These past few nights I’ve been enjoying Michael Croland’s book, “Oy Oy Oy Gevalt! Jews and Punk. The exercise is that I read a chapter then look up the music on Spotify. One thing leads to another, and all Jewish music leads to Alan Sherman.
The first song of Sherman’s I played was “If I Were a Tishman,” a parody of “If I Were a Rich Man” from the Fiddler on the Roof musical. Julius Tishman was a developer of big buildings in New York City in the 50s and 60s.
Interesting to note, the song mentions Tishman’s building 666 Fifth Avenue, a property currently owned by Jarred Kushner. I wonder if he feels the Sherman reference is a blessing or a curse. (Jarred: "Alan who?")
When I was ten years old, I found my father’s LP of Sherman’s My Son, the Folksinger. I didn’t know the songs it skewered, save for Glory Glory Harry Lewis. The playful irreverence caught me, and I intently focused on the songs the way only a 10-year-old can. In some ways, Alan Sherman is source code for my sense of humor.
I love the thought that Sherman’s musical comedy continues to crack me up.