CAN JEWS MAKE JOKES ABOUT THE HOLO­CAUST?

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE -

David Schneider, co­me­dian

“I think there’s no sub­ject that is of­flim­its for com­edy, as long as it’s tar­geted cor­rectly. The Holo­caust is the ul­ti­mate test case. The vic­tims, the sur­vivors, they made and make jokes about what they went through. I’ve also used the sub­ject for hu­mour be­cause, as a first­gen­er­a­tion son of a sur­vivor, it’s so defin­ing for who I am.

Hu­mour can bring people to­gether, it can be a weapon for the pow­er­less, as long as you’re shar­ing your ex­pe­ri­ence and “punching up” (ie against those in power) as op­posed to punching down (against the vic­tims). In that case it can be a won­der­ful, lib­er­at­ing thing and we shouldn’t be scared to go there.”

Jemma Wayne, au­thor “Any­thing that is taboo sim­mers be­neath the con­scious­ness and grows in the dark. “Talk­ing, writ­ing, ex­plor­ing — these are the ways that we es­cape the dark­ness. Jok­ing? Isn’t it just the same thing in an­other guise? An­other — and pow­er­ful — way to thrust light into the shad­owy re­cesses?

“Of course there’s a dif­fer­ence be­tween hat­edriven jokes, and those that sim­ply push the edges of what is com­fort­able.

“When we laugh at the lat­ter, I don’t think that ex­poses a sin­is­ter per­son­al­ity quirk, but a deep need to ad­dress the for­bid­den.”

Ivor Bad­diel, writer

“I think com­edy is just as le­git­i­mate an art form as any other to tackle is­sues such as the Holo­caust. The prob­lem is that in com­edy one’s first re­sponse is laugh­ter, and of­ten this is con­fus­ing for people, but as long as the joke is thought-pro­vok­ing, in­tel­li­gent and chal­leng­ing, and not gra­tu­itous, den­i­grat­ing or sim­ply try­ing to shock, then yes, it is ac­cept­able and jus­ti­fi­able.”

Ben­nett Ar­ron, co­me­dian

“I have a big prob­lem with Holo­caust jokes. I don’t be­lieve the adage that ‘any­thing can be a sub­ject for com­edy’.

“With most jokes which have an of­fen­sive side to them, it de­pends where the laugh is com­ing from. Whom or what is the sub­ject mat­ter of the joke? And at whom or what is the hu­mour di­rected?

“But when it comes to the Holo­caust, even a ‘joke’ di­rected at, say, con­cen­tra­tion-camp guards doesn’t sit well with me.

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