Thursday, January 28, 2010

Adolphus Simeon Solomons: Helped Organize Tbe Red Cross

By Seymour "Sy" Brody

Adolphus Simeon Solomons was a moving force in helping to establish the American Red Cross. He held many meetings in his District of Columbia home to plan and prepare for the day when the United States would join the International Red Cross. It was at his home that a proposal was approved to form the Association of the American Red Cross and incorporate it in Washington, D.C.

In 1882, the United States finally ratified the Red Cross treaty. President Chester A. Arthur appointed Solomons as one of three delegates to represent the country at the Geneva Congress, where he was elected vice-president. During the Spanish-American War, he was still a member of the executive board of the American Red Cross, which rendered important service to our troops in combat.

Solomons, a publisher, was held in such high esteem in Washington, D.C., that when Vice President Schuyler Colfax couldn't appear at the dedication of the Young Men's Christian Association building in the capital, he was asked to substitute for him.

Solomons was active in Jewish life and was very outspoken. In 1862, General Grant issued an order expelling "Jews as a class" from his lines on the grounds that their mercantile activity interrupted the movement of his troops, but Solomons got General Henry W. Halleck to rescind it. In 1873, President Grant offered Solomons the governorship of Washington D.C. While feeling honored, Solomons had to decline because he was a Sabbath observer and it would interfere with his duties of the office.

Solomons was bom in New York City in 1826. At the age of 14 he enlisted in the New York State Militia and served for seven years. On June 25, 185 1, he married Raachel Seixas Phillips, a descendant of colonial patriot families. They had eight daughters and a son.

Solomons moved his printing business to Washington, where he did government printing. He added to his plant a book department, which became the literary headquarters of General Grant, Supreme Court Justice Salmon Portland Chase and other dignitaries. He then added a photographic gallery in which many prominent people of the day were featured, including the last photograph of Abraham Lincoln.

Solomons was very active in helping people. He organized the first training school for nurses in Washington and the Washington Night Lodging-House Association, which supplied homeless men with lodging. He was an officer of the Provident Aid Society, the Emergency Hospital of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and many other worthwhile causes.

In New York, he helped to organize Mount Sinai Hospital and the Montefiore Home for Chronic Invalids. He was a founder of the Jewish Protectory and Aid Society, and of the Russian Jews Immigration Aid Society.

Adolphus Simeon Solomons died in 1910, leaving behind a legacy of charity, helping the sick and needy, and working with and organizing Jewish organizations that helped people. His greatest feat was his contribution in helping to create the American Red Cross.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Interview: Eitan & Omri Casspi

By Jeremy Moses | January 6th, 2010

When the Sacramento Kings drafted Omri Casspi from Israel back in June, I was pretty excited. Being a die-hard Kings fan, having an Israeli on my team was just an added bonus. Now, whenever someone tells me they don’t like the Kings, I tell them they are anti-Israel. And I stand by that.

If the Kings had just drafted an Israeli, dayenu, it would have been enough. But Casspi has proven to be a pretty darn good basketball player. Just check his stats. And those stats don’t even mention that he has scored 21+ points in his past four games, including a 24 point/7 rebound/0 turnover contribution last night against the Suns. Needless to say, life is sweet for all Jewish Sacramento Kings fans.

To help adjust to life in California, Omri brought along his older brother, Eitan, to live with him while he tears up the NBA. Now, with the season in full swing, I caught up with Eitan and Omri to find out how they’ve been doing.
eitan & omri casspi

Jeremy Moses: How do you think being an Israeli has prepared you for the NBA?

Omri Casspi: You know, it’s who I am. I can’t compare myself with Jews who grew up here or even other Israelis. I only know myself. I play hard and tough for my team to win. That’s all I care about. Winning and helping my teammates win. Just play hard, play strong defense. That’s what we do. That’s what I do.

When you were initially drafted, did you know anything about the Sacramento Jewish community?

Omri: I didn’t know much about the community. I had only come here once to work out before the draft. As I said though, I didn’t know a lot. I knew it was a smaller Jewish community. But I can only say good things. They’ve been warm and worked with me since day one.

Did you know anything about Sacramento as a city?

Eitan Casspi: No. Not at all. But Sacramento has been great. Great city. Great restaurants. Good clubs. Good people.

How much has the Jewish community in Sacramento embraced you?

Eitan: The Jewish community has helped a lot. People call us every day to make sure we’re doing okay. When we first got here, we arranged our house with the Jewish community. We arranged our car with the Jewish community. They really are like family. We’re so happy that the Sacramento Jewish community is here.

Omri: It’s really been great. No, it’s been amazing. They’ve been helping me since the day I got here. They’ve made me feel like I am family. I really feel blessed to be in this position.

Last week, you said in your halftime interview during the Cleveland Cavaliers game that Shaq spoke to you in Hebrew. What exactly did he say?

Omri: He wished me luck and spoke a couple words of Hebrew he knew. He said “Shalom,” “Shalom Aleichem.” Basic stuff like that. It was really nice of him.

Has he been the only player to do something like that?

Omri: Yeah, he’s been the only one so far.

In that same game, you also defended Anthony Parker, who, just like you, wears #18 in honor of the time he spent playing in Israel. Did you talk about your number at all with him?

Omri: We didn’t talk about it but I know he knows why it’s special. Anthony was a great leader and player when he was in Israel. He was one my idols growing up. It was an amazing experience competing against him on the floor.

Has it been hard not living in Israel?

Eitan: It’s not too hard. Our parents come back and forth all the time. My fiancĂ© is here often. My friends are always coming to visit. We really haven’t felt alone at all.

Do you think Omri has appreciated you around?

Eitan: Of course. For sure. We’re best friends. We talk about everything. As I said, our parents also have visited. And we have tons of friends here. It’s been good for Omri to have people around.

Have your teammates asked you much about Israel?

Omri: They’ve asked a lot about the Israeli people. They were curious about the wars we’ve had in the past. They want to come and visit.

I know you are from a fairly secular family in Israel. Has it been weird to have the religious community in Sacramento take you in?

Eitan: No, it’s been nice. We celebrated the holidays here with the Jewish community. It’s different but it’s still good.

Being the first Israeli in the NBA, you’ve gotten a lot more press, including a feature in Sports Illustrated, than the average rookie. Do you think you’ve been handling it well?

Omri: Yeah. We’re already playing two and a half months now, 30 or so games into the season. My number one concern is preparing myself to be ready for the game. I’m just happy that there is a lot of support and attention from a lot of people.

Finally, one-on-one, who would win in the battle for best Jewish ball player in the NBA. You or Jordan Farmar?

Omri: Ha. I don’t know. I guess we will just have to wait and see.

Jews in the California Gold Rush

Jewish adventurers were crucial in establishing American civilization on the West Coast.
By Jonathan Ellowitz

The call rang around the world: Gold in California! Of the 300,000 fortune-seekers who flocked to America's West Coast, at least 4,000 were Jews. The majority hailed from Prussia and other German-speaking lands, though others came from France, Spain, England, Poland, and America's East Coast. These Jews proved crucial to the establishment of American civilization in the Far West.
Levi Strauss and the Capitalists

Unlike other forty-niners (a reference to 1849, the year the Gold Rush peaked), most Jews in the Gold Rush avoided the down-and-dirty work of mining. They typically were single men who wanted to take their chances with the alleged riches California promised, but they also wanted economic stability and the possibility of family growth in the future. Miners moved from town to town chasing gold discoveries; their intransient work was hardly family-friendly.
levi strauss
So the Jews who went west, many of whom were already trained in business, became prodigious commercialists. They seized the opportunity to establish reliable lines of supply to meet miners' demands for boots, clothing, hats, and equipment. Some Jews worked as prospectors or engineers in mines, but most started supply businesses.

Levi Strauss was the most famous German Jewish entrepreneur to exploit Gold Rush fever. Born in Bavaria in 1829, Strauss immigrated to New York City in 1847 to help run his two older brothers' dry goods business there. In 1853, he journeyed to California via the notorious Panama route. He sailed to the Isthmus of Panama (decades before its canal was opened), disembarked, and journeyed via mule and canoe through 60 miles of malarial swampland. At Panama's Pacific coast, he boarded a ship for San Francisco--the city that had become the hub of the Gold Rush.

Strauss opened up a dry goods shop in San Francisco as a West Coast branch of his family's New York business. He traveled California selling clothing to miners. Strauss later recognized a need for strong pants that could withstand the abuse of miners' work. In 1872, he and his partner Jacob Davis patented Levi's denim pants--a revolutionary and unprecedented garment. Although by that time the Gold Rush had ended, there remained a strong market for miners' equipment.

As Jews like Strauss gained prominence in California's commercial community, they started to exercise their influence. Jews put together chambers of commerce, worked to broaden local public education, advocated for publicly funded railroads, and pushed the government for federal subsidies to advance their towns' civic plans. Though they were a small minority in California's population, Jews contributed significantly to the civic growth that led California to become an official American state in 1850.

One of the most civically-minded Jews to come to California in the Gold Rush was Adolph Heinrich Joseph Sutro, who was born in German Belgium in 1830. He immigrated to California in 1850, and became famous for building an innovative mining tunnel that provided better ventilation and drainage for miners. He was also a real estate investor who once owned a twelfth of San Francisco's acreage. These achievements contributed to his election as San Francisco's mayor in 1894.
Jewish Life

Most of the Jews who moved to California in the Gold Rush were single, young, entrepreneurial men, and they cherished the company of other Jews. As they set up dry goods supply businesses, they also founded Jewish fraternal clubs in far-flung mining towns and in San Francisco. Usually a few years after they settled in California, their siblings and parents overseas joined them in immigrating to the American West Coast.

The new California Jews built a substantive society that looked after its own, religiously and socially. They started kosher bakeries and founded boarding houses that served kosher meals. They also established synagogues, religious schools, relief organizations like the Hebrew Benevolent Society, and newspapers.
jewish gold rush
In 1856 Rabbi Julius Eckmann of Temple Emanu-El, San Francisco's first synagogue, published a letter in Allgemeine Zeitung des Judentums, a Jewish weekly in Germany. "[T]he lure of gold," he wrote, "which brought people from all lands in 1849, also brought with it a number of Abraham's progeny, who have in the meantime expanded their population to such an extent that there is no town in California where not a few of our brothers are settled…[T]he number of them in San Francisco alone is probably around seven thousand."

Despite communal cohesion and growing numbers, the Jewish transplants were not adamant about religious observance. Rabbi Eckmann chided that "[a] massive indifference rules almost everywhere here. Usually, the first step toward religious life begins with death." Of course, Rabbi Eckmann spoke sardonically, but his concern was based in reality.

Indeed, the Gold Rush Jews were well integrated--some might say assimilated--among their non-Jewish neighbors. However, they did experience a few anti-Semitic incidents. In 1854, Santa Cruz County Congressman William Stow alleged that Jews would "leave the country as soon as they have money," and suggested a "Jew-tax" as punishment.

The Jews fought back. They published a rebuttal in a newspaper, lambasting Stow's "religious persecution," and lamenting that "a Jew-tax, such as in the dark ages, was suggested in the halls of the law-makers of California." Though Stow's Jew-tax idea did not receive serious attention, his prejudice nonetheless disturbed California's Jews.

California's first Jews displayed remarkable resilience. The boom following 1849 didn't allow for proper streets to be surveyed or buildings built of masonry. Fires frequently swept through the extemporaneous settlements, swallowing up businesses housed in wooden shanties. But, like their neighboring non-Jewish businessmen, the Gold Rush Jews persisted; they rebuilt their stores, restocked, and tried again.

Though the majority of California's Jews no longer trace their lineage to the Jews who came in the Gold Rush, it was this group of adventurers who first established a strong Jewish community in the American West. The Gold Rush came and went. But the Jewish community stayed.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

What Chinese discovered about Tephilim

Who of us doesn't know about Chinese Acupuncture?
The Chinese discovered the medical treatment using needles to heal when they are inserted at certain points in the body.
The Chinese have mapped out and named all the points of the body du 24 - du 70 - du 23, and so on.
And the Chinese Journal of Medicine - to which everyone important in the field of Acupuncture subscribes - published an amazing article, absolutely astonishing.
The main article in volume number 70 of the Journal deals solely with the Tefillin of the Jewish People.
The article conclusively establishes that the contact and pressure points covered by the hand and head Tefillin are exactly those points at which the Acupuncture needles are inserted in order "to increase spirituality and to purify thoughts."
The non-Jewish author of the article puts it that the points covered by the Tefillin are those where the Acupuncture needles are inserted.
Reverse the statement to read:
The Acupuncture needles are inserted in those points, which are exactly where a Jew puts on Tefillin.
The article details all of the Acupuncture points which are the same as the points-of-contact of the head Tefillin - front and back - as well as the points-of-contact of the hand Tefillin on the arm and hand.
In the opinion of the expert who wrote the article, these are the only Acupuncture points that will achieve this result [to increase spirituality and to purify thoughts] which, in addition to following the Torah's command to place the Tefillin on the arm (hand) and head as a sign that HASHEM brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand, is likely the reason that Jews put on Tefillin.

Friday, January 1, 2010

David Krakauer - Klezmer Madness


The Three Stooges

Three Jewish boys create a cycle of timeless stupidity.
By Saul Austerlitz

Finding endless amusement in the brutal simplicity of no-frills slapstick, the Three Stooges are, depending on who you ask, the premier practitioners of physical comedy of their era, or the epitome of brain-dead foolishness. Whichever side of the argument you fall on, there can be little doubt that their consistency is nothing less than astonishing. The Three Stooges--Moe (Moses Horowitz), Larry (Larry Feinberg), and Curly (Jerome Horowitz), occasionally joined by Shemp (Samuel Horowitz)--were a film and television sensation for more than three decades in the mid-20th century.
The First Stooges

The Horowitz brothers, Moe, Curly, and Shemp, were born to a moderately prosperous Jewish immigrant family in Brooklyn. Their mother Jennie was a successful real-estate agent, although she could barely speak English, and their father Solomon was a fabric cutter. Samuel was born in 1895, Moses in 1897, and Jerome, the youngest, was born in 1903. By the time Moe was in his early twenties, he was a regular on stage, appearing with the Marguerite Bryant Players, a theatre troupe in Pennsylvania. Shemp, meanwhile, had steady work in vaudeville.
The Three Stooges
Moe and Shemp shot a number of short sports-themed comedies with Hall of Fame baseball player Honus Wagner in 1919 before encountering old friend Larry Fine (nee Feinberg), who had been scratching out a living in show business as well. Moe, Shemp, and Larry were hired by comedian Ted Healy in the early 1920s, to play his sidekicks. Healy was the comedian, the main act, and Moe, Shemp, and Larry were his stooges--audience plants plucked from the crowd to play along with Healy’s carefully planned routines. Healy offered them each only $100 or $150 a week, though he was raking in nearly $2,000 a week.

Shemp left the Three Stooges, as they came to be called, in the early 1930s, and Moe, the unquestioned lead Stooge, brought in his younger brother Curly as the new third member.
In the Movies

After a triumphant performance in front of a crowd of studio executives, the Stooges signed with MGM in 1933 to produce short films with Healy. The self-consciously classy studio did not fit well with the defiantly lowbrow Three Stooges. After Healy ditched his sidekicks in 1934, believing them to be holding him back from greater successes, the Stooges signed with Columbia, then considered the crassest of the major film studios. There they would rocket to success.

The Stooges’ film routines were mostly slapstick, preferring hitting to discussing, and they used soundtrack as both amplifier and audience guides. Exaggerated sounds--ukuleles, twittering birds, and ringing bells--permitted audiences to laugh at punches, counter-punches, and bonks on the head that might otherwise have seemed excessive.

Not everyone found their comedy palatable. Audiences used to more refined comedy have struggled to understand the appeal of the relentlessly violent Stooges shtick. Even their mother failed to grasp her sons’ routines. Seeing one of their original shorts in a movie theater, she grew so riled up at the beatings Healy was dishing out that she began waving an umbrella at the screen and shouting curses in Yiddish at the evildoer who was clobbering her boys.
three stooges
The Three Stooges rarely made much of their Jewish heritage. All three Horowitz brothers changed their last names to Howard and employed a mostly physical brand of comedy that did little to disclose their roots. If you look closely, though, you can see the violence that energizes their work as an expression of immigrant familial love, doled out in pokes and prods rather than hugs and kisses. As working stiffs forever outsmarting and outhustling a world of fatally incompetent bluebloods, the Stooges’ antics were symbolic of their own triumphant brand of unapologetically blue-collar comedy.
Undercover Brothers

One of the few times the Stooges acknowledged their religious roots onscreen was in perhaps their most memorable film, You Nazty Spy! (1940). Moe is a housepainter hired as the dictator of the fictional country of Moronica. With his greasepaint mustache and occasional lapse into gibberish German, he is a dead ringer, not only for Adolf Hitler, but for Charlie Chaplin’s Hitlerian Adenoid Hynkel, from The Great Dictator, released later that same year.

Nazty is riddled with Jewish humor, as if ethnic and religious pride was the Three Stooges’ prime weapon in their arsenal of anti-Nazi munitions. Greeting their Nazi bosses, the Stooges leap back and salute: “shalom aleichem!” Moe proposes a blitzkrieg, and Curly strenuously agrees: “I just love blintzes. Especially with sour cream.” A slinky temptress named Maddy Herring (get it?) offers her favors, and Curly is relieved when Moe avoids temptation: “You’d have been in some pickle with that Herring.”

You Nazty Spy! ends with Moe, Larry, and Curly unceremoniously eaten by lions, but the Moronican backdrop was brought back for I’ll Never Heil Again (1941). Heil is a more traditionally loony Stooges short, with Moe shooting shaving cream through the telephone at an impudent Curly, and Curly exhaling fire after sucking on a radiator pipe instead of his tobacco pipe.
An Unending Circle of (Comic) Violence

The Stooges appeared to have reached the end of their run in the late 1940s, when they were unexpectedly saved by the arrival of a new medium. Columbia licensed their shorts to television, which was still hungry for anything to fill airtime. On television, the Stooges appealed to a generation of children unfamiliar with their work. Columbia had unceremoniously dropped the Three Stooges after a series of disappointing films, but quickly brought them back upon discovering their undimmed appeal.

In this later era, illness and death made for numerous cast changes, and the films themselves were often hastily re-edited hodgepodges of older footage. Having begun onscreen in the early 1930s, the Stooges were still making films as late as 1968’s Star Spangled Salesman. The Three Stooges retained their popularity, even when they were of an age more suited to retirement than fisticuffs. (Moe was still taking blows--and giving them out!--at over 70 years of age.) Today, the Three Stooges seem to belong to no era at all. Their stupidity is timeless.

The Marx Brothers

Three Jewish boys make their mark on comedy.
By Saul Austerlitz

Julius, Adolph, and Leonard Marx had excellent timing. Had they emerged onscreen a few years earlier, film sound would not have been invented, and the centerpiece of their comedy--glorious squalls of absurdist language--would have been unavailable. Hard as it may be to picture the Marx brothers pantomiming silently and bookended by intertitles, it is necessary to realize that the brothers were themselves products of the sound era. Without sound, their comedy, too, would have stayed silent.Marx Brothers
Starting at an Early Age

The Marxes were born between 1887-1890 and grew up in New York City's Yorkville enclave of German Jews. The sons of immigrants, the Marx's father was a tailor and their mother, Minnie Schönberg, hailed from a show-business family. Minnie's brother, Al Shean, was a singer and vaudeville performer who welcomed his nephews into his act. By age 11, Julius was singing onstage, and both Adolph and Leonard played musical instruments.

Minnie turned her teenage sons into a vaudeville team. One night in a small Illinois town, the brothers were renamed by a comedian during a poker game -- Julius, a tight-moneyed grouch, became Groucho; Adolf became Harpo; Milton, the gumshoe-like lurker, was Gummo; and girl-chasing Leonard turned to Chico. Another brother, Zeppo, was involved in the family act early on, but soon dropped out to chase other pursuits.

Eventually, the brothers discovered they were more comfortable cracking jokes than playing instruments. According to legend, one night in Nacogdoches, Texas, Groucho took over the microphone during a lull in the set. The audience started laughing, and they never stopped.
All in the Family

Over time the Marxes developed a routine honed by years of nightly practice and a dependence on the familiar tropes of ethnic humor.

With his greasepaint mustache, cutaway coat, and omnipresent cigar, Groucho was the Jew masquerading as an entrepreneurial WASP; Chico was the calculating Italian immigrant, always scheming for a buck or a leg up; and Harpo was the mute, his omnipresent musical instrument--kazoo, washboard, or harp--serving as his voice.

Over time, the onstage personalities of the three brothers solidified, and the audience grew so accustomed to their onscreen selves that it was difficult to imagine them any other way.
Getting the Timing Right

In their early years, the Marx brothers used the vaudeville stage to prepare for film roles. Having worked up new material, they would head out on the road to polish it before audiences, testing out punch lines and pratfalls before immortalizing them on celluloid. The plots of early films such as The Cocoanuts (1929) and Animal Crackers (1930) had the hit-and-miss quality of vaudeville: if you didn't like the current act, another would follow momentarily.

Even then, the brothers had begun to establish their anarchic sensibility. While Groucho used his verbal wit to ruffle the feathers of delicate 1920s propriety, Harpo ignored all conventions of social civility, grabbing at women, honking his horn, or playing his harp at inopportune moments.

With so many characters about, a straight man--or woman in this case--was necessary. Margaret Dumont often played the stiff who never got any of the jokes and never understood she was the butt of them. Dumont's presence was essential for the Marx Brothers' experiments to succeed; audiences wanted not only to laugh, but to feel as if they were part of the inner circle, in on the joke.

Working with punch line-heavy screenwriters such as S.J. Perelman and the team of Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby, Marx efforts like Animal Crackers (1930) and Horse Feathers (1932) offered little in the way of plot, which cleared space for more inspired lunacy.
Hitting Their Stride

The Marx brothers did not hit their stride until they worked with a better class of directors and screenwriters, and--illogically enough--when given unnecessary subplots and romantic leads. Their last film for Paramount before departing for MGM, was 1933's classic Duck Soup. Groucho played Rufus T. Firefly, the new prime minister of Fredonia, who leads his country to war in the name of eternal peace.

Directed by Leo McCarey (Love Affair, Going My Way), Duck Soup features one of the brothers' most beloved routines. In the mirror sequence, Harpo, while dressed as Groucho, attempts to convince Groucho that he is looking at a reflection of himself. Groucho tries every trick in his repertoire to shake his shadow, but Harpo holds strong, imitating his every move for as long as he can. With some digressions, (primarily for Harpo to squeeze in a musical solo) Duck Soup is the most focused Marx brothers film, a pointed satire of war and diplomacy whose barbs have lost little of their sting over the years.
The Big Leagues

Their switch to MGM came at a cost. Groucho and company were no longer considered hefty enough to carry a film on their own, and were paired with bland costars like Allan Jones and Kitty Carlisle as the comic component of romances. Their routines in 1935's A Night at the Opera and 1937's A Day at the Races paused to allow the romantic leads to banter, or--even worse--sing. But Night and Day amply reward audiences for their patience, raising the bar on their hijinks even higher.

A Night at the Opera contains one notable scene in which an expanding array of people and objects attempt to cram into Groucho's miniscule stateroom. "I hadn't planned on a manicure," Groucho tells a manicurist who unexpectedly joins the swelling crowd, "but I think on a journey like this, you ought to have every convenience you can get...You'd better make 'em short. It's getting kind of crowded in here."

Groucho and Chico also haggle over a contract, tearing a lengthy document to pieces as they debate each other. "It's all right, that's, that's in every contract," Groucho informs Chico about the last remaining shred of paper. "That's, that's what they call a 'sanity clause.'" Laughing knowingly, Chico responds, "You can't fool me. There ain't no Sanity Clause!"

By the late 1930s, the brothers' grace period at MGM had expired, and charmless slogs like Room Service and At the Circus were the result. Groucho's verbal wizardry no longer had the facility of youth, and Chico and Harpo had been relegated to revisiting old routines. The quality of the writers and directors assigned to the Marx Brothers also slipped dramatically.

They continued to make films into the 1940s, but few fans have fond memories of Go West (1940), The Big Store (1941), or A Night in Casablanca (1946). Of the three, only Groucho managed to find sustained success outside the Marx Brothers, writing a number of books and hosting You Bet Your Life, the long-running television series.

For the first ten years of the sound film, though, there was no one anywhere who was funnier than the three Jewish boys from New York City. They bequeathed to later comics a love of chaos, a taste for oddball mayhem, and inspired wordplay. A look at the work of Peter Sellers, Steve Martin, or Mike Myers offers hints of the Marx brothers. Their particular brand of over-the-top hijinks continues to be injected directly into the bloodstream of American comedy.