Grepsing(?)
Posted: 07 May 2013 08:33 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Just watched one of the last great Warner Brothers musicals of the early 30s, Wonder Bar. At one point Jolson does a comedy duologue with another actor, both using heavy Russian accents. (Jolson’s parents, of course, were Russian Jews). Here’s how the releevant part goes:

Jolson: Since the past year ......

Count: Uh-huh.

(Jolson shoots the Count a nasty look and begins again)

Jolson: Since the past year ......

Count: Uh-huh

Jolson (angrily): Are you grepsing on me?

Count: No, no, no, no.

The Count’s uh-huhs seem harmless enough, spoken as one would say ‘Yes, go on’ so I’m not sure why Jolson should take even comical offence here. I guess it all boils down to this. What is grepsing? I’m pretty sure it’s Yiddish but I don’t think I’ve come across that one.

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Posted: 07 May 2013 08:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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FWIW, There is Yiddish גרעפצן (greptsn) ‘to burp, belch’, גרעפץ (grepts) ‘a burp, belch’.

[Edited for typo.]

[ Edited: 07 May 2013 10:45 AM by jheem ]
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Posted: 07 May 2013 10:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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FWIW, I would guess that the joke was that even though the Count was basically just urging Jolson to go on, he is nonetheless interrupting him / stepping on his story.  If that was the joke, then, for it to work, the timing would have to be impeccable, and the “uh huh” would have to be at least a bit ostentatious.

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Posted: 07 May 2013 10:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Ah, I think you’ve nailed it, jheem. The Count’s interruptions are indeed very deep and cavernous and could well be taken as belches.

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