Jimmy Carr is facing further backlash after it transpired he also joked about the Holocaust in one of his books, released just months before his recent Netflix special came under fire.
The comedian has been heavily criticised after making controversial comments in His Dark Material, which came out on Christmas Day, having described ‘thousands of gypsies killed by the Nazis’ as one of the Holocaust’s ‘positives’.
In the joke, which he began by warning the audience to ‘strap in’, Carr said: "When people talk about the Holocaust, they talk about the tragedy and horror of six million Jewish lives being lost to the Nazi war machine.
"But they never mention the thousands of gypsies that were killed by the Nazis. No one ever talks about that because no one wants to talk... about the positives."
But in a book released last September, Before & Laughter: The Funniest Man in the UK’s Genuinely Useful Guide to Life, 49-year-old Carr made similar quips – also saying he thought it was okay to joke about the Holocaust.
Under a heading titled ‘Jokes on Hitler’, he wrote: “To laugh can be an act of defiance. People will laugh in the most stressful and hopeless situations. During the Holocaust, prisoners held in concentration camps found ways to secretly tell jokes and share stories.
“And they laughed. Laughing gave them some control and reminded them of their humanity. It helped them cope.”
Carr went on to reference 1997 Oscar-winning film Life is Beautiful, which follows an Italian father and son as they are sent to a concentration camp.
He wrote: “The movie Life is Beautiful is exceptional. How could they make a Holocaust movie that was funny? Well, because that s**t happened. And I think it’s okay to joke about the Holocaust.”
Carr added: “They say there’s safety in numbers. Tell that to six million Jews.”
Olivia Marks-Woldman, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, has since argued that Carr’s comments ‘dehumanise’ people, asking the star to empathise with the victims.
In a statement to the Evening Standard, Marks-Woldman said: “Jimmy Carr is right that people in the Holocaust concentration camps tried to assert their humanity in a variety of ways, in the face of propaganda and policies that deliberately sought to dehumanise them.
"But Carr’s ‘jokes’ certainly do not humanise, nor are they funny or joyful, as he has claimed. They dehumanise people and perpetuate prejudice.”
She added: “We urge Jimmy Carr to show empathy for Holocaust victims who were murdered for no reason other than they were Jewish, and for members of the Roma and Sinti communities...
"Jimmy Carr alleges he is concerned about education and humanity, we urge him to show empathy and extend his own learning.”
Carr's Netflix special is now facing a boycott after more than 17,000 people signed a petition calling for the show to be removed.
The petition, set up on ActionStorm, is titled 'Jimmy Carr: The Genocide of Roma is Not a Laughing Matter', and explains: "Hundreds of thousands of Gypsies, Roma, and Traveller people were killed in the Holocaust. Roma people call it 'Porajmos', meaning 'the devouring'.
"Historians estimate that as much as 25-50 percent of the entire Romani and Sinti population of Europe were victims of genocide at the hands of the Nazis, a crime of almost unimaginable proportions.
"To this day, affected communities in the UK and across Europe still struggle to navigate this immense collective trauma and come to terms with the scale of grief and loss."
Featured Image Credit: Alamy