Life is Beautiful: A Holocaust Comedy?

4 April 2015
An analysis of the acceptability of the comedic theme in the movie “Life is Beautiful,” which deals with the Holocaust.

This paper argues that the comedic element found in “Life is Beautiful” is appropriate to the subject of the Holocaust. The opposing viewpoints of Gerald Peary, a critic for the Boston Phoenix, and the late literary scholar Terence De Pres are also presented.
“Shortly after WWII, jokes associated with the Holocaust were found circulating in Israel. For example, “Do you know why Hitler killed himself? He got his gas bill” (Mamet, 142-3). Jokes like this one are often considered inappropriate because they mock a very tragic event and furthermore offend many Jewish people. Such people find jokes about the Holocaust disturbing to hear and yet others find them humorous. Therefore, this form of questionable humor poses the question, do comedy and the Holocaust mix? When dealing with an issue as serious as the Holocaust, it is debatable whether or not an element of humor is appropriate.”
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