On July 12 the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported that Jewish advocacy group B’Nal B’Rith had expressed concerns over an advertisement for an upcoming show at this years Just for Laughs festival in Montreal. A poster for the play Le Prenom (French for The First Name) features a baby with an Adolph Hitler style mustache.
“Any kind of connection to Hitler is still an open wound for many people,” said B’Nal B’Rith spokesperson Steven Silmovitch.
Just for Laughs president Andy Nulman said that while he understands why people would be concerned, he feels that going by the context of the play, the image works perfectly to promote it. According to the article the play is a comedy about a father who wants to name his unborn son Adolf, and the reactions he receives from the people in his life. Nulman says it is not anti-Semitic but rather “hilarious and pro-Semitic.”
On July 13 the Canadian newspaper The Chronicle Herald reported that members of B’Nal B’Rith were invited to see the play. Afterwards they stated that they were ok with the poster and were relieved to find that the show was a condemnation of hatred and racism.
“Although perhaps we wouldn’t have chosen that type of poster, we can understand where it came from and the important thing is the message and the message is that hatred is unacceptable,” stated Silmovitch.
Nulman was quoted as saying, “Our intent is never to insult anybody, but in comedy you have to provoke reaction and that is the nature of our business at every step of the way.”
What are your thoughts on this controversy?
About the Author: Ryan Laskodi is a communications major at Cal State Fullerton and currently an editor/writer for "Americas Comedy.com." He is a self-described pop culture junkie/movie addict and loves comedy in all its forms: movies, sketch, stand-up you name it. Ryan can usually be found at a local movie theater.