Who will re-write Springtime for Hitler now?

Don Adams
Don Adams

When Louis Wolfson, philanthropist & racetrack enthusiast, heard about Mel Brooks’ idea for the movie, Springtime for Hitler, he said: ‘Oh good, this is getting back at Hitler. You can’t bring dictators down on a soapbox with rhetoric. But if you can make people LAUGH at them, you’ve won.’

Wolfson funded half the $941,000 production costs to make Springtime for Hitler, the legendary spoof satirical movie musical now known as The Producers. Brooks said in an interview: “… if I do Springtime for Hitler, it’ll never be forgotten. I think you can bring down totalitarian governments faster by using ridicule than you can with invective.”

Germany was having trouble, what a sad, sad story

needed a new leader to restore its former glory

Where, Oh where was he? Where could that man be?

We looked around and then we found the man for you and me.

And now it’s…Springtime for Hitler and Germany.

The show’s song ends with Mel Gibson’s apparent ad-lib droll quip: “Don’t be stupid, be a smarty / Come and join the Nazi Party”,

Since the era of The Producers, world Jewry has seen bucket-loads “low-level” antisemitism and high-level hatred and satanic mass slaughter by Hamas. Fascist flags and menacing marches, kufiyah-covered faces blocking infrastructure while chanting rhyming racist slogans are de jour in many cities.

Recently in London, Irish stand-up comedian, Paul Currie, berated two Jewish members of a theatre audience in his show. Those men declined to stand for a Palestinian flag stunt that glorified Gaza. When picked on by Currie, one of the Jews sarcastically said: “Thank you for that Palestine flag.”

Currie then pounced with hubristic pride stating:

‘I’m from Belfast. I know everything about ceasefires. Ceasefire now, get the f*** out of my theatre. Get out, get the f*** out of my show, motherf***ers’.

An element of modern stand-up is to engage with the audience. But in this politically febrile antisemitic atmosphere, to use such pugnacious phrases is out-of-order. Currie’s stand up is artful and challenging, the crowd response being a central part of his act. That being said, why couldn’t Currie have countered with some whip smart disarming humour when responding to the two Jews who dissented from his Nakba narrative?

It’s too easy to be sectarian bigots, as Currie should know, coming as he does from Belfast. Cheap jibes, insults, swearing and the mockery of minorities should be a thing of the past. Alf Garnett, the 60s & 70s BBC actor, spewed many toxic tropes and racist rants in Till Death Do Us Part. Such negative narrative of bigoted, racist, and anti-Semitic barbs should be retired in the supposedly diverse 2024.

Is there any place for good natured humour, sly satire or stand-up comedic commentary concerning the Israelis war against Hamas? Will there be any Mel Brooks-type to puncture the bombastic balloons of misanthropic misrepresentations of Israel and Jewish people?? I hope so…

About the Author
Louis Hemmings has been writing prose and poetry since 1972. Some of his work has been published in Poetry Ireland, The Irish Catholic, Forward (USA) and Books Ireland. He is a late-life journalism student in Dublin, Ireland. He is married 38 years, has two boys, buried a stillborn and holds an ecumenical Christian point-of-view.