As a viewing of any pre-Annie Hall Woody Allen film will reveal, self-consciously Jewish humor—like the Three Stooges or “Hello Mudduh, Hello Fadduh”—is often funny only because we remember that it once was funny. But Frances Madeson’s Cooperative Village, which opens with a kvetchy “descendent of our matriarchs Sarah, Rachel, and Rebecca” discovering a dead body in the laundry room of her very Jewish New York apartment building, succeeds in transcending Catskills nightclub one-liners through smart, macabre satire of the War on Terror. Madeson’s Kakfa-esque plot defies the blurb—for starters, her protagonist is separated from her library card and, corpse-in-tow, must make sure she is not implicated in Patriot Act violations—but “an anti-Bush Weekend at Bernie’s for the shiva-sitting set” might be an apt description. If that doesn’t get the local yentas to stop kibitzing over their latkes, what will? Madeson discusses and signs copies of her work at 7 p.m. at Olsson’s Books & Records, 1307 19th St. NW. Free. (202) 785-1133.

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