Understanding the Humor in the Sidney Applebaum Joke

Backdrop: The Sidney Applebaum joke, a notable quip from Woody Allen’s “Love and Death,” became a memorable part of a “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) skit featuring Bill Hader as Stefon. This joke alludes to a line where a French general absurdly wishes to be remembered as “Sidney Applebaum,” a name distinctly out of place in his context. The humor in Allen’s movies often stems from such non-sequiturs.

Why It’s Funny:

  1. Irony and Expectations: The joke plays on the audience’s expectations. Following a reference to “Blackula,” the audience anticipates a similarly grand or exotic name for the Jewish Dracula, only to be presented with the very ordinary and stereotypically Jewish name “Sidney Applebaum.” This contrast between expectation and reality creates humor.
  2. Bill Hader’s Performance: Part of the joke’s charm on SNL lies in Bill Hader’s tendency to break character, which audiences find endearing. His spontaneous laughter adds to the skit’s authenticity and humor.

Bill Hader and John Mulaney’s Chemistry: Hader and Mulaney are recognized for their comedic synergy, particularly with the character Stefon on SNL. Their inside jokes and Hader’s propensity to break character contribute significantly to the humor and appeal of their performances.

Biographical Note: Sidney Applebaum: Sidney Applebaum (February 28, 1924 – August 6, 2016), unrelated to the joke, was a notable figure in his own right. Born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, to Oscar and Bertha Applebaum, Sidney grew up in a family deeply involved in the grocery business. His father, Oscar, began with a fruit stand and evolved it into the Applebaum’s Food Market chain. Sidney played a significant role in expanding the family business, including the development of Rainbow Foods. He was known for his dedication, often starting his day at 4 a.m., and continued working until shortly before his passing. Applebaum’s legacy includes his impact on the

Minneapolis–Saint Paul grocery scene and his role as a visionary entrepreneur. His family remembers him as a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, celebrated for his selflessness and generosity. His death marked the end of an era in the local grocery business, but his influence and contributions to the industry remain significant.

Conclusion: The Sidney Applebaum joke on SNL is a perfect example of comedy stemming from unexpected contrasts and character performances. While the real Sidney Applebaum’s life was far from comedic, his name, thanks to a quirky twist of fate in a Woody Allen movie, will be humorously remembered in a completely different context.

Lindsay has over 8 years of experience in the business and finance industry. She is a MBA and a journalist by education and did her internship at a major local newspaper in Texas slowly climbing the ladder to reach the higher echelons as editor of various online news portals before joining Business Magazine.

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