Is it appropriate to make jokes about the Holocaust? That is the question asked to comedians, such as Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman, and Gilbert Gottfried, all of whom debate the use of this taboo topic, with some refusing to tackle the subject, while others believe that joking about the holocaust keeps its memory alive. Many of the jokes about the holocaust are seen by 90-year-old Auschwitz survivor Renee Firestone, who gives her own opinions about the use of humour in relation to this tragic event.
The Last Laugh is a film that examines whether the Holocaust is a taboo subject for comedians to use. While on the surface this question may have an easy answer, it turns out that this debate is much more complicated, with the comics having many different opinions. The Last Laugh does a good job of tackling both sides of the debate, while also taking the time to get the opinions of actual holocaust survivor Renee Firestone.
The issues addressed in The Last Laugh include Mel Brooks’ lampooning of Nazi’s in The Producers, while refusing to tackle the Holocaust itself, and the extremely differing opinions of Roberto Benigni’s Life is Beautiful, which is compared to the unreleased Jerry Lewis film The Day the Clown Cried. One of the biggest messages of this film is that comics are the conscience of the people, who should be allowed to see the humour in a tragic event.
Is The Last Laugh screening worthy?
Despite featuring interviews with comedians, The Last Laugh isn’t entirely fun and games, with the film having just as many serious moments as funny ones. Altogether, the film provides some interesting insight about how the holocaust is remembered and whether it is appropriate to joke about this horrible time in Jewish history. This is one worth checking out.
The Last Laugh screens as part of the TJFF Chai Tea Series at Cineplex Cinemas Empress Walk on Sunday, October 30, 2016 at 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm. Check their website for more information.