Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe Marjorie Wolfe
by Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe

82-year-old Pope Francis’s elevator got stuck for nearly a half-hour on Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019, on the way up for his weekly balcony address in St. Peter’s Square.  No, the breakdown didn’t happen on “National Talk in an Elevator Day”—July 26.  The Pope was eventually rescued by the Vatican City firefighters and the problem appeared to be caused by a “drop in voltage.” 

The Vatican didn’t say if the Pope was alone or accompanied by any one of his aides. 

Now IMAGINE if the Pope was accompanied by a second person.  After discussing the importance of prayer for our brothers and sisters who are suffering because of the hurricane in the Bahamas, he decided to have a little fun. Pope Francis once said,  “If one doesn’t have a sense of humor, it’s very difficult to be happy; it’s necessary not to take oneself too seriously.” 

So, he proceeded to share the many Pope jokes told by late-night comedians:

“Cardinals from all over the world are gathering in Rome   to select the next Pope.  You can watch the whole   process on ‘Vatican’s Got Talent.’”  (Conan O’Brien)       

“The former Pope got together today with the new Pope   for a Pope reunion Special.  They referred to each other   as New Pope and Pope Classic.”  (Craig Ferguson)   

The big story now is “Pope Francis visiting the U. S.,  and I saw that yesterday, the Pope’s plane couldn’t land   right away because he arrived earlier than planned.  That’s right, the Pope’s flight was early.  So I guess he   really CAN perform miracles!”  (Jimmy Fallon)   

“The pope addressed about 11,000 people at the   welcoming event.  He spoke about climate change.  He   said it’s a problem that ‘can no longer be left to a future   generation.’  Global warming is a very important issue for   the Pope because as you know, he has to wear a floor-  length, long-sleeved gown to work every day and it’s hot.”  (Jimmy Kimmel)   

“When the Pope’s plane lands in the United States,  President Obama is going to be there to greet him.    President Obama is going to be the guy at arrivals   holding a sign that says ‘POPE.’” (Conan O’Brien)   

“A bakery in New York is already selling cookies with a   picture of the new Pope on them.  Which is perfect for   anyone who was hoping to feel even ore guilty after   eating a bunch of cookies.” (Jimmy Fallon)

Now IMAGINE if the Pope shared his elevator with a Rabbi.  What would their conversation be like? 

Rabbi:  Pope Francis, do you know the story about Morris? Pope:  No….but I’m listening. 

Morris is walking along Seventh Avenue with his friend Abe, and they keep walking along the street and Morris calls,  “Hello, Joe.  Hello, Sam.  Hello, Max.  Hello, Jim. Hello, Bob.  Hello, Garry.  Hello, Frank.” 

And Abe asks,  “Morris, what is this with you?  What? You know all these people?”  He says,  “Of course.  They’re all personal friends of mine. Look, my name is Morris.  I know everybody.” 

Abe says,  “Morris, don’t give me that stuff.  I’m a friend of yours.  What do you tell me you know everybody?  Maybe you know the Mayor?”

He says,  “Bob?  Bob is my best friend.  I had lunch with him the other day.”  [FYI:  Robert F. Wagner was Mayor of NY from 1954-65.] 

Abe says,  “I don’t believe you.”  “Come into the phone booth.  I’ll call him up and invite him to say hello to you.”  So he gets on the phone.  “I’d like to speak to Bob Wagner.”  “Who’s calling?”  “Morris.”  “Hello, Morris!  How are you?  What can I do for you?”  “I’ve got a friend of mine here.  He doesn’t believe I know you.  Will you say hello to him?”  He says hello. 

“Gee, Morris, that’s amazing!  Do you mean to tell me—I can’t believe you know everybody.  Maybe you know the-the-the Governor?”

He says “The Governor?  Ave?  My bosom buddy!  My wife and his wife went to the beauty parlor together the other day.  Fact is, we’ve got dinner with them Friday night.” 

Abe says,  “Don’t give me that stuff!” 
“I’ll call him over the phone.”  He gets Albany on the phone and says,  “I want to say hello to a friend of mine.”  Sure enough, Averell Harriman! 

Abe says,  “Maybe you’re such a knacker—maybe you know the President?” 

“Do I know the President?  Ike?  Ike’s my bosom buddy. We’re talking to each other four times a week.” 

Abe says,  “Don’t give me that stuff!” 

“So I’ll call him up.” 

“So he calls him up and sure enough Morris knows Ike and he knows Morris.  Ike says hello to Abe. 

Abe says,  “Look, Morris, don’t give me that baloney you know everybody in the world.  I know somebody you don’t know.” 

“Please, this is Morris you’re talking to.  I know everybody.” 

So Abe says,  “I’ll tell you what.  I’ll make you a bet that you don’t know the Pope.” 

So he says,  “Look, my name’s Morris.  I know the Pope— guaranteed.  I’ll tell you what we’ll do.  We’ll take a trip to Rome.  If I don’t know the Pope, I’ll pay.  If I know him, you’ll pay for the trip.” 

“Fair enough.” 

So they go to Rome and sure enough they watch.  The Pope comes out of the balcony every day at twelve o’clock, and he waves to the crowd in the piazza. 

So Morris says,  “You see, jerk.  Tomorrow at twelve o’clock the Pope’s going to come out there and I’m going to come out with him on the balcony, just to show you that I know him.” 

So Abe says,  “Sure, sure.” 

So the next day comes around.  Abe is waiting in the piazza and suddenly twelve o’clock rolls around and out comes the Pope.  Morris got his arm around him and the Pope’s got his arm around Morris. 

So Abe’s looking up and he dumfounded.  All of a sudden a little Italian kid comes by and he pulls him by the leg and says,  “Hey, mister, who’s the guy up there with Morris?”

(Source:  “Wit’s End, What Wit Is, How It Works, and   Why We Need It” by James Geary)

MARJORIE GOTTLIEB WOLFE is the author of two books on Yiddish:  “Yiddish for Dog & Cat Lovers” and “Are Yentas, Kibitzers, & Tümmlers Weapons of Mass Instruction?  Yiddish Trivia.”

Marjorie Wolfe
  Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe