Ricky Gervais has an answer for TheWrap's blogger Dan Bloom, who complained in a post Tuesday about the British comic's jokes involving Anne Frank.
"I feel you can make a joke about anything," Gervais wrote in his own blog, "Why It's Kosher to Joke About Anne Frank" on the Jewish Chronicle Online.
In his blog, Bloom chastised Gervais for a routine attacking the Nazis' stupidity, now making the YouTube viral rounds (see video below). "But did you have to use Anne for the foil?" Bloom asked. "The Nazis were dumb, you say, because they didn't think of looking upstairs, even with the tapping of the typewriter. They mistook that for rats. Then: 'She had time to write a novel, mind you, it ends a bit abruptly. No sequel. Lazy.''"
He also ripped Joan Rivers for a joke in her act about Frank "fantasizing about having sex with the Nazis downstairs."
"What makes comedians feel Anne Frank is an acceptable subject for humor?"
In his retort, Gervais insisted that comedy "comes from a good or a bad place and the problem is in its interpretation, with some people confusing the subject of a joke with the joke's real target."
Gervais, who said he's included the Anne Frank material in his stand-up routine for a decade, defended one particular joke about the teenage Holocaust diarist for which Bloom took him to task.
"I envisage an almost slapstick version of the Nazis entering the home of Anne Frank on a daily basis and always failing to bother to 'look upstairs.' I even have one of them suggest, 'Looking upstairs today, Sarge?' The officer replies, 'No, let's move on.'
"The first Nazi then says: 'What's that tapping sound? — as I mime using an old fashioned typewriter. Again the joke here is the supremely stupid assumption that Anne Frank obliviously and noisily typed her diary.
"The Sarge (who I am portraying as a lazy and incompetent Nazi) answers, 'Mice! Move on.'
"If you took this routine at face value as my real opinion on this profound and heroic tragedy, it could be deemed highly offensive," Gervais admits. "However, this is obviously an absurd comic position with the audience well in on the joke, fully aware that I am saying the exact opposite of what every right-minded person thinks."
Gervais failed to address a later part of the same bit, when he notes Frank's novel ends abruptly: "Lazy. No sequel," he jokes
Gervais, of course, has proven himself an ecumenical and equal-opportunity offender.
Last year he angered Christians and set off an online storm by posing Jesus-like on the cover of the New Humanist magazine and declaring that he didn't believe in God.
His take-no-prisoners skewering of Hollywood A-listers provided as much unease as mirth when he hosted the Golden Globes in 2011. He returned as the Globes host this year and offended no one, much to the chagrin of critics.
Here's a video of the bit that set off blogger Bloom: