The Holocaust might seem like a topic that’s completely off-limits for comedy, but a new documentary strives to challenge that assumption. “The Last Laugh” examines whether it’s acceptable to use humor in connection with a tragedy of that scale, and the implications for other taboo topics in a society that prizes free speech. Shot on 16mm, it weaves together a portrait of Auschwitz survivor Renee Firestone alongside interviews with comedians like Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman and Gilbert Gottfried. It also features archival material ranging from “Curb Your Enthusiasm” to Jerry Lewis’ never-released film Holocaust comedy “The Day the Clown Cried,” as well as rare footage of cabarets inside the concentration camps themselves. Watch an exclusive trailer from the film below and check out the poster as well.
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The film is directed by Ferne Pearlstein. She previously directed “Sumo East and West,” a documentary about the cultural changes facing Japan as more foreigners enter the ancient Japanese sport of sumo wrestling. It’s produced by Amy Hobby (“What Happened, Miss Simone?”), Anne Hubbell (“Gayby”), Robert Edwards (“One More Time”) and Jan Warner (“Poetry of Resilience”).
READ MORE: Watch: Mel Brooks Discusses Humor and the Holocaust in Clip from Tribeca Doc ‘The Last Laugh’
“The Last Laugh” made its world premiere at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. It later screened at the Hot Docs International Festival, the London Film Festival, the Chicago International Film Festival and more. It opens on Friday, March 3 at Lincoln Plaza in New York before expanding across the country. It’s distributed by The Film Collaborative.
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