I believe it was the inimitable Zsa Zsa Gabor that came out with the great phrase “There is only one thing worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about”. Ms Gabor should be glad that she was not mentioned in Schmucks! Jackie Mason and Raoul Felder have created a wonderfully irreverent, and sarcastic look at the people, places, and things that they hate.

Written in a wonderfully humorous Jewish style they explore the schmucks, putzs, schnooks, and schemeils of the world. And according to the authors there are plenty of them around. Being ‘fair minded’ (although I suspect that the average reader might be able to spot their political leanings) they pick on schmucks both living and dead, and from many different backgrounds and beliefs.

This book is what I call perfect bathroom literature, it is very funny, and the stories pertaining to each schmuck tends to be only a couple of pages of reading. This is ideal reading for those idle moments while sat pondering the ways of the world.

It is hard to pick out specific schmucks to spotlight, because Jackie Mason and Raoul Felder do such an admirable job on each of their victims. But some of my favorites definitely include the Clinton family. Bill they claim is such a big liar, proof of this allegation comes in the fact that he had his Arkansas law license suspended over the Paula Jones case. As they put it “In other words, he was too big a liar even to be a lawyer”. Hillary fares little better, the sub-heading for her chapter reads ‘Blowing harder than Monica Lewinsky’, and goes downhill from there.

The entire country of France also receives a scathing entry. French food is summed up as: being big plates, and really small portions, so small that you often have to move the string bean out of the way to find the steak. They do however have some good things to say by way of balance. “About the nicest things we can say about France now is that they gave us Impressionism, the Statue of Liberty, and the freestanding street pissoire where you can take a private leak in public”.

Even inanimate objects have the potential for being schmucks, and top of the list is the ‘Ionic Air Purifier’ sold through ‘The Smarter Image’. This device they explain costs $350 and does not play music, does not connect to the internet, and does not move the air around on a hot day. What possible use could anyone have for such a thing!

While Schmucks! may not become one of the great classics in literature, I think it is well worth the price of admission. You might not agree with all of their picks, but I can guarantee that you will find some that have you rolling on the floor laughing. 

Schmucks! is available on Amazon.

Simon Barrett




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