IDFA 2016, The Last Laugh

The Last Laugh, a film about humor, jokes and boundaries. I was expecting a lot of jokes and questionable humor, but we got much more a mini-history of Jewish humor and a lecture on appropriateness of jokes about the Holocaust. Because it was American-made, Jewish humor was an obvious jumping-off point, but I would have appreciated some other points of view. There was one tiny segment about Chris Rock and black humor, but the overwhelming focus of the movie was about the Jewish experience. We followed a Holocaust survivor and her daughter, watching them go to schools to talk about her experience. Interviews with famous comedians were almost exclusively Jewish – Mel Brooks, Joan Rivers, Jerry Seinfeld and Sarah Silverman, who was by far the most daring and offensive.
One slightly irrelevant scene was shot at the Holocaust Survivor’s Conference in Las Vegas. We watched our protagonist interact with a very sad old lady: Protagonist: ‘Don’t you feel we have to laugh about life now?’ Sad old lady: ‘I can’t laugh. I’ll never ever forget the sadness of that time.’ Prot: ‘But then wasn’t it a waste that we were saved? Recognize the sadness but don’t let it control your life.’ Others in the group talked about the appropriateness of jokes about their experiences (not!) and it felt far from the blurb about the movie. It seemed that the director wanted to make a movie about the Holocaust and turned it into a movie about humor. Felt forced to me.
6/10

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