When I was a kid, my parents shlepped me up to the Borscht Belt (New York's Catskill Mountains) every summer. It was up there, watching the hack stand-up comedians in the hotel nightclubs, that my sense of humor was forged. Those entertainers gave me my first hint that life needn't be a totally serious business. The lessons I learned at those resorts were reinforced by the endless parade of comics and impersonators I watched daily on the old black-and-white TV we had in our Brooklyn apartment. All this explains why I now have a seemingly endless supply of jokes, gags, and funny stories. And why I resort to telling them (over and over) when I have nothing significant to say. Which is most of the time.

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