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Laughing When It Hurts and Why Your Trump Jokes Suck


I’ve done a little (ok maybe not so little) vlogcast with Aryeh Cohen Wade over at Culturally Determined on Bloggingheads.tv based on my earlier post about When Its Okay To Dress Like Hitler.


Aryeh and I talk about the ways Anglo-American comedy in film was against Hitler during WWII and how the nature of those jokes changed after the war. Mel Brooks and the specific Jewish traditions of humor are a big part of this talk but so is more modern applications of comedy to touchy subjects.

I talk about Anglo-American Muslims using comedy against ISIS, including the fantastically politically incorrect film Four Lions starring Riz Ahmed and British-Lebanese humorist Karl Sharro (aka KarlRemarks).

But perhaps the big kicker is what I say about Trump jokes: that the current state of comedy in America is more of a boon to Trump than it is part of the “resistance”. Lots of things to unpack there and I don’t think we could have gotten to all of them.

Excuse the few times I fudge up some names. I know I did it, you don’t have to keep pointing it out to me. Time codes below.

00:00 Charlie Chaplin’s controversial depiction of Hitler in The Great Dictator

13:15 Making Hitler jokes after the Holocaust was made known

21:03 How The Producers shocked viewers just 22 years after WWII

33:41 How to make a good Holocaust joke

42:14 Why ISIS jokes differ in meaning across borders

49:03 Christa: SNL’s Trump jokes are not subversive


My YouTube playlist featuring a number of the film and TV we discussed, plus some I couldn’t fit in, can be found here.


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