The Last Laugh (2016) Movie Script

You have some coffee?
Yeah I thought wed just have
a quick bite before we leave,
but this place is so filthy
I dont want to
lay anything down
I brought a little bit
of goodies for us.
for us but my hands
are not that clean
- That's okay
- So if you want the napkin.
- I don't need it.
- So use this napkin, okay?
Auschwitz wasn't
cleaner than this!
I knew you'd say that.
Two Jews have been sent
to assassinate Hitler
This is during the war.
They've gotten some
as to where Hitler might be
Theyre standing
outside his home
They're hiding, theyre waiting
for Hitler. Eight o'clock comes,
go no Hitler.
An hour goes by,
he's not home yet
Wheres Hitler?
Then another two hours go
by, hes not home yet
Now it's 8:30 and he
still doesn't show up,
and one Jew turns to
the other and says:
Gee, I hope nothing
happened to him!
So what is this supposed to be?
Crossing lines?
Being in bad taste?
So should I start
the interview with
Heil Hitler! Is that good?
OK. I mean its uhits
part and parcel, its
in keeping, right?
Stalin is nicer, right?
Its easier
But this is the guy who made
me money, so I stick with him.
The thing about
a joke about
the Holocaust,
AIDS, the AIDS crisis,
it's all about the funny.
It's got to be funny.
You can't tell a
crappy joke
about the biggest tragedy in
the world. You can't do it.
Comedy puts light onto darkness,
and darkness can't live
where there's light.
So that's why it's important to
talk about things
that are taboo, because
otherwise they just
stay in this dark
place and they become
I don't have a
philosophy about it.
I just know that it's much more
fun to laugh than not to laugh.
You have to have a
sense of humor.
If you dont have
a sense of humor,
just go to your grave.
Or get cremated or something.
The Holocaust itself
is not funny.
Theres nothing funny about it.
and what it takes to survive,
there can be humor in that.
One day, the doctor arrives
and who is it, its
Dr. Mengele.
And we have to get undressed,
he's going to check us,
and we were wondering, why
are they checking us?
What is the doctor checking?
I mean that was itself funny.
But I come in front of him
and he
he puts his hand on my shoulder
and he says to me in German,
Genug Speck noch
There is still enough fat.
And then he says to me,
If you survive this war, he
you better have your tonsils
you have big tonsils.
So, you know, I was
thinking Is he insane?
Tomorrow I may die,
I'm worried about my tonsils?
But when I
came back,
when I survived and came
back, and I thought about
what he said, it was
I was thinking that
Ill make matzo brei.
How many eggs do you need?
Why dont you get four.
Most people don't expect
survivors to have much humor
after the Holocaust, and that's
really not the case at all.
The survivors
actually have
some of the worst gallows
humor ever.
And I guess that they're the
only ones allowed to do that!
I remember the story
that you told me,
they would make parties
in their head.
There was no food so they would
invent the food in their head
- Oh, we cooked a lot!
- They cooked a lot!
And so, I mean, the absurdity of
some of this stuff is humorous.
So they're making parties
and they're talking about
the recipes for it, andand my
recipe is better than
your recipe
I mean this is an absurdity but
its certainly humorous.
And were you laughing when
you were doing it, at times?
No, we were not laughing, but
the last sentence always was,
Now you know this will
never happen.
235. Ghetto diary,
October 29, 1941.
Every day at the Art
Caf on Leszno Street
one can hear songs and
satires about the police,
and even the Gestapo.
The Typhus epidemic itself
is the subject of jokes.
Typhus is a subject of jokes!
It is laughter through
tears, but it is laughter.
This is our only
weapon in the ghetto.
The only weapon in the ghetto.
Laugh at the death.
Humor is the only thing the
Nazis cannot understand.
And thats the only thing the
Nazis cannot understand,
Humor is the only thing
they dont understand.
They dont understand
life either.
Humor is a way of dealing
with an unbearable reality.
Its a way of protesting,
its a way of keeping
your dignity
when you have to do things
that you dont want to do.
So if you do them and you keep
your humor its like
saying, you know,
Im still human.
(Singing in Yiddish/French)
Bei mir bistu shein
Ce la signifie, vous etes
pour moi plus que la vie
That's all you ar going to hear.
I met Robert Clary
I spoke a little French, so
he was very happy
because he wasnt that
proficient in English
in 1952. He was getting
And now he speaks it as
if he really knows it.
Robert Clary was in the camps,
and he would
entertain in the camps,
and the entertainment
saved his life.
That was second nature with me.
Singing, dancing,
clowning around.
And that helped me
tremendously when
I was deported.
Because automatically
when I wenteven the
first camp
campI started to sing for
the people who were there,
the prisoners.
People are constant.
And if you
were funny
before, youll be funny during,
and youll be funny after.
I was 16 years old when I was
arrested and sent to the camp.
I was too young to really
realize what the situation was.
I was deported with a big
amount of my family,
my mother, my father, an uncle,
a sister with her husband
and two kids.
They all went to
the gas chambers.
Out of thirteen of
my immediate family
Im the only one who came back.
For the ten minutes
that I worked,
or fifteen minutes that I sang,
they forgot where they
were, and that was
the most important thing.
And thats what
helped me stay alive.
Now the first camp,
when we entertained,
the SS, they didnt come.
We only entertained for
the inmates.
But the second camp, why
the SS came to see us,
all I can deduct then is they
they had such a terrible life
hitting us and killing us
that they wanted to
be entertained too.
The camps, in certain
cases, had a cabaret.
But they would never
put on anything
that mentioned gas chambers,
or the mass murder squads
It was subversive by nature,
but you had to be
careful how you did it
so the SS guards who came
would not understand that they
were the ones being
spoken about.
Its the kind of humor
that will make you cry.
Really the underpinning
was sadness.
I was in the cabaret and it
was very funny, very witty.
Of course people were laughing!
People were laughing and talking
about it the next morning,
and How did you like it?
and so and so. Of course,
imagined that we lived
in a normal time.
There was a song which we
adopted as our anthem.
It went something like, Lets
join hands, we shall overcome /
When the tyranny
we shall all dance
on the ruins of
Well, sadly very few
would have
been able to do so.
What did you do all morning?
- What did I do all morning?
I dont know, I just
talked my head off.
You did? Did you talk about
how funny the camps were?
Oh God yes. I said
it was hilarious!
From the moment we put
our feet on the ground!
We were laughing. We
never stopped laughing.
We woke up in the
morning at three,
even when they made us walk
Even when they made us walk
in the middle of the night,
we laughed and said Ha, ha,
ha, ha!
Youll get your day!
Lets talk about the television
show you used to do.
What television show?
About the concentration camp.
- What concentration camp?
Who walked into a
producers office
and said, Heres the idea:
a group of soldiers in a Nazi
prison camp. Its a comedy!
You think that Hogans Heroes
was about a concentration camp?
It was about a camp.
There were no Jews in there.
I didnt play a Jewish kid.
No, there were no Jews in it,
but there were Nazis in it.
- Potato soup?
- Thank you.
Hogans Heroes was about
prisoners of war in a stalag.
It was not about genocide,
it was not Jews going
to the gas chambers.
No, of course not! We knew that!
Thats why it was so funny!
No, but a lot of
people always ask me,
How could you have
done Hogans Heroes
after what you went though?
- How did it end?
- We all died!
Now, when youre gonna die,
are you going to
be in a Jewish cemetery?
Are you going to be
- Next to my husband, I have
a place next to my husband.
Not me. Im not going
next to my wife.
- So where are you going?
In the ocean. Even
though Im a Pisces and
dont know how to swim.
NO! Youre not going
to be cremated.
- Yes I am.
- No youre not.
Dont tell me what
to do with my life.
Now, you see I cannot imagine
a Jew to be cremated.
Now are you going to
stop talking to me?
You want to try my soup?
Here, try my soup, maybe
youll change your mind.
I... I... Yes, absolutely. You
know what I said to Rabbi Hier?
Once, we were
talking about that,
I say... uh...
Im going to be cremated, he
said, You cannot do that.
So I said, What
about my parents?
And that
cut him down.
Im going to be
cremated and then
the fish are going to eat me.
Theyre going to say, Mmm, what
wonderful French food yum, yum!
Little do they know I
have Polish blood in me!
Were gonna hitchhike
up to the Catskills
We call the Highway Route 17
Were going to hitchhike
up to the mountains
Up to the finest resorts
we have ever seen.
When I was a kid
in the mountains,
I would
and I would get a lot
of laughs
with Hitler.
And a few Jews, after
the show, would say:
You know, thats not
in such good taste.
You know
And Id say
I dont care.
I really dont give a shit
whats in good taste.
No comedian
in the Catskills
would come and tell jokes
about the Holocaust.
They would
string this guy up.
You know what I was
careful about, honestly?
I would do this a lot
but I wouldnt
the swastika.
Not for a while,
not till I did The Producers.
Humor healed us,
especially in the Catskills.
We would go
and my mother would laugh like
I had never seen her laugh.
There was a
because you know it was like a
kind of community
where they felt safe,
and they werent the Other.
I started writing jokes
for stand-up comedians
who played in the
Catskill Mountains.
I was 21,
they were like 50,
I was a generation
removed from that.
Jokes about your
wives in those days,
Terrible! Did you hear
about the man in room 302,
he came back and found his best
friend in bed with his wife.
He said, Morris, I
have to, but you?
I would write
some jokes for them,
how my uncle was an all
year-round camperat Auschwitz.
And they would
laugh in the car,
or the band would laugh,
but theres not a
chance in hell
that you could tell
that to an audience.
I was very brave then.
Maybe Im not so brave now, but
I was very brave then, because
it was in questionable taste
in 1948
when I worked in the
Two years or three years
after the end of the war,
to be doing uh
Hitler bits.
Time makes a difference.
Obviously no one cares if
you make Inquisition jokes.
The Inquistion, let's begin
The Inquistion, look out sin
We have a mission
to convert the Jews
Had I done
The Inquisition
as a movie in 1492,
I wouldve been in
a lot of trouble.
But enough time had gone by
Dont be boring
Five centuries had gone by,
and so
it was okay.
Its better to lose
your skullcap than your skull
Oy gevalt!
Somebody once said,
Tragedy plus time
equals comedy.
And I always felt
like why wait?
Steve Allen, Lenny Bruce,
Ive seen all kinds of people
given credit for
that comment.
I dont know that thats
necessarily true,
and I dont know what
that time limit is.
I dont know
Time opens up
different avenues of
of thought and acceptance.
Danke schoen,
darling, danke schoen
Thank you for
all the joy and pain
Picture shows,
second balcony
was the place
we'd meet
Second seat,
go Dutch treat,
you were sweet
Danke schoen,
darling, danke schoen
Thank you for seeing me again
Though we go on
our separate ways
Shabbat Shalom everybody.
Welcome Renee,
havent seen you for a while
Im glad youre finally here.
Thank you.
And now I have the honor and the
pleasure of introducing you to
Deb Filler
Shalom aleikhem!
My name is Deb Filler,
and my father was a
survivor of the Holocaust,
the Shoah.
Dad always felt isolated,
being in New Zealand.
So one of the things
that he used to do was
turn on the TV and say,
Thats Barbara
Eden, shes Jewish.
And thats Captain Spock,
the guy with the pointy
ears, hes Jewish.
And thats Cat
Stevens, hes Jewish.
And Id say Dad,
Cat Stevens? What are
you talking about,
hes not Jewish.
Hed say Yeah,
sure hes Jewish.
His name was probably Steven
Katz and he switched it.
Anyway, so my father,
he would always like to change
everything into Yiddish.
So, what about
No maidel, no kvetch
Oh, Im sorry, Im not
going to do that.
Gerhardt, you said you saw it in
the camps my father saw it too
that there was a
in the camps to make a joke
or a sketch or a laugh.
Is it possible that its
There were people that were
naturally humorous,
the way they behaved.
Like, when the SS guard
came, the Kapo carried on
you shouldve heard him,
like, the next minute he
was going to murder us all.
And when the SS
guard left,
Go ahead! he said,
do what you want!
We were laughing.
We were all
without humor I dont think
we would have survived.
Sorry, I didnt find
any humor
at all,
just sadness
and tragedy.
I dont know whats funny about
anything about the Holocaust.
I was
a child survivor,
so I didnt suffer like some
of the older people here
Its hard for me to understand
how they could see the
humor in the Holocaust?
Or do you mean after
the Holocaust?
There were funny incidents
that happened after,
I can tell you a whole
bunch of those.
But uh, during
the time you were
deprived of a normal
human life?
I cant even imagine that.
oh oh wha dooba dooba doobab
Cantare, oh oh
oh oh
oh oh oh
Did you enjoy that?
Uh I like to hear the song,
but I could not enjoy it.
Why not? With an Italian
singing a beautiful song?
Because I remember for so many
who were perished and they
cannot enjoy this
beautiful place.
But, you know you survived!
Youre alive!
How can you not have
pleasure out of the fact
that you survived?
Always I remember
the children screaming
the selection
You know, that
is like in our
You cannot forget! You cannot
No, no, no no!
You cannot live in the
shadow of those cries.
You have to remember it.
But you cannot live
in those shadows!
I dont live in the shadow,
but the shadow is following
me all of my life.
You know I speak about the
Holocaust all the time,
but I enjoy life.
Im so
happy that I have three
great grandchildren.
Could Hitler
that I will survive and have
three great-grandchildren?
I mean, thats my
Weve struck gold!
Kiss it, kiss it. KISSING SOUND
You found a flop.
A flop? Thats
putting it mildly.
We found a disaster,
a catastrophe,
an outrage, a guaranteed to
close in one night beauty.
Lets see it!
- Theres no subtleties
when it comes to the Holocaust.
The deeper you go
with the humor,
the more
revengeful it is.
Hes wearing a German helmet.
Shhh! Dont say
anything to offend him!
Mel Brooks talked about it.
Revenge through
Im not responsible, I
only followed orders!
- So by making these jokes,
its the Jewish way of
getting through it.
You know, Mel Brooks always
said about The Producers, that
he was ridiculing
by ridiculing the Nazis he
was taking away their power.
The Producers was
It was called Springtime
for Hitler,
and Joe
Levine said,
I cant put that
on the marquee,
I cant sell it.
- Thank You.
Springtime for Hitler?
So early after the war?
Hitler Auditions
Nazis dancing?
Hitler Auditions
I got a lot of mail,
from Jews
How could you do this?
How could we
see Hitler,
how could you show the
swastika, how could you?
SINGING Springtime for
Hitler and Germany
Springtime for Hitler!
My God!
The audience
was like
Thats pretty much what I
think a lot of people thought
at the time.
It was a lot of people
...faster pace.
...look out here comes
the Master race...
But then after a while
you get the joke,
you understand whats
funny about it.
When 'The Producers' was
a movie,
it was daring.
Goosesteps the new step today
The whole essence of the
joke of The Producers was,
how could you possibly think
that a musical about Hitler
was acceptable?
That was the whole
McGuffin of the picture.
By the time it gets to Broadway,
a movie about a spectacular
Broadway failure
because it was in such bad
taste becomes a Broadway hit
because its not in
bad taste anymore!
- Well,
talk about bad taste!
The passage of time alone
has made it so kind
of, almost
People sing along with
Springtime for Hitler,
theres no revulsion.
If it had been
Springtime for Saddam Hussein
when it appeared on Broadway,
it would have had
the original kick.
Good afternoon.
My name is Renee,
and I am a Holocaust survivor.
I was supposed to go
through those chimneys
like my family, my friends.
Every morning I
wake up I ask, Why me?
Why did I escape
those chimneys?
I have no idea.
There were no seats
in the cattle cars.
And it was packed with people.
Do you know that while
we are sitting here
a genocide is going on?
Thats why I am here.
This almost looks comfortable.
In 1933,
when I was
nine years old,
I went to my father
and I asked,
Is it possible
that this man is
claiming that he is gonna
kill all of
And my father said,
Dont listen to that
Dont you see he looks
like Charlie Chaplin?
Hes going to be out
of office in no time.
Well my father was wrong.
They packed us into cattle cars.
Thousands and
thousands of people
pouring out of this train.
My parents disappeared
in the crowd,
my sister was crying.
Its hard to imagine
how it really looked.
The Nazi officer,
holding on to vicious dogs,
taps me on the
shoulder and he says,
You go.
So I am moving with my sister,
holding on, he stops my sister.
He keeps looking at
me, looking at her
Well, I happen to have long
blonde hair and blue eyes.
My little sister looks
completely different.
Dark brown hair,
piercing black eyes.
And I grabbed my sister
and I yelled, Run!
Here is the picture
of my Aunt Klara,
who Im
named after.
And here is the paper that my
mother found at Auschwitz,
in the archives,
that shows that she
was experimented on.
When I found those papers I also
found the doctor who actually
experimented on her.
And the following day
we flew to Munich and
I met the doctor
and confronted him
with that paper.
And he said, Oh, we did
only harmless experiments.
And I said, Well Doctor, if
they were harmless experiments,
why did she
And he had the audacity
to turn to me
and to say,
Well, we couldnt send her back
to the camp
to tell everybody what we were
so we had to get rid of her.
Thats how
I found,
53 years after
liberation, how I found
that my sister was shot after
they experimented on her.
- Is that who I think it is?
- Uh, yes, thats Adolf
Hitler in a home movie.
- Looks like Mel Brooks.
- Anything I could do to deflate
anythingI did.
Peeping Times, home
movies of Hitler.
I was there with Eva Braun.
What did you do?
It was a bug.
A bug? You killed a bug?
You killed the bug?
A living thing?
You just take its life away?
She said Its just a bug!
It doesnt matter
I said Well, why dont
you ask the bugs family,
how they feel?
You just dont kill things!
Whats the matter with you?
You can do jokes about Nazis,
but if you say
then it becomes, uh, bad taste.
Thats the thing, theres
tons of Nazi jokes,
its like, theres nothing
taboo about making a Nazi joke
- Schultz!
- You Dummkopp.
Bugs Bunny was
making fun of Nazis,
the Three Stooges were
making fun of Nazis,
yhe Marx Brothers were
making fun of Nazis.
And this was during
World War II!
- Heil Hitler!
- Heil Hitler!
- Heil Hitler!
- Heil Hitler!
- Heil myself!
Anyone who is in a position
of extreme authority
is great to make fun of,
because theyre pompous. heres an arrogance to
being in that position.
- Humor is the
weapon of the weak.
- Think about the things
that we make jokes about.
- We make jokes about our
bosses. We make jokes about
death. You know, when I
was in the army we made
jokes about our commanders.
they could just order us to do
whatever they wanted us to do.
- Nazi jokes, easy.
- Making fun of bad people,
easy. Making fun of good
or tragedy, thats whats hard.
So making a Holocaust joke
about the act of the Holocaust
in general, and the event,
is really difficult.
Do you have a Holocaust joke,
do you have a Holocaust joke
Gee, I dont know any
Holocaust jokes.
Do you know any
Holocaust jokes?
No. I cant go there. I cant
I personally,
who has done a musical
called The Inquisition,
with Jews floating around and
being dunked in
water and tortured
I cannot go there.
Well, to me, you dont
have a Holocaust joke.
You have a joke about dating,
you have a joke about politics,
you have... the jokes always
about something else
for me
the jokes always about
something else, and
then the punchline
is the shocker.
Thats when you mention
Hitler, or the Holocaust
or, you know.
Auschwitz is a funny punchline
not a funny topic, but
a funny punchline.
You dont want to walk
out on stage and go,
Hows your Friday night going
Lets talk about Auschwitz!
Thats not gonna fly.
No ones getting laid
after that show.
A great joke
really does trump all rules.
But its got to
be a great joke,
and the higher the stakes
the higher the standard for
how good the joke has to be.
It has to be funny,
if youre going to cross the
line, you better be funny!
Of course it has to be funny!
Otherwise its not a joke.
A joke about a
mother-in-law can be
that good and pass muster.
But a joke about this
stuff has to be like,
you know,
youre ashamed that
you laughed at it,
but youre laughing
because its like,
you cant
help yourself.
Ill never forget, I actually
did have this thought,
and comedians do have these
that go really overboard, and I
Could I ever tell anyone this?
And Im thinking, If I
had this thought someone
else mustve had this thought.
But I was at
one point
watching footage
of one of the concentration
camps being liberated
on one
of the history,
you know, World War II
And so Im watching
this video of
a concentration camp
being liberated
and I actually thought
to myself, Now
If I was standing on line
naked for the gas chambers
would I hold my stomach in?
- I have a joke in
my act now about
making love to my girlfriend,
and shes so beautiful I always
have an orgasm too fast.
And I said, Well, what
if we had a code word,
something you whisper
in my ear to make me
forget about having an orgasm,
just to last a little longer.
And she said, Well what do you
want your code word to be?
And I just thought of the worst
thing I could think of and said,
I dont know, just
say, Holocaust.
And the next day were
making love in the morning,
and shes so beautiful and
so lovely after two minutes,
Im about to have an orgasm
and suddenly she
whispers in my ear,
she says, I cant believe
those poor six million Jews
who died in the ovens at
And I was like, What the
hell are you talking about?
I didnt want a Wikipedia
printout right now!
this should be good, Sarah
on the Holocaust
I always know when its
Hitlers birthday.
They announce it on
Entertainment Tonight.
Right before they go to
commercial you see a silhouette
and then they say,
This man is responsible for the
deaths of six million Jews.
Is it Ted Danson?
Patrick Duffy?
My lesbian niece, their
whole family is very Jewy,
and she called me up
and she was like,
Aunt Sarah,
did you know that Hitler
killed sixty million Jews?
And I
corrected her and I
Ya know, I think, um,
I think hes responsible
for killing
six million Jews.
And she said Oh
yeah, six million,
I knew that, but seriously, I
mean, whats the difference?
The difference is,
sixty million is
unforgivable, young lady.
- Is six million forgivable?
- Well, thats the joke.
- I believe
that if black people were in
Germany during World War II
that the Holocaust would
have never happened.
I do. Or, not to Jews.
Maybe true.
Somebody might bring up,
how far
are comics
allowed to go?
Are they allowed to go as
far as Sarah Silverman?
Finally, a Lifetime Achievement
Award for Mel Brooks.
Wow! What an elegant
way to say,
Hey! Lets wrap it up.
She made a joke about
the Holocaust.
- What do the Jews hate
most about the Holocaust?
- What?
- The cost!
I couldnt, you know
I couldnt believe it.
I did laugh, I have
to admit I laughed.
But maybe the time has
for that joke,
and it works.
I dont think that 25
years ago
that joke probably wouldve
gotten the biggest whoa!
of all time.
- Heidi Klum!
- Wooow
The last time a German
looked this hot
was when they were pushing
Jews into the ovens.
Its funnyI
wouldntve said it!
I couldnt have said it!
It doesnt mean that it
isnt funny.
Even the rhythm is good. But, uh
you know, I dont want to
you know, its
its in terrible taste,
I mean its dreadful.
its funny! And
I admire her guts,
I couldnt do it,
I wouldnt do it.
I mean, she was kind of
making fun of the Germans,
I guess?
How about, like, its
just a funny joke
and youre allowed to laugh and
youre allowed to
turn the channel.
So if you dont want
this kind of humor
move along.
Ill take 20th Century
History, Adolf.
- The cause of the
sinking of the Titanic.
- Uh, what is an iceberg?
No, Im sorry! The correct
response is,
What were the Jews.
- Hello, Mr. Alexander
- This is really inappropriate,
his is offensive!
Im sorry, I cant I
cant follow this.
Im sorry, I cant go on.
- Didnt you do Nazi
stuff on Seinfeld?
That was an entirely
different situation.
I think Jerry Seinfeld
has been known to say
that Standards & Practices
helped him make
a funnier show because
you cant
go the easy route.
You were making out
during Schindlers List?!
Its harder to conceptually
contain yourself
within the boundaries
and still truly be funny
and Seinfeld to me is
the classic example.
Medium turkey chili.
The one regret I do have
of all of the years
at Standards,
in terms of Holocaust humor,
is the Soup Nazi.
- I didnt get any bread.
- Just forget it, let it go.
I think the notion of Nazi
being used as a
very mild pejorative
does trivialize that experience.
And I had no clue at the time
that that would
enter the lexicon
the way that it has.
I dont see the
society collapsing
as a result of the Soup Nazi.
- No soup for you!
Thats Larrys skill, to be able
to find the way into a subject
that makes it
palatable to people.
So is that even a
taboo at that point?
You know, thats the question.
the Rabbi said hes bringing
a survivor tomorrow.
Should I have my father
bring his friend Solly?
- yeah.
Do survivors like
seeing each other?
Well, when I first
saw the outline
for the Survivor episode
you know, theres a
theres a gut reaction that
I have to certain things.
The Holocaust is one of them.
Theres a sensitivity.
Im Jewish, you know.
They could come back and
wipe me and my family out.
And, you know, so
theres always a little
ungh that you feel, this
little thing up your spine.
So? Wheres the other survivor?
So here we are in a
region of Australia
where of the worlds ten
most deadly snakes,
nine of
them inhabit this region.
It was harrowing.
- Thats a very
interesting story.
I was in a concentration camp.
You never even suffered
one minute in your life compared
to what I went through!
All survivors talk like that?
- Mom wait, I cant hear.
Look, Im saying we spent
42 days trying to survive.
We had very little
rations, no snacks
- Snacks?
What are you talking, snacks?
We didnt eat,
sometimes for a week!
Did you guys have a bathroom?
A bathroom?!
We didnt have one.
We had 12 people at a time
Dont aggravate yourself here.
You dont know nothing about
survival. Im a survivor!
- Im a survivor!
- Im a survivor!
- Im a survivor!
- Im a survivor!
-Im a survivor!
I dont think this is funny.
We expect more
from Jews,
a greater sensitivity, and
maybe thats not fair.
I understand why were laughing.
Why are they laughing?
What are they laughing at?
Now come on, your
money or your life!
Jack Benny!
Jack Benny probably
the stereotype of the
cheap Jew in ways
that anti-Semites
couldnt have achieved
because more people watched his
show than watched anything else.
Was that his intention?
Absolutely not.
But every time
he said it,
and because he was Jewish,
he gave it credibility.
I said, your money or your life!
Im thinking it over!
How you do it
makes a difference.
If you do it with care,
with love, with respect,
its more
its not comfortable, but
its more acceptable.
This is song called In My
Country There is Problem.
In my country there is problem
And that problem is transport
If youre laughing at something,
its tapping something
in your subconscious,
some embarrassment you have,
some inhibition you have.
And then the taboo joke
allows you to
of purge, and have a catharsis.
In my country there is problem
And that problem is the Jew
They take everybodys money
They never give it back
People need
thatsubconsciously they need
they have that need to sort
of tap that dark part,
that id-like part
of their psyche.
Throw the Jew down the well
So my country can be free
You must grab him by his horns
Then we have a big party
Sacha Baron Cohen says,
I am exposing, I am
airing prejudice.
The only problem is,
that the people that are
arent laughing at the prejudice
theyre applauding
the prejudice!
When the joke is Throw
the Jews down the well!
Kill the Jews a)
its not funny.
But even if it was funny,
theyre applauding it!
Throw the Jew down the well
So my country can be free
So my country can be free
You must grab him by his horns
You must grab him by his horns
Then we have a big party
dialogue or disagreement
with Sacha Baron Cohen
really goes back to Archie
Oh no, oh no,
Im going to sue that guy.
First thing in the morning
Im going to get myself
a good Jew lawyer.
Archie, do you always
have to label people?
Why cant you just get a lawyer,
why does it have to
be a Jewish lawyer?
Cause if Im going
to sue an Arab,
Im going to get a guy
whos full of hate.
Our feeling was, you have made
Archie Bunker
a hero.
Theyre not laughing at him,
theyre laughing with him.
There were people who
agreed with Archie,
there were people who
agreed with Mike.
And I think thats what
made the show interesting
and what made it good.
You know, we always made fun
of Archie, we as liberals,
and so we thought that they
were laughing at that.
But I think even the people
who agreed with Archie
realized he was a
bit of a buffoon,
a bit of an idiot.
You cant control
how your joke will be
You know
I had a friend Tom Gianas
who would call it mouth
full of blood laughs.
You know, where theyre
laughing at the wrong thing
And thats hard, but
its just no longer yours.
My nana was a
survivor of the Holocaustor,
Im sorry, alleged Holocaust.
she had the tattoo, you know,
the number, and
thank God she was
at one of the better
concentration camps.
She had a vanity number, it said
Bedazzled. Which
is kind of fun.
You know, I talked
about the Holocaust
and I said the
alleged Holocaust
and thats a joke about
Holocaust deniers.
And uhm
you know, a
sophisticated audience
would understand that
maybe a less
sophisticated audience
may not. Im not saying
that Im sophisticated.
But uhm,
what are the dangers of that?
That maybe a group of people
will think that the Holocaust
didnt happen?
I think thats worth the risk
I think its worth the risk.
- Oh my goodness, Joan.
- I am so sorry Im late,
and I apologize.
- Why were you late?
- Yeah, this is, I waited for
you too long.
- I beg your pardon.
They sent this big stretch
Mercedes limo for us and
it got stuck, it wouldnt move
for two and a half hours,
and Im thinking, you know, the
Germans killed six million Jews,
you cant fix a fucking
You know, its tough,
shes not here to
defend herself, although
she defended herself
strong enough for a long time.
There are some people, including
the Anti- Defamation League,
who said your joke was
How do you respond to that?
- Its a joke, number one.
Number two it was
about the Holocaust,
thats the way I remind
people about the Holocaust.
I do it with
Her defense was nonsense.
Forgive me Joan, but
it was nonsense.
To say this is how you brought
attention to the Holocaust?
My god,
this is how
you made it nothing.
I know that its a
real fear in people
that the Holocaust
would be forgotten.
Has it not been forgotten?
There are genocides all
over the world happening
and were not doing anything.
Theyre just not
happening to Jews.
Might be something
to think about when youre
getting mad at Joan Rivers
for making a joke about
the Holocaust which
at least is keeping it,
for lack of a
better word, alive.
Join me at the sports lodge
where Im going to be unveiling
my very own Holocaust
Ive got a real person
who was at Auschwitz,
plus we have a dunk tank,
plus weve got a lion
Dont be fooled by imitation
Holocaust memorials,
come to mine,
Sarah Silvermans
Holocaust Memorial.
Auschwitz? Youll be
saying Wowschwitz!
- Hi.
- Good morning, how are you?
- Im okay.
I need a red
rose, can I get one?
Yes, yes sure.
One single red rose?
Oh my god.
- Here you go.
How much is it?
- Oh, no, no, no charge.
Both of us were survivors,
but both of us
realized we are alive
and we have to go on
You cant die while
you are alive
and think of the dark side
of life all the time.
You just cant.
You cant survive that way.
bring a rose because thats what
he used to bring me every day,
one rose.
I will never
forget that.
CLEARS HER THROA Whenever I remember I cry,
and whenever I
dont remember
I laugh, or smile.
And Im glad that Im
able to smile and laugh.
It wouldve been a
horrible life for me
for 70 years
just cry,
and to raise my daughter.
She was a baby, I had
to laugh with her,
I had to smile
with her.
This was Klara,
I dont know, maybe 12 years
old, 10 years old, I dont know.
I think she was very cute,
she was a little dancer.
This was in
when I came to the
United States.
I had to make her understand
that life was good,
I didnt want her to mourn
with me the rest of her life.
So, you learn to do what
you have to do to live,
to survive.
To protect his family,
this loving father
has to think fast on his feet.
To turn the hard truth
into a simple game.
Life is Beautiful.
Life is Beautiful is the
worst movie ever made.
Seriously, the blurb should be,
He puts the ha
in Holocaust.
To make a comedy
about a concentration camp
and avoid what
really went on there
well, its a great trick but
its absolutely ludicrous.
He laughs and jokes
and kids around,
and thats how everything
turns out okay.
Life is Beautiful is
absolutely brilliant.
It portrays to a new audience
that you can take
but you can then get
their attention,
bring them in, and yet to
deliver the message
of the horror.
look, I
I survived the Holocaust because
my parents did the unthinkable:
in order to save me
they gave me away.
did I not understand
Life is Beautiful,
when this father
does all these crazy things
to protect his child
from the horrors around him?
Its not a comedy,
its not a farce.
It's, It's, It's,
Its such a sense of
And yet
I understood when there were
survivors who said, No,
its unacceptable.
I would think Jerry Lewis
would see Life is Beautiful as a
shittier version of The
Day the Clown Cried.
Theres a movie Jerry
Lewis made called
The Day the Clown Cried
where hes a clown
whos put into a
concentration camp
and his job is to
entertain the children
as theyre being pushed
into the gas chambers.
No ones seen it
I mean, human beings have
seen it, not many, I know
Harry Shearer infamously
is one of the very few
people whos seen it.
I am one of the
handful of people
I dont
even know if its a handful,
it may be two fingers.
A rough cut had
become available.
It was
a startling experience
Its a material that youd
have to be so sublimely
careful with
whether youre being
funny or not.
The idea itself
is not
laughably bad.
Jerry Lewis wrote the script,
just tonally its
all over the place.
At times its Life is Beautiful,
and at times its
Dumb and Dumber.
It sort of luxuriated in
this mawkish sentimentality
which just made it ludicrous.
I think I said said that it was
like seeing a
Tijuana velvet clown
painting of the Holocaust.
As you might imagine
hes not proud of it.
I dont think hes under some
delusion that its a work of art
that, you know, is being
suppressed by
big, you know, uhm
It just wasnt his time man,
he was too ahead of his time.
If he had waited 25 years
then, yeah,
hed be bounding over the those
seats, grabbing his Oscar.
If youre trying to be serious
about a matter like this
it could be just as dangerous
in the wrong hands as
being funny about it.
To people who say,
Dont make these jokes cause
theyre in the wrong hands,
like, whose hands are right?
If comics cant point out
whats ridiculous in the world,
and the tragic in this world,
who else is going
to point it out?
Heres someone whos not Jewish,
Lisa Lampanelli at the
David Hasselhoff roast.
David Hasselhoff is a legend!
I giant in
television and music.
David, your singing is
huge in Germany.
If they had played your
music in Auschwitz
the Jews wouldve
sprinted for those ovens.
I dont think its funny.
I think the initial
when a non-Jew makes
a Holocaust joke
is that theyre making
fun of the Holocaust,
and who are you to
make fun of of that?
You werent there,
you werent affected, okay?
We were and we are allowed
to joke about it, okay?
Just like um
African Americans are allowed
to say certain words that
God forbida big Jew from Long
Island, if I said it, Id get
my ass in trouble.
Jews have their turf, gay
people have their turf,
black people have their turf.
And when people
transgress those turfs,
you can run
into problems.
I aint never been
in a barbershop
and heard a bunch of
brothers talking about Jews.
Black people dont hate Jews
black people hate white people.
We dont got time to dice white
people into little groups!
I hate everybody!
I have a really hard time
whos going
to get offended by what.
Culture shifts, and the words
or the taboo subject shifts as
well. Its no longer a taboo.
You can make
fun of Lincolns assassination,
you can make fun of
the crucifixion
crucifixionyou cant
make fun of Mohammed.
Thats still a taboo
you know. And thats truly a
taboo subject
because if you do make fun of if
theres a good chance
someones going to throw a
bomb through your window
like the Danish cartoonists.
Uh, I want to say, despite
last weeks
senseless attacks on the French
satirical magazine
Charlie Hebdo,
we all remember Sundays
inspirational march
through Paris.
Millions standing
against terrorism
that made plain the message:
in a free society,
without fear of persecution
is a basic right.
The anti-Semitic
comedian Dieudonn
arrested for incitement
after his Facebook post
that supported the attackers.
He tweeted
Je suis Charlie Coulibaly, the
name of one of the attackers.
Arresting someone for saying
days after a rally supporting
the right of free expression
eeeeeh, its a little weird.
Maybe if we knew more
about the culprit
Dieudonn is very controversial,
he had a tour
canceled last yea
because of this anti- Semitic
routine that he does.
Oh man, this sucks!
Je suis confused.
- When speech gets
censored, its
dangerous because it
makes it more taboo.
Its like Catholic schoolgirls
who are told theyre
going to go to hell
if they have sex
before marriage
end up being slutty
because its all
pent up, fucked up shit.
Miss Hitler:
theyre doing a racist
beauty pageant.
There was a list
of what you need
to qualify to
run for Miss Hitler.
Be polite to your
and you must hate Jews.
But, you know, Im
always pleased
to see things
like that,
and like to point
to them because
I mean, it would be better
if it didnt exist, but
the fact that it does,
its always nice that its
more than just a
gas in the air,
you know?
Its something you can
point to and see.
I think its more effective
when people can go,
Oh my god, thats awful,
and hilarious.
Its awful hilarious.
Has anybody read that Nazis are
going to March in New Jersey,
you know?
I read this in the newspaper.
We should get down there,
get some guys
together, you know,
get some bricks
and baseball bats
and really explain
things to them.
There was this devastating
satirical piece on that
on the op-ed page of Times.
It is devastating.
Well, a satirical piece in
the Times is one thing,
but bricks and baseball bats
really gets right to the point.
Oh, but really biting satire
is always better
than physical force.
No, no, physical force is
always better with Nazis.
Its hard to satirize a
guy with shiny boots.
Goodbye Jews! Goodbye Jews!
Goodbye Jews!
I know how movies are made, so I
know somewhere there is a tape
of like fifty little girls
trying really hard,
trying to get the
goodbye Jews part.
Hi my name is Anne Marie
and Im with William Morris,
Goodbye Jews,
Goodbye Jews.
OK, next.
And then comes the
girl whos amazing,
and her mother has
prepared her for months,
she knows how to
walk in the room:
Hi my name is Louise
and I am really
happy to meet you!
The sun will come
out, tomorrow!
Bet your
We just need the line,
Oh, Im sorry.
I love when people say,
How could you make
Dont you realize what a
ragic situation that is,
how horrible that is?
you aware that?
And I always go,
Uh, yes, I
am aware of that,
and thats where the
jokes stem from.
Are there things that
go over the line?
Yeah Im sure that there are.
You know, uhm,
But I dont know if my kids
will consider it over the line.
I have no line. I mean
I think its a case-bycase
My line is, really,
I think child molestation
as a comedian, thats my line.
Maybe its being a
parent, whatever it is,
theres just nothing
about child molestatio
n or rape that I find funny.
I just dont find it funny.
Somebody can
make it funny
Theres no worse life
available to a human
than being a caught
child molester.
And yet they still do it!
Which you can only
really surmise
that it must be really good.
I mean, from their
point of view.
From theirnot oursbut
from their point of view,
it must be amazing
for them to risk
so much.
Oh, some people dont like
you to talk like that,
some people like to shut you
up for saying those things.
You know that, lots of people,
lots of groups in this country
want to tell you how to talk
want to tell you what you
cant talk about.
Or sometimes theyll say you
can talk about something
but you cant joke about it.
Say you cant joke about
something cause its not funny.
Comedians run into that
shit all the time.
I wrote a Seinfeld script
where Elaine buys a gun.
We cast it,
we started building the
and NBC said, You
cant make that show.
That was more
controversial to them
than the masturbation episode,
the idea that Elaine
would go and buy a gun
to protect herself at that time,
which was in the early 90s.
Ironically still extremely
relevant today,
you know.
And one of the reasons
its relevant,
one of the reasons
its still taboo,
is because it really
hasnt been dealt with,
it hasnt been
delved into.
I dont know, I think it
it really depends on how
Like 9/11?
Not funny.
Is that you?
Its, uh,
its Eddie Silverman,
hes my, uh, brother-in-law.
He, uh,
he died on September
Oh my gosh.
Oh, Im so sorry.
Yeah, terrible.
He was in the building?
No, no, he was uptown
on 57th Street.
He got hit by a bike messenger.
You know, you had a desperate
feeling after 9/11 that
comedy was over.
No one in my generation
had experienced that.
And I even called my manager,
Bernie Brillstein at the time,
and hes a Hollywood legend,
and he was sort of
speechless, he didnt
know where to go.
And when the old people
dont know what to do
you start to get nervous.
There was a weird feeling
like, Ooh therell never
be comedy ever again.
Sounds crazy now, but
that was the feeling
9/12, 9/13, 9/14, 9/15.
gigs were cancelled
It was like being a
pilot after 9/11
in a way, where you were like,
Am I out of work? Are
we going to fly again?
Saturday Night Live cancelled
a showI wasnt with the show,
Im just a viewer at this point
and their first live show back
they had Giuliani on,
and I remember Lorne
looking at him,
and he says, Are we
allowed to be funny?
Why start now?
Lornes asking that
was so in the moment.
Had enough time passed?
Live! From...
Clearly not enough
time had passed.
But the laugh that it
got was such a release.
It was cathartic and healing.
Bernard used to make the
morning coffee for me.
Ever since he died,
I sleep with the television on.
And I remember I woke up
early in the morning
I heard the commentator saying
a plane just hit
one of the towers.
I couldnt believe... I was
wide awake right away,
needless to say, and
I thought to myself,
How lucky for Bernard that
he doesnt hear these terrible
things that are happening
today in the world.
You know, I just came
back from Rwanda.
The stories I heard there
also, just unimaginable.
We think the Holocaust
was the worst thing
that ever
The fact is that,
you know, the Holocaust
lasted twelve years.
Within those twelve years,
six million Jews
were murdered
in the Holocaust.
In Rwanda,
within four months,
one million Tutsis were
So, you know, if
you think about it
And this is after
the Holocaust,
when we keep saying
Never again?
So thats where
we are.
Now we got the Freedom Tower
They should change the name
from the Freedom Tower
to the Never Going
In There Tower.
Because Im never
going in there.
In the same spot they
put another skyscraper?
Does this building duck?
What were they thinking?
Whos the corporate
sponsor, Target?
Subjects come up that are
seemingly inappropriate
for comedy,
and thats the place thats the
most interesting to explore.
If you can find humor
in things that are absolutely
not funny
by most traditional standards,
you are mining material
thats kind of fresh.
What seems to be the problem?
Ive contracted AIDS.
How did you get that?
From an African prostitute.
Do you mind if I interject
for a second? Sorry.
I just think its
getting quite heavy,
this sketch, and I just
wonder if perhaps,
just for the sake of comedy,
from an African
prostitute, just.
Knock knock.
Hi, what seems to
be the problem?
As I said before, Ive
got full-blown AIDS.
You want to know how I got it?
From a well-known
homosexual actor.
Again, though, I just
think cancer, though,
and AIDS, and famine,
are just not really
subjects for comedy.
Well, why does he get
away with it then?
We dont know.
Thats to me the
definition of true taboo,
when there are
consequences as a result.
When people just laugh and
then go back to doing
what they were doing
thats not really taboo.
Thats socially acceptable...
provocative perhaps,
but socially acceptable.
Back in the slave days,
I wouldve never been single
Im six feet tall and Im
strong, Colin, STRONG!
I mean, look at me,
Im a mandingo!
Master wouldve hooked me up
with the best brother
on the plantation.
And every nine months Id be in
the corner having a superbaby.
Every nine months!
Every nine months Id
just be in the corner
just popping them out.
Just: Shaq!... Kobe!...
Its okay to say
these things on TV,
- LeBron!
- through the broadcast media
Theyre letting you say it.
If they really felt
it was dangerous,
if they really
felt it was taboo,
then you wouldnt
be able to say it.
The following piece
contains gratuitous use of
the N word.
And by N word,
I mean
Excuse me, we are looking
for Clayton Bigsby.
Look no further,
fella, you found him.
How could this have happened?
A black white
He was the only Negro
wed ever had around here,
so we figured wed
make it easier
by just telling
him he was white.
Niggers, Jews, homosexuals,
Mexicans, Arabs,
and all kinds of
different Chinks stink!
All these things Ive
been talking about,
all the things that
Ive worked on,
were not truly transgressing.
As long as
the powers that
be let us do it,
it means we havent
Im glad you guys laughed at
that, that does not always work.
I mean, nothing works
100% of the time, right?
Except Mexicans, Ive
Thats the one? Boo!
Right, Boo, Mexicans!
I hear you, you guys are
preaching to the choir.
When they throw me in
jail for making Borat,
then you know weve dealt
with a taboo subject.
Here he is, a very
shocking comedian,
the most shocking
comedian of our time,
a young man who is
skyrocketing to fame:
Lenny Bruce!
By the way, are there any
niggers here tonight?
What did he say?
Are there any niggers
here tonight?
What, is he so desperate
for shock value?
Ah, I think I see one
nigger couple back there
between those two niggers
and three kikes.
You have two
spics, one mick
three kikes, and one spunky,
funky honky.
The point
if President Kennedy got
on television
every day and said,
I would like to introduce all
the niggers in my cabinet.
And every day you heard,
Nigger, nigger, nigger,
nigger, nigger,
nigger would lose its impact
and then it would never make
any four-year old nigger cry
when he came home from school.
I couldnt get over what it was
to listen to Lenny Bruce.
You were hearing
ideas that you knew
were accurate.
He talked about Jesus,
talked about black people,
talked about gay people
when no one was doing it.
And in Chicago, Mayor Daley
very Catholic city
they threw him off the stage,
put him in jail.
This is the defendant
Lenny Bruce
charged in two separate counts,
giving an indecent performance
all performances were
obscene, indecent,
immoral and impure.
In the
latter two performances,
words such as ass,
balls, cocksucker, cunt,
fuck, motherfucker, piss,
screw, shit, and tits
were used about one hundred
times in utter obscenity.
Sometimes its important
to be ahead of society.
Just because its uncomfortable
doesnt mean that
its the wrong thing.
Sometimes it means its
exactly the right thing.
I think were at a point now
the bar is
really low.
And in a strange way, I
think its a good thing.
I think it helps us remember.
Lets see, did we look
at Ricky Gervais?
I watch hours on end
of the History Channel
and Discovery Channel now,
just back and forth,
like six hour stints of History
Channel, Discovery Channel,
back and forth. Ask me anything
about sharks and Nazis.
The sharks an amazing creature.
It can taste and smell
the slightest human secretion
of blood and sweat,
one part in a billion,
from a mile away.
A shark wouldve found Anne
Frank like that
I actually dont know
how this has happened,
but in the last five
years, seven years,
all of a
its been open season
on Anne Frank.
She had time to write a
novel, for Christs sake.
It ends a bit abruptly,
and no sequel lazy.
Theres this book,
Hope: A Tragedy about
Anne Frank.
She survived, shes pissed
off, she wrote this diary
that sold 32 million copies,
she didnt get a nickel,
and here she is: shes
writing a novel and
shes not leaving
this guys attic
until shes done with the novel.
Took a while writing the scene
where he first meets Anne Frank.
How dare you say youre
Anne Frank, thats an insult
to the deaths of whoever,
of millions of people,
I had relatives who died there,
and she says,
First of all I, I didnt
die in Auschwitz, jackass,
I was in
and by the way,
about all those family
members you lost?
and she pulls up her sleeve
and shows her numbers.
And the line was, Blow
me said Anne Frank.
I remember I stopped writing and
I immediately called
my wife and I said,
I think I know what
this book is about.
And then I immediately
called my shrink.
The outrage that some people had
because he made Anne Frank
this crusty old lady!
The book I wrote before this
was all about my
relationship with God,
and I got a certain
amount of shit for it.
But among Jewish people,
you can shit on God before
you can shit on Anne Frank.
Shh! Mr. Kitty you
have to be quiet
or else theyre gonna find you.
We have greed and guilt
and wars and genocides and
theres nothing we
can do about it.
Ive read Gods answers,
Ive read Spinozas
answerstheres no answer.
Theyre both dead.CHUCKLES
And so the only way
I can deal with
the reality of existence
is to laugh at it.
My mother would always
bring up the Holocaust.
For you I lived through Hitler,
you cant make the bed?
I said, Ma, you ran
through the forest
after finding out
your whole family
got killed in gas chambers
Ma, how did you do it?
And she said, It
was no vacation.
You know, that was
how my mother spoke.
Well, when I was about
18 years old my father came
home from a business trip,
and we run to him, Daddy
what did you bring?
Thats all we were interested,
that he came home,
that wasnt important,
but what did he bring?
So that happened
in Hungary too?
Yes, of course. So
he opens this box
and out of this box comes this
most beautiful bathing suit.
It had a satin, shiny finish,
most beautiful floral print.
And I remember parading
around in this bathing suit,
around the swimming pool.
And the boys whistled at me,
and my girlfriends are
making, you know,
nasty remarks, they
were very jealous.
And when they came and
escorted out of the home,
I put this bathing
suit under my dress,
I put it on. I thought
nobody will know.
And thats how I left,
and thats how I
arrived to Auschwitz.
I just couldnt take this
bathing suit off my body.
We were supposed to get
undressed, to take a shower.
Then all of a sudden
I felt heat on my face.
One of the Nazi
soldiers slapped me.
I started to cry.
And I peeled this bathing
suit off my body,
I folded it very neatly,
and I left it on the
pile of my clothing.
And with that
bathing suit,
I didnt only leave
those memories,
I also left my family,
my friends,
my neighbors,
and six million Jews
So this bathing suit
is always on my mind.
I was going to eat that
whole cheese Danish.
Here, you eat it now.
Here, here, you deserve it.
Oh my God.
This is Fresh Air,
Im Terry Gross.
My guest is Israeli
writer Etgar Keret
Hes written a new collection
of personal essays
about the seven years
between his sons birth
and his fathers death.
His father survived the
Holocaust by
living in a hole
with his parents
for nearly two years.
I asked my father, How
come youre such a happy,
and optimistic, and
believing man?
And my father thought for a
second and he said, You know,
I have a theory
that every person
in this world is
the world champion
in something.
But the tragedy is that
most of us never discover what
were really good at, you know?
You could be an amazing tennis
player but
play the piano, you know?
And with me, he said, it
was only during the war
that I discovered
my true talent.
And he said Im extremely
good at sleeping.
And what happened was
when we were in that
hole in the ground, I slept.
And every once in a
while I would wake up
and I would say to my father,
Father, is the war over?
and he said No, and I would
go and sleep some more.
My parents told the
stories of the Holocaust
in a very matter-of-fact way.
And I think there was a
comfort level for them
because they had lived through
the Holocaust, they had survived
they had lost
not just lost loved ones, but in
many cases literally were forced
to watch loved
ones being killed.
They went to the
Sophies choices,
they went through all
of that and yet came
out at the other end
and came to America.
I think for the
children, however,
that for many of us,
the experience of hearing
those stories
and not having lived
through them meant that
we did not vanquish the demons.
The demons just got larger in
our collective imaginations,
in our individual
and there was a real
fear around it.
I found a way to tell my
family story in a joyful way,
in an optimistic way. But
my family was a disaster.
A broken family.
My father, when he talked about
they years of the Holocaust,
he said,
These were the worst
years of my life,
but they were years of my life.
The first girl I ever kissed,
first cigarette I ever smoked.
There was very much the
notion that we made it,
everyone who made it was part
of the survivor community,
and the obligation
was to live well, love,
eat well, have fun, get loaded
at bar mitzvahs and weddings,
and enjoy life, because the
true sin was if you didnt
after that experience
then it was a waste,
and then Hitler would
have had the last laugh.
Comics are the conscience
of the people, and they
are allowed a wide
berth of activity in
every direction.
Comics have to tell us who
we are, where we are,
even if its in bad taste.
Isnt laughter the greatest
gift that weve been
given as human beings?
Isnt that what separates
us as human beings?
And were the only species
that laughs, I think...
I dont think many animals have
very good jokes
You dont see, you know,
elephants laughing
too much.
I mean, they might
have a few jokes
Maybe chimps laugh. I
think chimps might laug
Ahh, theyre probably
slapstick jokes
Is the Holocaust funny?
No. Theres nothing
about the Holocaust
that is funny.
But is there ever anything
that we cant laugh about?
like dirty comedy,
and I like filthy comedy,
and I like uum
bad comedy, and I like
I do like a fat lady
slipping on a banana peel
and falling on her
ass, I do like that,
it is funny, its good.
But I wont go
you cant get me
on the Holocaust.
Next question!
And Ill make believe that
it occurred to me myself.
Look at that!
Oh, how beautiful, when the
water hits those rocks.
But nature, nature is beautiful.
Makes you forget things.
It does,
a little bit.
See the problem is, when we are
relaxing and having a nice time,
thats when it comes back
to us.
Thats true.
If you work, and
youre under tension
- When we enjoy something...
- If you enjoy something
- Yeah, thats when I
remember it.
But certain things I would
love to remember and I dont.
I dont remember, for example,
when I was
from Klara.
- Your sister.
- My sister.
I dont remember that moment,
how I felt,
you know?
Was I afraid,
was I angry,
was I sad?
Why dont I remember
feeling anything?
People who felt too
much didnt make it.
You may be right.
I remember there was a girl
in our camp
who was a mime,
and she used to
perform for us.
And I am almost sure
when I saw her doing that,
I smiled.
Im sure I did.
I cant imagine not to.
Che bella cosa na
jurnata 'e sole,
Ma n'atu sole
Chi bello, oje ne'
O sole mio
This is such a beautiful song.
Sta 'nfronte a te!
You see, this song reminds
me of a lot of things.
Sta 'nfronte a te!
Sta 'nfronte a te!
That song. Before, just
before we were
we were deported,
we still were at
the swimming pool
and never thinking of whats
going to happen to us,
this song was played
constantly, all day long.
And I remember
English, English words
to it, like Its now or never.
And every time I hear that song
I remember that
it was now or never,
and we didnt know.
Im sorry.
Its now or never,
come hold me tight
And it says, Tomorrow
will be too late.
It was over.
Kiss me my darling,
be mine tonight
It's now or never
Come hold me tight
Kiss me my darling
Be mine tonight
will be too late
It's now or never
My love won't wait
When I first saw you
With your smile so tender
My heart was captured
My soul surrendered
But here we are,
the sun is going down,
and I think its
time to go home.
Its sunset for all of us, huh?
Its a good thing that
the sun sets slowly.
It does,
It does.
It's now or never
Come hold me tight
Kiss me my darling
Be mine tonight
will be too late
It's now or never
My love won't wait
Oh yeah, heres a Holocaust
joke I remember.
We did it in the office
of the Show of Shows.
I saw a roll of Scotch tape
I took a bunch of Scotch tape
and Scotch taped
my nose, my ears
I had all my face Scotch taped
My nose smashed and
my eyebrow covered my eye
and my lips were all twisted
Goddamn Nazis!
The goddamn Nazis did this
to me!
The Nazis!
The Nazis! The Nazis
did this to me!
They did that to
you, they maimed.?
Yeah they knocked me to
the ground
They snuck into my foxhole
They took the Scotch tape,
they put it all over my face!
That was the joke.
You know, I got a big laugh
in the writers room.
I dont know why
that tickles me.
And I still have a little
piece of my upper lip
that hurts from that. That
was about fifty years ago.
An old concentration camp
survivor buys a lottery ticket.
He wins 200 million dollars.
The reporter is talking
to him and he says,
Uh, well, tell me what youre
going to do with the money.
And the old Jewish man says,
Well, Im going to erect a
gigantic statue
honoring Hitler.
And the reporter goes,
Wait a minute, you were in
the concentration camps,
why would you erect a statue
honoring Hitler?
And he goes Where do you
think I got the number?
Theres a joke I heard,
then I heard it was
a true story about
Walter Matthau and his wife.
Do you know what Im
going to tell you?
Well heres the joke.
Old, elderly couple go to, uh,
they go to a tour of Auschwitz.
Theyre on like a
tour, you know,
like in the 90s, whatever.
And they
get in a big fight
and theyre not speaking to
each other the entire tour
And they get back on the bus,
and the husband says,
Youre right, I was
wrong, Im sorry.
And the wife says,
Oh, now youre sorry, now that
you ruined Auschwitz for me!