Mel Brooks’ ‘The Producers’ Picketed For Being ‘Offensive’
“The Producers” has been a classic takedown of Hitler for years, thanks to the comedy wit and genius of Mel Brooks. Satire is sometime the best way to address unspeakable horror. But a Jewish WWII veteran protested a Maryland production, calling it “offensive.”
“The problem is how people have gotten about Hitler,” Jeffrey Imm of the organization Responsible for Equality And Liberty told Washingtonian. “They’ve forgotten how horrible it is. They let the years go by with Hogan’s Heroes and all that. They’re not horrified by that.”
The Producers tells the story of two producers running a scam by creating a horrible pro-Adolf Hitler Broadway musical and pocketing the profits after it bombs. But in Springtime for Hitler’s big musical number, an effeminate gay man dressed as Hitler dances and sings his desire to conquer Europe, and the “satire”becomes a hit.
Imm says he recognizes that the play is a satire (Brooks is Jewish), but says that doesn’t make it less offensive to the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust. “It would be no more funny if somebody did a comedy with a play that’s not going to work because it’s about Osama bin Laden. We cannot laugh about that.”
One of the ensemble members Brandon Ambrosino offered a rebuttalin Jewish magazine Tablet, noting that mocking Hitler robbed him of his power. “You can’t get on a soapbox with these orators, because they’re very good at convincing the masses they’re right,” he quotes Brooks as saying. “But if you can make them look ridiculous, then you can win over the people.”