Mark Cohen


The Top 10 Allan Sherman Lyrics

By Mark Cohen

The Top 10 Allan Sherman Lyrics
Allan Sherman was one of our great comic songwriters. Mark Cohen, author of “Overweight Sensation,” a biography of Sherman, offers his favorites.Read More


Is Rick Moranis 'Too Jewish'?

By Mark Cohen

Is Rick Moranis 'Too Jewish'?
Writing about Rick Moranis required that I remind myself what he’s done. After all, his great comic roles in Mel Brooks’ “Spaceballs” and the first “Ghostbusters” movie are pushing 30. So I sneaked over to YouTube to watch Moranis order his starship to “ludicrous speed,” and in “Ghostbusters” ask, “Okay, who brought the dog?”Read More


The End of the Reign in Spain

By Mark Cohen

The End of the Reign in Spain
The voices that come alive in “Sephardi Family Life in the Early Modern Diaspora” beat down the tiresome impulse to prove history relevant. Instead, the six excellent and painstakingly researched scholarly papers, edited by Julia R. Lieberman, prove their worth in a better way: They tell stories that reveal how besieged societies strain to hold on to their traditions and to civilized life.Read More


A Profane Reliquary

By Mark Cohen

A Profane Reliquary
Why not simply admit it? The new collection of Saul Bellow’s “Letters” (Viking 2010) is a modern reliquary. It is a treasured remnant of the beloved wonderworker. And who are the followers, the faithful? Bookish cranks, mainly, plus unstoppable line-quoters, Jewish lit fetishists, passionate scholars, and the unclassifiable lovers of living books (beautiful girl reading “Humboldt’s Gift” years ago on a stone bench at the Frick Museum, here’s something new for you!).Read More


Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh, Hello Grandkids of My Original Fans

By Mark Cohen

From this you make a living?

Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh,  Hello Grandkids of My Original Fans
No undertaking deserved that Jewish punch line more than turning the French folksong “Frère Jacques” into a parody called “Sarah Jackman.” But Allan Sherman showed how that could be done.Read More






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