Can the Holocaust be funny? Are jokes about Nazis and genocide in poor taste or a people’s way of coping with tragedy? When is “too soon” too soon? Filmmaker Ferne Pearlstein explores this question through interviews and excerpts from comedians like Mel Brooks, Rob Reiner, Sarah Silverman, Judy Gold, Chris Rock, and Joan Rivers, as well as thoughts from Jewish authors and leaders. Woven throughout are the stories of Auschwitz survivor Renee Firestone, who found humor to be her saving grace in the camps while living through unspeakable horror. Clips include footage from the controversial and never released Jerry Lewis film, “The Day the Clown Cried” and rare recordings of cabaret acts performed by prisoners in concentration camps.
Following the screening, join us for a conversation with the film’s director, Ferne Pearlstein.
“Funny and sobering at the same time.” -Hollywood Reporter
Documentary / Dir: Ferne Pearlstein / Starring: Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman, Louis CK, Chris Rock, Rob Reiner and others / 2016 USA / English / 85 min
Tribeca Film Festival 2016, UKJFF 2016; Chicago International Film Festival 2016; San Francisco Jewish Film Festival 2016