Jewish Journal

The right to laugh- video

Dana Haddadi

February 8, 2013 | 1:43 am

Recent processes in the visibility of minorities in Europe, are gradually taking off as seen stages. Using stereotypes of the different nationalities for a laugh is much more common, especially when it comes out of the mentioned community, as Natives obviously feel uncomfortable making such jokes themselves.

This could be seen in Germany, which is not less ethnically homogenous than the US or the UK today. Nowadays, Germany's biggest minority is the Turkish community- about 3% of the German population
Young Turkish-German comedians like Kaya Yanar and Kerim Pamuk enjoy the benefit of playing with their own stereotypes humorously in order to confront German audiences with their ideas about the minority.
The new wave of comedians reflects an increasing self-confidence among this generation, as if it was a statement of emancipation: being able to poke fun at themselves.

As for the Jewish community: Jewish culture in Germany may be blossoming as the Jewish population climbs to a post-war high of over 200,000, but the number of professional German-Jewish comedians can still be counted on the fingers of one hand.

By Ivor Dembina, a London-based Jewish comedian who has done gigs in Germany, where he jokes about Dachau and Jewish director Dani Levy, director of Hitler comedy "Mein Führer", who is from Switzerland but lives in Berlin, it's the way of saying "things have moved on and the Jewish people are back," while granting a sense of relief at the comic ice being broken."


The "Tad Brothers" are Avi and David Toubiana, born in Düsseldorf and now located in Berlin.
They play all 18 of the roles in their 80 minutes Duo Show, called: "Murder on the Panini Express", based on Agatha Christie's 'Murder on the Orient Express'.
They themselves are from several origins: A Tunisian father who comes from an Italian family, and an Israeli mother, whose father was a proud Berliner, who managed to escape Germany a day before the "Night of Broken Glass".


Both grew up making up black humor jokes, like in any good old sarcastic Jewish family, as a mean of coping with the legacy of the Holocaust.
Both loved the theater and ended up studying drama in New York at the renowned Lee Strasberg Theater Institute.

Like any other comedian of a minority group, they wouldn't like to be affiliate explicitly with "Jewish humor", but wouldn't deny it: if it is for the fast-paced mix of wit and music like of the Max Brothers, the expansive gesticulation or that a major part of it involves self-mockery.

A key principle of their work is never to offend their audiences, though they are also not afraid to tackle controversial topics. For instance, they gave "Adi" the train driver in the sketch Hitleresque characteristics.
And who could be most legitimate a laugh about Hitler, if not the Jews?

After all, the best weapon against fear is humor."



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