Can humor be found in the darkest of places? For comedians, the Holocaust has often been considered a taboo subject, a no man’s land for jokes — a place you don’t want to go as an entertainer. In “The Last Laugh,” a filmmaker sets out to challenge this assumption and find out if joking about the Holocaust and other human atrocities is ever acceptable.
Juxtaposing clips from films, performances and interviews with top comedians and prominent Jewish leaders (including Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman, Joan Rivers, Louis C.K., Susie Essman, Judy Gold, Abraham Foxman and Shalom Auslander) with an intimate profile of Auschwitz survivor Renee Firestone (as well as other survivors), director Ferne Pearlstein weaves together a poignant and in-depth exploration into what is and is not off-limits in comedy.
A powerful documentary about a controversial subject, “The Last Laugh” in no way undermines the horrors of the Holocaust, yet it still succeeds in putting a smile on your face. After all, what can be more heartening than witnessing the resiliency of the human spirit in the face of tragedy?
This film was an official selection of the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival.
Special Event: The film is followed by panel discussion and reception. The guest speakers are the film’s director, Ferne Pearlstein; Paul Lewis, author and professor of English at Boston College; and Elliot Ratzman (moderator), visiting assistant professor in the Department of Religion at Swarthmore College. There has also been an exciting last-minute addition to this list of special guests: the Emmy Award-winning comic Judy Gold.
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