Arts and Culture

PBS to air ‘The Last Laugh,’ a documentary about humor and the Holocaust

Mel Brooks interviewed in The Last Laugh. (Ferne Pearlstein)

The Last Laugh is a documentary based on the premise that the Holocaust would seem to be an absolutely off-limits topic for comedy. But is it? History shows that even victims of Nazi concentration camps used humor as a means of survival and resistance. Still, any use of comedy in connection with this horror risks diminishing the suffering of millions. So where is the line? If the Holocaust is taboo, what are the implications for other controversial subjects — 9/11, AIDS, racism — in a society that prizes freedom of speech? Directed by Ferne Pearlstein, with participants ranging from Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman and Gilbert Gottfried to authors Etgar Keret and Shalom Auslander, plusAbraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, The Last Laugh premieres on Independent Lens Monday, April 24 at 10 p.m. on KUAT-TV (PBS Channel 6).