Straight from Second Avenue
April 8, 2015 8:50 AM   Subscribe

"Fischel Kanapoff’s salty 1924 couplet song Hu-tsa-tsa is a quintessential vaudeville vehicle in which the sets of couplets — always subject to alteration, variation, addition, or substitution, even on the spot, as well as to augmentation by dance and other stage shtik — frame spoken jokes or comic monologues to a muted, vamped orchestral accompaniment."
posted by griphus (5 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Man, I love this stuff:
At the cemetery I see a Jew lying prostrate on a grave.
He’s beating his chest, pounding and sobbing; he’s
crying hysterically: “Oy, oy, why did you die, why? Why
did you die?” I go up to him and ask, “Mister, who
died?” He answers me: “My wife’s first husband.
Oy, why did you die, why?”
Thanks for the post!
posted by languagehat at 9:03 AM on April 8, 2015 [6 favorites]

This was wonderful, Bruce Adler (first link) really had both the schtick and the charisma to pull it off. Totally worth watching, thanks!
posted by blahblahblah at 10:36 AM on April 8, 2015

Two men are in a shvitz, back in the '50s. One says to the other, "I'm thinking about changing my name."

"You're changing your name?"

"Yes, I'm going to change my name from Greenberg to Green, so it sounds less Jewish."

"Don't you think you should change your first name, too?"

posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:44 PM on April 8, 2015

The melody of this song was widespread in Romania and the Western Ukraine among Yiddish speakers as the vehicle for all kinds of topical songs - sort of the melodic version of CNN in pre-media days. Michael Alpert from the Klezmer Band Brave Old World used the tune for his contemporary Yiddish ballad about the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, but later decided to change to a more mournful doina form for his lyrics (starts at 26:00 in.) And it still gets a lot of party spirit among Budapest Jews and Ruthenian Gypsies even today...
posted by zaelic at 5:08 AM on April 10, 2015 [3 favorites]

This is the best.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:14 AM on April 11, 2015

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