Let's say that you're at a Jewish funeral home service. Some 75 mourners fidget in the pews as a rabbi -- a freelancer hired just to lead the service and a stranger to the deceased -- begins.
"At times like this it's customary to say something nice about the dearly departed," says the rabbi. "Since I didn't know Gantza Turis, I turn to you, his family and friends, to say some comforting words. Who will start?"
Silence, as all eyes avoid the rabbi's.
"I know it's hard to speak at a time like this, but please, someone, stand up and say something nice about Gantza," the rabbi implores. More uncomfortable silence follows. Twice more the rabbi urges the mourners to speak. Twice more no one does.
Finally, visibly upset, the rabbi says, "Look, I'm not going to continue until someone says something nice about Gantza. I'm serious!
At which point a short, elderly man with a hint of a Yiddish accent (picture Mel Brooks wearing a tan zippered windbreaker circa 1975) rises in the back row and blurts out, with a sweeping hand motion, "His brother? Worse!"
Get the old joke? No? Well, sorry; explaining it will just deepen my comedic hole. Ask a friend.
No matter. It's a favorite of mine; classic Borscht Belt stand-up.
Besides, it's punchline underscores the first serious point of this post. Which is ...