Below is a recording of a talk on the subject of humour, dark comedy and Holocaust representation. The talk was given by myself and two Holocaust scholar friends on a Sunday morning in Montreal, as part of Le Mood: The Festival of Unexpected Jewish Learning, Arts & Culture. The session was advertised as,
One thoughtful comic and two hilarious academics dissect contemporary, provocative jokes on the subjects of Jews, Jewishness and the Holocaust. The presentation will begin with David recounting a number of his jokes and discussing their conception and sometimes tricky reception. Natalie and Eric will then consider David’s material, which disturbs conventional thinking on sacred subjects, within the larger fields of Jewish and Holocaust history. The aim will be to ask why these particular jokes are offensive and effective, whether their effectiveness depends on their offensiveness, and to explore the consequences of repeating history as farce. This will be funny, as well as serious.
In the audience were about 70 or so people, ranging in age from the somewhat young to the very old. They stuffed themselves into the room to listen. Only one person left early.