Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A Classic Routine with a Seminarian Twist

Years ago, back when I was taking Hebrew for my MDiv, I ran into this take on the classic Abbott and Costello "Who's on First?" routine (or at least an approximation thereof). With the new academic year just around the corner, it seemed worth dusting off again. Usually, I don't post works that aren't mine without having received explicit permission from the author. In this case, I've seen the work in enough other places that I'm assuming that it was the author's intention that the work be shared freely. I'm happy to remove the post if it is determined otherwise.

attributed to Rabbi Jack Moline (some editing has been done on the version I found)

ABBOTT: I see you're here for your Hebrew lesson.

COSTELLO: I'm ready to learn.

A: Now, the first thing you must understand is that Hebrew and English have many words which sound alike, but they don't mean the same thing.

C: Sure, I understand.

A: Now, don't be too quick to say that.

C: How stupid do you think I am? Don't answer that. It's simple. Some words in Hebrew sound like words in English, but they don't mean the same.

A: Precisely.

C: We have that word in English, too. What does it mean in Hebrew?

A: No, no. Precisely is an English word.

C: I didn't come here to learn English, I came to learn Hebrew. So make with the Hebrew.

A: Fine. Let's start with mee.

C: You.

A: No, mee.

C: Fine, we'll start with you.

A: No, we'll start with mee.

C: Okay, have it your way.

A: Now, mee is who.

C: You is Abbott.

A: No, no, no. Mee is who.

C: You is Abbott.

A: You don't understand.

C: I don't understand? Did you just say me is who?

A: Yes I did. Mee is who.

C: You is Abbott.

A: No, You misunderstand what I am saying. Tell me about mee.

C: Well, you're a nice enough guy.

A: No, no. Tell me about mee!

C: Who?

A: Precisely.

C: Precisely what?

A: Precisely who.

C: It's precisely whom!

A: No, mee is who.

C: Don't start that again! Go on to something else.

A: All right. Hu is he.

C: Who is he?

A: Yes.

C: I don't know. Who is he?

A: Sure you do. You just said it.

C: I just said what?

A: Hu is he.

C: Who is he?

A: Precisely.

C: Again with the precisely! Precisely who?

A: No, precisely he.

C: Precisely he? Who is he?

A: Precisely!

C: And what about me?

A: Who.

C: me, me, me!

A: Who, Who, Who!

C: What are you, an owl? Me! Who is me?

A: No, hu is he!

C: I don't know… maybe he is me!

A: No, hee is she! (STARE AT ABBOTT)

C: Do his parents know about this?

A: About what?

C: About her!

A: What about her?

C: That she is he!

A: No, you've got it wrong! Hee is she!

C: Then who is he?

A: Precisely!

C: Who?

A: He!

C: Me?

A: Who!

C: He?

A: She!

C: Who is she?

A: No, hu is he.

C: I don't care who is he, I want to know who is she?

A: No, that's not right.

C: How can it not be right? I said it. I was standing here when I said it, and I know me.

A: Who.

C: Who?

A: Precisely!

C: Me! Me is that he you are talking about! He is me!

A: No, hee is she!

C: Wait a Minute, wait a minute! I'm trying to learn a little Hebrew, and now I can't even speak English. Let me review.

A: Go ahead.

C: Now first you want to know me is who.

A: Correct.

C: And then you say who is he.

A: Absolutely.

C: And then you tell me he is she.

A & C: Precisely!

C: Now look at this logically. If me is who. And who is he. And he is she. Don't it stand to reason that me is she?

A: Who!

C: She!

A: That is hee!

C: Who is he?

A & C: Precisely!

C: I have just about had it. You have me confused and I want to go home. You know what I want? Ma!

A: What.

C: I said Ma.

A: What.

C: What are you, deaf? I want Ma!

A: What!

C: Not what, who!

A: He!

C: Not he! Ma is not he!

A: Of course not! Hu is he!

C: I don't know! I don't know. I don't care. I don't care who is he, he is she, me is who, ma is what. I just want to go home now and play with my dog.

A: Fish.

C: Fish?

A: Dag is fish.

C: That's all, I'm outta here!


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