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Abstract

Most scholars agree that Jewish humour is a relatively modern phenomenon born out of the unique Jewish experience of exile, segregation and persecution. Howard Jacobson is a British Jewish writer who has always praised comedy and paid special attention to Jewish comic sensibility. He has emphasised the coping and liberating function that humour has exercised for the Jews, allowing them to transcend the terrible circumstances of their lives. Jacobson does not believe that humour removes pain, but that it contributes an emotional factor that makes the pain more bearable by affirming and celebrating life. He is convinced that there is something particularly Jewish about the way in which he fuses comedy and tragedy in his novels, since Jews have always joked in the face of affliction. Jacobson also stresses how from the very beginning the novel has been defined by its subversive and God-defying character. After explaining Jacobson’s main ideas on comedy and how they are shared by scholars who have examined the characteristic features of Jewish humour, I will analyse how they are reproduced by the narrator in Kalooki Nights (2006).