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7

THURSDAY

Nana’s first was Danny Kaye. It was the late ’30s, before she was married. “One summer at Camp Tamiment—it’s in the Poconos. This was before he was known. It was mostly stand-up. Maybe singing a little. He did a lot of mimics, imitations. You know, he was a big hit. Everybody went nuts. Just excellent.” She had known comedians before they were born—knew Goldie Hawn’s mother when she lived next door, at 13th and Kennedy Streets NW. “Would you consider Goldie Hawn? She’s half-Jewish. Her mom was Jewish. Her mother was very funny. She always would be telling stories—she was a natural comedian.” Loved Shecky Greene, a pioneer of Jewish jokes: “Wasn’t he Jewish? He was Jewish.” Discovered Seinfeld: “I have to say I convinced many of my friends to watch his show.” My grandmother has more to say. And you should listen to her sometime. Tonight, you can listen to Lawrence Epstein read from his book, The Haunted Smile: The Story of Jewish Comedians in America, at 7 p.m. at the District of Columbia Jewish Community Center, 1529 16th St. NW. $10. (202) 777-3254. (Jason Cherkis)