What are Holocaust humor's limits?

Negative reaction to a new webcomic featuring Hitler raises the question: when is Holocaust humor empowering, and when is it discriminatory?

August 4, 2011 17:11
Comic Hipster Hitler has drawn negative reaction.

Hipster Hitler 521. (photo credit: www.hipsterhitler.com)

What we laugh about often comes from our deepest pain. Because of this fact, the best comedians can also be the most controversial: look at Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor and George Carlin, the three godfathers of stand-up comedy in the US.

For the Jewish community, probably the most taboo example is Holocaust humor. For a long time, one couldn’t talk about the Holocaust, let alone make jokes about it. But Holocaust humor has gradually become a phenomenon among younger Jews. Some tell Holocaust jokes as a liberating way to deal with a traumatic past.


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