One of the most important comedic relationships is that between a schlemiel and a schlemazel.
The meaning of the words, both of which derive from Yiddish, differ in a way that makes them inseparable and the foundation for some of the greatest comedy teams in history.
By definition, a schlemiel is an awkward bungler, a klutzy dolt, a fool. A schlemazel, on the other hand, is a long-suffering, unlucky person for whom situations rarely turn out well. When the two come together, comedy sparks fly.
So, if a schlemiel walks through an office carrying a cup of hot coffee, he’ll trip and spill it all of a schlemazel. If a schlemiel gets angry enough to throw a pie at someone, the intended target will duck just in time and the schlemazel will get a face full of banana cream.
Can you figure out the schlemiel and schlemazel from these classic comedy duos?