, but it was something that was performed in front of a group to manufacture a better response.
The last thing to note is that jokes making fun of certain races of ethnicities are only acceptable when told either by the right person or in the right context. In this case, this Jewish joke was acceptable because they were at a Jewish camp and nobody would be offended. This can be a problem though when said in the wrong environment. For example, my sister went to a drive-thru with a bunch of friends one day. The driver was the only person she did not know and the lady at the drive-thru window supposedly gave less change than she was supposed to. When the driver found out what happened, he said, the lady Jewed him out of his money. My sister found this very offensive because the wrong person in the wrong environment said it.