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Old jokes, new tricks

Comedy: Valencia senior preserves the comedy he’s learned by posting it onto YouTube

Posted: November 21, 2010 10:52 p.m.
Updated: November 22, 2010 4:55 a.m.
Lench explains that he wants to preserve his stories and jokes of a lifetime for his children. Lench explains that he wants to preserve his stories and jokes of a lifetime for his children.
Lench explains that he wants to preserve his stories and jokes of a lifetime for his children.
Jerry Lench’s YouTube channel has more than 45 videos of jokes and stories. Jerry Lench’s YouTube channel has more than 45 videos of jokes and stories.
Jerry Lench’s YouTube channel has more than 45 videos of jokes and stories.

Back in the day, Jerry Lench would do stand-up for clients and colleagues during his successful career in advertising and public relations.

Now, at 85, he’s going high-tech by posting his jokes on YouTube.

“Some jokes are a bit naughty,” Lench said with a sly smile. “Some are Jewish-oriented, and some are told in Yiddish.”

The Valencia senior got the idea from his daughter, Katherine Meyering, who lives just a few minutes away and visits with her father at least three times a week.

“There’s one joke he tells that I particularly like. As we were filming it, I laughed so hard, you couldn’t hear him,” Meyering said. “My dad is so good; he doesn’t rehearse. He gets it in one take.”

Meyering tapes Lench on her iPhone, uploads the video to her computer, then to YouTube and voila.

Her goal is for Lench to get enough views in order to attract advertisers. Family and friends are getting into the act, sending e-mails to friends and relatives, in order to hit the mark.

“Jerry Lench is going viral,” Meyering said with a laugh. “It preserves these jokes for my kids. How many times do you say, ‘I wish I could hear it in the way he says it?’ Well, now you can.”

Lench is happy to oblige.

“I can remember jokes I heard 60 years ago. I just can’t remember why I opened the damn refrigerator,” he said.

Born in New York, Lench is of Polish descent. “My father’s name had 17 consonants in it. In America, we shortened it to Lench,” he said.

Lench enlisted in the United States Army during World War II as a teenager. Fluent in French from many years of studying in public school, he was called upon to serve as a battalion interpreter.

“My knees were knocking. I said, ‘That’s school French, sir, not real French.’ He still wanted me,” Lench recalled.

After a 1946 discharge, Lench came to California, where he met his future wife, Judy, a single mother, at a Los Angeles City College French class.

“I took to her immediately,” he said.

Lench adopted Judy’s son Chris; soon afterward, Daniel and Katherine Lench were born. The family settled in what is now known as North Hills.

Jerry Lench & Associates, the company Lench launched, represented clients as diverse as the Savings & Loan Association of California to a musician’s union. As such, Lench often found himself in the company of such music legends as Bing Crosby, Miles Davis, Harry James and Frank Sinatra. Lench also acted as editor of Overture magazine, where he met Henry Mancini.

When his clients found out Lench had done comedy and variety skits in the military, he was soon cast as a master of ceremonies whenever the need arose.

“They dragooned me into doing events, banquets, hotel functions. Later on I did it for charity events. I was born without any fear of the stage,” he said.

Lench traveled internationally for business, to locations like Israel, and for fun, he and Judy would visit France, England and Holland, as well as spots throughout the United States. The couple had a particular fondness for Hawaii, especially after Lench retired at the age of 55.

“My wife wanted to live in Hawaii, but to buy a comparable house would’ve cost a million dollars. Instead, we compromised by spending two weeks to a month there every year,” he said.

Judy Lench died of congestive heart failure in 2006, bringing an end to 54 happy years of marriage.

“She spoiled me, and I loved it. I was left rattling around in a big house,” he said. “I needed help in a bad way.”

Shortly thereafter, Lench moved to a senior living apartment building, closer to his children and grandchildren.

Lench was happy to find several Jewish residents who understood Yiddish, which was his native language before learning English in the first grade.

His Yiddish jokes may not be understood by current generations, but Lench feels compelled to share them.

“After six million of us got burnt in ovens and Israel made Hebrew its primary language, Yiddish is just dying,” he said. “Our experience in this world is of interest to those that follow us.”

Slight but spry, Lench enjoys going for walks, with the use of a cane, as well as reading large-print classics and bestsellers on his e-book reader. He’s continuing to record jokes a few times a week, but unlike Meyering, isn’t concerned with how many are watching in cyberspace.

“I have no need to be famous, I don’t care. I’m not long in this world,” Lench said. “I just want to leave something behind for my kids and their kids.”

To view Jerry Lench’s jokes, visit


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