Humourless about the Holocaust.


I went to see some comedy recently. It was a benefit gig for War on Want. I had a great time: Stewart Lee and Ed Byrne were on good form.

However, Janey Godley, one of the featured comedians, remarked upon the large number of Jewish performers at the gig that night. She then said something about feeling the need to blend in and suggested to herself that she should go hide in the attic to feel more Jewish.

I took this to be a reference to Anne Frank. I did not see how this was funny. Reflecting upon it, if a BNP politician had said something like this then we would quite rightly be on them like a tonne of bricks.

Why is less fuss made about (presumably) non-fascist comedians cracking tasteless Holocaust-related jokes?


3 Responses to “Humourless about the Holocaust.”

  1. Sally Morgan Says:

    Perhaps the clue was in the word “comedian”.

  2. Danivon Says:

    Comedy is about context, and there are pretty much no subjects that cannot be used for humour. Part of the reason that things are funny is that they make us feel uncomfortable.

    By the way, did any of the Jewish comedians complain? Can you think why?

  3. captainjako Says:

    Some things may be funny when they make us feel uncomfotable. This wasn’t funny; just uncomfortable.

    None of the Jewish comedians complained onstage. I have no idea if anyone went up to her afterwards to say that a joke based on Anne Frank hiding from the Nazis was a bit off.

    I’m not one to say that comedy should be rigidly policed, but I just wanted to complain that A) This Holocaust-related joke was not at all funny B) If a fascist politician had said it then people would quite rightly be disgusted, so why is it necessarily ok for a ‘comedian’ to say it

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