With history being rewritten to spin the Holocaust as just another bad day, and as political differences with the government of Israel provide anti-Semites with cover to spread the vilest of Jew-hating canards, comedian Larry David crossed yet another red line on motzei Shabbat, inserting sexually-charged Holocaust humor into his opening monologue on NBC’s hugely popular “Saturday Night Live.”
“I’ve always been obsessed with women, and I’ve often wondered if I’d grown up in Poland when Hitler came to power and was sent to a concentration camp, would I be checking women out in the camp? I think I would,” he said.
The SNL in-studio audience appeared to greet David’s “jokes” with some usease, and the Jewish creator and star of the HBO comedy “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and co-creator of “Seinfeld” was rapidly slammed across the internet.
While SNL was still on the air on Saturday night, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt wrote on Twitter that David “managed to be offensive, insenstive and unfunny all at the same time. Quite a fear.”
On Monday, the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County said in a statement:
“Memorializing the millions of victims of the Holocaust and cherishing the remaining survivors of this most terrible period in human history are sacred responsibilities. Sadly, there are those who would make light of what these men, women and 1.5 million children went through and we condemn the offensive so-called ‘jokes’ about the Holocaust…
“Words cannot convey how insensitive and hurtful his comments were and we invite Mr. David to visit our Center to re-educate himself and to meet with survivors of the Holocaust to help him understand the anguish he has caused.”
The Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel in a statement described David’s monologue “at best as bad taste, at worst as sickening and disgusting.”
The group, which represents Holocaust survivors in Israel, condemned David’s monologue and called on him to apologize.
“One can wonder why and how the latest scandals on sex harassment in Hollywood and elsewhere (of which he accused most of the predators to be Jewish) brought to his mind Poland, Hitler and the Holocaust. Should we remind Larry David that Jewish women were humiliated, molested, disfigured and often raped in concentration camps?” the group said in its statement.
David’s seven-minute monologue also referred to the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
In considering how to find a date in a concentration camp, David said that “he problem is, there are no good opening lines in a concentration camp.” He then suggested one: “‘How’s it going? They treatin’ you okay? You know, if we ever get out of here, I’d love to take you out for some latkes. You like latkes?’”
David concluded: “What? What’d I say? Is it me, or is it the whole thing? It’s because I’m bald isn’t it?”
The Washington Post reported there was no outpouring of calls to boycott SNL over the episode.
On Arutz Sheva, IDF veteran Ron Jager wrote:
“As I viewed his monologue over and over, it seemed to resonate with a message that should be entitled, ‘Why it’s time for Jews to get over the Holocaust’. … I am surprised that he didn’t conclude his monolgoue with ‘The Shoah must go on’.”
“Injecting humor and comedy about the Holocaust on a nationally syndicated comedy/satirical show seems to subliminally suggest to viewers that the Holocaust is unnecessarily singled out as if it’s more special that other historical events,” Jager wrote. “As far as Holocaust jokesters are concerned … they seem genuinely puzzled as to why Holocaust jokes elicit what they would consider an overreaction. Why, they ask, should joking about an historical event or questioning the propriety of David’s jokes … even be considered a lapse in judgement or an affront to the many Holocaust survivors still with us.”
“Those who publicly joke about the Holocaust should be reminded of what the Holocaust was really all about.”
JTA writer Andrew Silow-Carroll suggested that the Holocaust “joke” “wasn’t even his edgiest Jewish joke of the night. That would be the one about Harvey Weinstein in which noted a ‘very, very disturbing pattern’ among high-profile figures being accused of sexual harassment and assault: ‘Many of them are Jews’.”
“And I have three words to say to that: Oy vey iz meer,” David said. “I don’t like it when Jews are in the news for notorious reasons. What I want: Einstein discovers the theory of relativity, Salk discovers a cure for polio.”
Silow-Carroll continued: “I guess that’s an admirable assertion of Jewish pride. In the face of a lot of bad ‘Jewish’ headlines that might in another era have led to anti-Semitic grumblings, David reminds us about the good Jews out there.
“But the idea that there is something ‘Jewish’ about the wave of sex scandals has been the stuff of neo-Nazi websites (and the rare Jewish ‘think’ piece), not the mainstream discussion. Well, not anymore. Thanks, Lar!”
Among Twitter posts that resonated with many were these: “Nothing about the holocaust will ever be funny” and “#LarryDavid I know of a few million people who think your holocaust joke on @nbcsnl was tasteless. That will NEVER be anything 2 joke about.”
“How did the #SNL producers let Larry David make jokes about the Holocaust and being in a concentration camp? Not remotely clever or funny,” said another.