“Laughing with Hitler” is a fascinating documentary on what happened to comedy and humor in Nazi Germany prior to and during the war. It looks at both at the jokes from comedians and the jokes told by the general public, which are a strange barometer for the truth when public expression is extremely circumspect.
Comedians deny their jokes have any power, but the fear oppressive regimes have of them shows that dictators certainly don’t believe that. But the diminished power of a joke is partially, thankfully, because of the society we live in today. One phrase in the documentary that rings especially true to me:
“In those days, you took a tiny hammer and hit a small bell and it went whhoong. And today, you hit a huge bell with a huge hammer and it goes ting.”
(Video found via Smashing Telly)