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The Last Laugh (2016)

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World-famous comedians including Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman, and Gilbert Gottfried pitch in with their own views on the boundaries of comedy.

Director:

Ferne Pearlstein

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Renee Firestone Renee Firestone ... Herself
Klara Firestone Klara Firestone ... Herself
Gilbert Gottfried ... Himself
Rob Reiner ... Himself
Mel Brooks ... Himself
Judy Gold ... Herself
Sarah Silverman ... Herself
Carl Reiner ... Himself
Robert Clary ... Himself
Etgar Keret ... Himself
Aaron Breitbart Aaron Breitbart ... Himself
Jake Ehrenreich Jake Ehrenreich ... Himself
Alan Zweibel ... Himself
Susie Essman ... Herself
Larry Charles ... Himself
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Storyline

THE LAST LAUGH dares to ask: "Are we allowed to joke about the Holocaust?" This outrageously funny and thought-provoking film puts the question to legends and critical thinkers including Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman, Gilbert Gottfried, and many others (including survivors), offering fresh insights into the Holocaust and what else-9/11, AIDS, racism-is or isn't off-limits in a society that prizes freedom of speech. After screening at over 100 festivals (including Tribeca, HotDocs, Traverse City, BFI London, Rome, IDFA), and Certified Fresh at 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, THE LAST LAUGH was released theatrically in March 2017 and broadcast in April 2017 (Independent Lens/PBS) where it was runner-up for that season's Audience Award. Written by Robert Edwards

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 May 2017 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Kto sie smieje ostatni See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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User Reviews

 
what's not funny?
2 March 2017 | by ferguson-6See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. The best comedy often touches a nerve. Jokes can make us feel uncomfortable and even a bit embarrassed for laughing. Although the best comedians are traditionally those who attack the politically correct world we live in, there are certain topics that remain taboo even to the bravest comedians: child molesting, rape, AIDS, 9/11, and the Holocaust. Director Ferne Pearlstein examines the issue of taboo comedy through numerous interviews with some well known and successful comedians, authors, and even Holocaust survivors.

Much of the focus here is on the Holocaust, and some of the familiar faces providing insight include Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman, Gilbert Gottfried, and Rob and Carl Reiner. We learn the most important rule is … never tell a crappy joke about a dark subject – it better be really funny! We also learn that while the Holocaust is mostly off-limits, the Nazi's are fair game. Bugs Bunny, Charlie Chaplin, The Three Stooges, and The Marx Brothers have all mined the Nazi world for the sake of comedy and satire, though maybe none have done so as frequently or successfully as Mel Brooks ("Springtime for Hitler")

One of the most interesting recurring threads of the film involves Auschwitz survivor Renee Firehouse. North of 90 years old, this remarkable lady is extremely sharp and understands the importance of laughter … while also never being shy about what she thinks is NOT funny. Ms. Firestone even meets up with the effervescent Robert Clary, a fellow Holocaust survivor, and known to many as LeBeau on the TV show "Hogan's Heroes".

A trip to the Holocaust Survivor Convention on the Las Vegas strip offers up more thoughts on the role comedy played in keeping these folks alive. We see rare footage of carefully staged Cabaret acts from within the concentration camps … who even knew this went on? The recently re-discovered footage of Jerry Lewis' "The Day the Clown Cried" is also shown, and the commentary from Harry Shearer makes it clear that the rest should never find an audience.

Authors Etgar Keret, Shalom Auslander and Abraham Foxman each provide their thoughts on forbidden comedic topics, and clips are shown from "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and Brooks' "The Producers", as well as scandalous moments from Louis CK, Joan Rivers, Chris Rock, and the most censured comic of all, Lenny Bruce. Laughter may be the best medicine, but sometimes it's interesting to take a step back and determine exactly what is off-limits. When has a joke gone too far? It appears from Ms. Pearlstein's project that the line in the sand is determined by personal taste, preference and judgment.


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