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IDFA - The Last Laugh

When does a joke go too far? Leading comedy writers, producers and comics discuss the boundaries of good humor.

A really good joke pushes at the boundaries of what’s acceptable, but when is the line actually crossed? Should good taste always be taken into consideration, or does freedom of speech mean anything goes, including jokes about pedophilia, 9/11 and the Holocaust? And if so, who really can’t make such jokes, and who perhaps can? Various well-known writers, producers and comics – from Mel Brooks and Larry Charles to Lisa Lampanelli, David Cross and Sarah Silverman – speak candidly about their personal taste and choices.

These interviews are illustrated by excerpts from their own work and jokes told by others. All of the interviewees comment on various stances – what some consider a great joke, others find tasteless, or worse. How do Holocaust survivors respond to jokes about this sensitive subject, for example? And what role does the passing of time play in this? From the “Soup Nazi” in Seinfeld to Charles Chaplin’s Great Dictator and Chris Rock on racism, each fragment offers a more or less successful take on humor and some honest answers to uncomfortable questions.

(idfa)