Ricky Gervais Won’t Let Up With the Anne Frank Jokes

Guest Blog: Having defended himself against earlier criticism, comedian Ricky Gervais is back in hot water with Jewish groups after a recent tweet

Back in April, in my post on TheWrap, “Open Letter to Ricky Gervais,” I challenged British comedian Ricky Gervais to stop cracking vulgar and crude jokes about Anne Frank after I spotted him making a tasteless joke about her and her family on the Jon Stewart Comedy Central "Daily Show."

The news was picked up by several Jewish news outlets, from The Foward and The Tablet in New York to the Jewish Chronicle in London.

Getty ImagesGervais responded with an email to me which was published in the Jewish Chronicle newspaper in Britain. His piece was titled "Why it's kosher to joke about Anne Frank," and Gervais wrote, among other things:

"I have had that routine for nearly 10 years now. It is about the misunderstanding and ignorance of what is clearly a tragic and horrific situation. My comic persona is that of a man who speaks with great arrogance and authority but who along the way reveals his
immense stupidity. In this particular routine, 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.'

"I often get accused of finding comedy in places where no comedy is to be found. I feel you can make a joke about anything. It just depends on what the joke is. 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. The target of this joke is the comedian's ignorance."

So much for apologizing.

Now in the middle of the summer, Mr Gervais lets loose again in a recent Twitter message to his many "fans," whoever they might be, tweeting: "If I had a time machine, I’d go back and sneak Anne Frank a DVD of 'Home Alone.' It could give her the edge.”

The 51-year-old British comic tweeted that to over 2.5 million followers, and of course he landed in hot water again with Jewish readers in Europe and North America.

He quickly deleted the offensive tweet after being slammed by fans, according to London press reports, but in response the outspoken comedian and star of "The Office" tweeted this: “We have to stop this recent culture of people telling us they’re offended and expecting us to give a [damn]."

Ricky Gervais is a serial offender of the memory of Anne Frank and her family and he just won't stop. What makes this man tick? Do Britons really lap this stuff up?