(JTA) — Were Hitler jokes taken too far on the late-night comedy show “Chelsea Lately”? The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) certainly thought so.
“While we try to give comedians leeway and do not believe that Nazi jokes should be completely off-limits, this was an instance of taking a Hitler parody to the extreme,” the ADL said in a statement issued Wednesday, calling it “tasteless, offensive and hurtful both to Holocaust survivors and their families, and to members of the German team and all Germans.”
Dressed as Hitler, host Chelsea Handler’s sidekick Chuy Bravo cracked jokes about Nazi Germany throughout a segment about Germany’s World Cup victory on Monday night’s show.
The gag was used to promote the E! network show on Twitter: “Tonight! Nazis, selfies and LeBron James!” This isn’t the first time Chelsea’s name has come up in reference to Nazi Germany. Raised Jewish, Handler discovered the extent of her Nazi ancestry on TLC’s reality show “Who Do You Think You Are?” when she learned that her grandfather fought for the Reich during World War II.
One disgruntled scriptwriter for the show, has even argued that Holocaust jokes are a virtual expectation on the show. In the 2011 book “Lies that Chelsea Handler Told Me,” Brad Wollack writes: “The rule at ‘Chelsea Lately’ is that it hasn’t been a productive morning writers meeting if I haven’t made a 9/11 or Holocaust joke (and I’m talking about the Jewish Holocaust).”
But Chelsea Handler is hardly the only one referencing Nazi Germany in response to Germany’s win.
The YouTube channel FegelDolfParodies, which describes itself as “a channel dedicated to ‘Downfall’ and ‘Angry German Kid’ parodies,” also produced a parody to mark Germany’s win, as did Hitler Rants Parodies, another YouTube channel that produces videos taking the 2004 film “Downfall” and re-subtitling them in a comedic manner. (Yes, there are apparently multiple YouTube channels devoted to parodies of one Holocaust-themed film.)
Meanwhile, the “Chelsea Lately” segment in question is nowhere to be found on the Internet, perhaps purged by the show’s producers given its controversial nature.