Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe Marjorie Wolfe
Welcome
by Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
YIDDISH GUIDE TO THE HUMOR OF BOB HOPE 1903 - 2003

Bob Hope, who was not Jewish, did influence many Jewish comedians. “Der komiker” (the comedian) traveled further and bob hopeentertained more people than anyone. He could sing a little, dance a lot, and tell jokes. Countless U. S. troops saw him as the guy who came to visit when they were far from “heym” (home). For almost six decades he traveled the globe and entertained U. S. troops. He lived a “hundert” (100) years and was the master of the one-liner. He said, “If I had my life to live over, I wouldn’t have time.”

Shown below is a Yiddish guide to the humor of Bob Hope.

“aktsent” (accent)
“Everybody was a true American for the Olympics. During those two weeks, Henry Kissinger spoke without an accent.”

“ambulans” (ambulance) “Jimmy Stewart would have been a pretty good golfer, but he speaks so slowly that by the time he yells ‘Fore!’ the guy he hit is already in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.”

“beheymes” (cattle)
“Lyndon and Lady Bird will be returning to Texas but nothing will change much. Having herds of cattle is a lot like politics—you have to watch your step.”

“beybi” (baby)
““The campaigns go on so long now…the babies they kissed when it started, are now old enough to vote.”

“broyt” (bread)
“I don’t know if Jesse Jackson is trying to appeal to the broader audience, but I just saw him doing a commercial for Wonder Bread.”

“bibliotek” (library)
[re: Hope’s book, “Have Tux, Will Travel”] Jack Benny really liked my book. I know because he called me up from the library and told me.”

“estsimer” (dining room)
“When Nancy [Reagan] was asked her opinion of Red China, she answered, ‘It’s terrible. It will clash with the drapes in the White House dining room.’”

“eyferzikhtik” (jealous)
“Do I sound like I’m jealous of Elvis?... I am—his teddy bear gets more fan mail than I do.”

“farbesern” (to improve)
“I asked my good friend, Arnold Palmer, how I could improve my game. He advised me to cheat!”

“gal” (gall bladder)
“I’m happy to report that the president [LBJ] is recovering nicely from his gall bladder surgery. Now we all know why he was so anxious for Medicare.”

“gey vays” (go know)
(How could anybody be expected to know that?) “I thought Deep Throat was a movie about a giraffe.”

“golf” (golf)
“We’re on the way to the Persian Gulf. It’s a mistake! I thought they said Persian Golf.”

“The last time I played golf with President Ford he hit a birdie—and an eagle, a moose, an elk, an aardvark…”

“harbst” (fall/autumn)
“And what an exciting fall we’ve been having on TV, right? It had mystery, intrigue, suspense, lying, cheating, extra- marital sex…but enough about the presidential race.” (1987)

“held” (hero)
[about astronaut, Neil Armstrong] “Neil is my idea of a real hero. He had a choice and he came back to this world.”

“helfand” (elephant)
“Now that Clinton has made an elephant disappear, maybe he can do the same thing with the deficit.”

“kheyrem” (ballot)
“I always get confused voting in California. There are more propositions on the ballot than on the Sunset Strip.”

“komiker” (comedian)
[about visiting Russia] “I hope you’ll be cooperative tonight. On my passport I wrote ‘comedian’ and I hate to have the Russians think I lied.”

“koyshbol” (basketball)
“kurts” (short)
“They say [Ferdinand] Marcos has eight billion dollars. That’s not bad for a guy who’s too short to play basketball.”

“kredit kartl” (credit card)
“Here we are in beautiful tropical Tahiti. Tahiti is an ancient Polynesian word meaning, Forget the suntan lotion. Did you bring the American Express card?”

“kritikirn” (to criticize)
“If you criticize Gorbachev too much, you’re kaputski Kaputski…it’s an Old Russian word meaning, ‘Siberia is lovely this time of year.’”

“man” (husband)
Harry [Truman] had won by such a narrow margin he might not have made it if Bess hadn’t voted for her husband.”

“mehume” (riot)
“Colleges sure have changed. Today, the three ‘R’s’ are reading, ‘riting, and rioting.” (Note: In Marjorie Wolfe’s day, the three ‘R’s were called (the) Royal [typewriter] Road to Romance.)

“milkhome” (war)
“I just don’t get the Arabs in the Middle East. Who’d think men who could have as many wives as they want would have the energy to go to war, huh?”

“naket” (naked)
“Here in Las Vegas, if you see a guy running naked through the lobby, he’s either a streaker, a loser, or his wife arrived a day early.”

“lid” (song)
Bob Hope’s theme song was “Thanks For Memories.” It was written by the Jewish song-writing team of Leo Robin and Robert Rainger.

“roykh” (to smoke)
“A lot of them [hippies] smoke those Tijuana Marlboros. Three drags and you’re up in Dean Martin country.”

“shif”(ship)
“This is quite a ship—round-the-clock partying, booze flowing like water, girls hanging from the chandeliers—but enough about the Captain’s quarters.”

“shlof” (sleep)
“And I didn’t get much sleep on the plane over there [to Beautiful Beirut]. I was traveling with Brooke Shields, Cathy Lee Crosby, Ann Jillian, Miss USA. Sleep? ‘Hell, I didn’t even get to blink. No, with treats like that, you don’t want to miss anything.’”

“shpas” (joke)
“Y’know, every comedian has his own particular way of telling a joke. I tell ‘em fast…Ed Wynn tells ‘em slow…Berle tells ‘em a week late.”

“skhires” (salary)
“Only in America would people spend millions of dollars for a job that pays two hundred thousand dollar a year (that’s what the president makes). Dave Winfield plays outfield for the Yankees and he gets a million and a half a year…and he doesn’t have to jump over Tim O’Neill to get to first base.”

FYI: According to Wikipedia, President Obama earns a $400,000 annual salary, along with a $50,000 expense account.

“taykh” (river)
“[Dan] Quayle thinks Roe vs. Wade are two ways to cross the Potomac.”

“tfile” (prayer)
“Mondale knew this was gonna be a bad day when he called Dial-A-Prayer and the taped message answered him by name.”

“tshudne” (weird)
“I went to see ‘Star Wars’ and couldn’t believe all the weird creatures with purple hair; green, slimy skin; and pods for eyes. And that was just waiting in line to get in.”

“tsore” (trouble)
“Gary Hart said, ‘I have no money and no staff, but I do have ideas.’ Getting ideas was what got him in trouble in the first place.”

“tsukunft” (future)
“Bill Clinton said that elections are never about the past, they’re about the future.”

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Marjorie Wolfe wonders if Bob Hope were alive what he would have to say about the Tea Party, people who call Mitt Romney Gordon Gekko, the Penn State sex-abuse “skandal,” Anthony Weiner, Lady Gaga, and Larry King, who hung up his nightly “shleykes” (suspenders).

Marjorie Wolfe
  Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe