Well, the Holocaust is back in the news. How long has it been — twelve hours? Six? As I’ve said many times, “Boy, when they said, ‘never forget,’ they weren’t kidding!”
This time around, the person who dragged the Shoah back under the heat lamps by uttering comments that she failed to get pre-approved by the network censors was Roseanne Barr, best known for her sitcom Roseanne (1988-1997).
Although she’s one of the most successful comediennes in history, I’ve never laughed at anything Roseanne Barr has said or done. I don’t like her delivery, I find her personality and voice to be grating, and I don’t think she’s particularly clever. Then again, unlike a lot of people, I realize that humor is an entirely subjective topic. Beyond that, I will not — nay, I cannot — forgive Roseanne for introducing the world to that aggressively untalented beet-red cokehead Tom Arnold.
On June 14, the amiably folksy Louisiana-born comedian Theo Von — who may be the last man on Earth who still has a mullet haircut — had Roseanne on his podcast for over two hours. It took nearly two weeks for the Usual Suspects to whittle the whole episode down to a minute and 22 seconds where it looked as if Barr said no one died in the Holocaust and that six million Jews actually should be killed. After the predictable hubbub, Theo Von tweeted a nearly four-minute segment that provided a smidgen more context, adding:
Here is the full clip of Roseanne Barr obviously using sarcasm and satire. She is a mensch and one of the funniest people i’ve [sic] ever met.
Ignoring the fact that Theo clumsily appropriated Yiddish to misgender Ms. Barr, the longer clip shows Barr going on an extended jag about how people are addicted to bullshit these days and how the officially mandated “truth” about the 2020 presidential election was that Biden won more votes than any candidate in history while winning the fewest counties. She also said that one risked social excommunication for denying this “truth”:
BARR: And don’t you dare say anything against it, or you’ll be off YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and all the other ones, because we have, you know, there’s such a thing as the truth and facts, and we have to stick to it. And, um, you know . . .
THEO VON: It’s scary.
BARR: And that is the truth. And nobody died in the Holocaust, either.
THEO VON: No?
BARR: That’s the truth.
THEO VON: Yeah.
BARR: It should happen. Six million Jews should die right now, ’cause they cause all the problems in the world, but it never happened.
THEO VON: [laughs]
BARR: But it never happened.
THEO VON: Yeah.
THEO VON: Well, you’re— [clears throat] ‘Cause you’re part Jewish, right? Part of your family’s Jewish?
BARR: I’m all Jewish.
THEO VON: You’re all Jewish.
BARR: A hundred percent.
THEO VON: And a lot of Hollywood is Jewish, yeah? It’s like, a, it’s like, a lot of Hollywood is a Jewish business, really. Well, they started Hollywood.
BARR: Yeah. . . . And people should be glad that it’s Jewish, too, because if Jews were not controlling Hollywood, all you’d have was fucking fishing shows.
Placed in context, it should have been obvious to everyone but the most easily triggered Jew-worshipper that through her cynically deadpan delivery, Barr was trying to convey that the 2020 election was rigged and that the Holocaust did happen.
Where it gets extra-confusing — and this is one of those rare cases where I can see how people got confused — is that the officially mandated truth these days is that the 2020 election was not rigged and that the Holocaust unquestionably happened. It happened so unquestionably that you can face criminal penalties in 16 countries for questioning it. So Barr disagreed with the “official” truth about the election, but agreed with the “official” truth about the Holocaust.
Everyone on the planet — Jews, non-Jews, Jew-haters, Jew-lovers, and the Jew-indifferent — seemed to blithely skip over Barr’s comments about the 2020 election and instead focused entirely on the Jew stuff. This, despite the fact that only real ethnic disparagement Barr made came at the end, where she implied that white people are boring and uncreative and couldn’t run an entertainment industry if their lives depended on it.
But even though she wasn’t denying the Holocaust and was only trying to tell a funny, Professional Spokesjews weren’t havin’ it.
Sarcasm or not, Roseanne Barr’s comments about Jews and the Holocaust are reprehensible and irresponsible. This isn’t funny. And shame on Theo Von for letting it go unchallenged and instead diving into conspiracy theories about Jews and Hollywood.
Ed Krassenstein — another Professional Spokesjew who, along with his brother Brian, manages to pull off the miraculous feat of possibly being even more humorless than Jonathan Greenblatt — used his cyber-shofar to blast out the following gust of digital flatulence:
To all of the people defending Roseanne Barr’s comments saying: “Nobody died in the Holocaust. It should happen. Six millions [sic] Jews SHOULD die right now, because they cause all the problems in the world.”
I don’t care if it was a joke.
I don’t care if it was sarcasm.
I don’t care if Roseanne is Jewish.
I don’t care if Roseanne were to be God.
Joking about Jewish people dying in the holocaust and sarcastically saying that Jewish people should die, is NOT OK. It never is and never will be. PERIOD.
If you think it is, then you need to reevaluate your sense of humor and your respect for humanity.
I’m being utterly sincere when I say that there’s nothing funnier than being lectured by a congenitally unfunny person about how I need to reevaluate my sense of humor. PERIOD.
Not that I thought Barr’s comments were funny — but again, it wasn’t in the sense of “that’s not cool and will never be cool,” but in the spirit of, “I personally don’t find her to be very witty.” The same applies to her try-hard 2009 photo spread in Heeb magazine where she dressed as Hitler and baked some burnt “Jew cookies.” It simply didn’t have the same oomph as, say, Mel Brooks’ “Hitler Rap.” Even funnier were Michael O’Donoghue’s “Children’s Letters to the Gestapo” in National Lampoon, but O’Donoghue wasn’t Jewish, so I’m not sure if that disqualifies him.
Is that true?
I hate having to explain this until I’m Zyklon Blue in the face, but there are no right or wrong answers to that question.
Diligent reporter that I am, I searched for “Holocaust jokes” online. I found some here and here. I’m sure there are more, as horrible as that sounds. I’m also aware that if there’s anything less funny than trying to explain why something’s not funny, it’s trying to explain why it is funny.
I’ve heard a couple of these before, and a couple of them are new to me. I tightened up the grammar just to give them an extra spritz of chutzpah.
I may be wrong here, but I’m fond enough of Jewish humor to think that the punchline in this one is uniquely Jewish:
Two historians are discussing about the Holocaust.
“The holocaust wasn’t that bad,” says one of them.
“Are you out of your mind?” the other one replies.
“What if I were to kill 6 million Jews and one actress?”
“But why the actress?”
“See, nobody ever cares about the Jews.”
The nifty thing about this one is that you can substitute Amy Schumer with anything you think is severely unfunny:
Q: What’s funnier than Amy Schumer?
A: The Holocaust.
This one’s the harshest, and it’s also historically inaccurate, because I don’t even think Yad Vashem says that Jews were placed into the ovens alive, but for me the kicker is the surreal image of a pizza screaming:
Q: What’s the difference between a Jew and a pizza?
A: Pizzas don’t scream when you put them in the oven.
Q: What’s the difference between the Holocaust and a cow?
A: You can’t milk a cow for 75 years.
Some people might file that one under “It’s funny ’cause it’s true.”
Jew or non-Jew, there’s a lesson in this for all of us: If you’re really concerned about not being hated, the simple fact is that people will like you a hell of a lot more if you can take a joke than if you can’t.
* * *
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