Centerpiece Film: The Last Laugh


Philadelphia Premiere
Saturday, November 12
7:30 PM
The Gershman Y

Director: Ferne Pearlstein
Genre: Documentary Feature
Country: USA
Year: 2016
Running Time: 88 min
Language: English

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Can humor be found in the darkest of places? For comedians, the Holocaust has often been considered a “taboo” subject, a no man’s land for jokes – a place you don’t want to go as an entertainer. In THE LAST LAUGH, a filmmaker sets out to challenge this assumption and find out if joking about the Holocaust and other human atrocities is ever acceptable.

Juxtaposing clips from films, performances, and interviews with top comedians and prominent Jewish leaders (including Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman, Joan Rivers, Louis C.K., Susie Essman, Judy Gold, Abraham Foxman, and Shalom Auslander) with an intimate profile of Auschwitz survivor Renee Firestone (as well as other survivors), Director Ferne Pearlstein weaves together a poignant and in-depth exploration into what is and is not off-limits in comedy.

A powerful documentary about a controversial subject, THE LAST LAUGH in no way undermines the horrors of the Holocaust, yet it still succeeds in putting a smile on your face. After all, what can be more heartening than witnessing the resiliency of the human spirit in the face of tragedy?

Special Event: Film followed by panel discussion and reception

Guest Speakers: Paul Lewis, Author, Professor of English at Boston College; Ferne Pearlstein, Director of film; Elliot Ratzman (Moderator), Visiting Assistant Professor of Department of Religion at Swarthmore College

Sponsors: Lynne and Harold Honickman, National Museum of American Jewish History

Film Trailer:

Awards and Honors: Official Selection of San Francisco Jewish Film Festival and Tribeca Film Festival

 Comedy, comedians, healing, Holocaust, humor, mourning, tragedy

For Fans Of: Comedy Central, Jewish comedy, Jewish comedians, political humor, topical humor, and gallows humor

Community Partners:

cinedelphia the-collaborative consortium-of-holocaust-educators-logo-300x451
interfaithfamily-philadelphia philadelphia-jewish-voice tinsel-tine


University of Pennsylvania Holocaust Education Committee