Ikh bin a "boarder" bay mayn vayb
I'm a Boarder at My Wife's
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Ikh bin a “boarder” bay mayn vayb (I’m a Boarder at My Wife’s), first published in 1922, became one of the most famous, comical—and slightly risqué—songs of Yiddish vaudeville, later gaining its widest popularity through a recording by Aaron Lebedeff. It endured long past the vaudeville era. Its lyrics parrot a stereotypical theme of American immigrant-era humor—the complaining, protesting but subservient (so he says), and actually slightly afraid husband—but this song offered a somewhat different twist. Here, the fellow has found a better “arrangement” altogether, divorcing his wife and paying rent to her as a boarder. Now he is free from her perceived control: “When I come home, she doesn’t ask any questions.”
Not all strophes are included in this recording. In the full published version, the “boarder” further praises the wisdom of his arrangement: “[Now] I don’t have to keep an eye on my wife, and worry about mistakenly walking in on her when the butcher is delivering the meat … and I don’t have to work and give her the money.”
The tune is more or less a stock pattern; this song is about the words.