The Last Laugh – Director, Ferne Pearlstein

The Last Laugh is a study on whether or not you can make fun or have a laugh about likely the most unfunny thing ever: The Holocaust. Drawing on many great Jewish comics including Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks to Sarah Silverman, the film explores whether or not there is anything funny about this human tragedy but also looks at how and when you can be funny about any similar event from the Inquisition (remember Monty Python?) to 9/11. Although there are many opinions and some great jokes the consensus seemed to be that the you can laugh at or with the people caught up in the events of that time but you can’t make light of the event itself. The movie draws on scenes from Hogan’s Heroes which starred Robert Clary a holocaust survivor and French actor to Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi to The Producers. Lots of laughs at the Nazi’s primarily but not at their victims or the event itself. I was struck however at the one person in the film who is not an entertainer but rather an activist Renee Firestone who strives to keep the memory alive. She is a survivor of Auschwitz, and elderly woman who is very articulate but not bitter. She laughs occasionally as she tells stories of her days in the camp and brings a humanity to the situation that opens the door to looking at the humour that existed even among the Jews caught up in the horror. It is a fascinating study and a side of many of the comics featured in the film that you might never see otherwise. I highly recommend it.