Norway comic refutes anti-Semitic censure / News / The Foreigner

Norway comic refutes anti-Semitic censure. Comedian Atle Antonsen says he is unrepentant following criticism of jokes made during Harald Eia’s ‘Brille’ comedy programme about orthodox Jews as well as Lapps. In last week’s transmission on NRK he talked about why orthodox Jews cannot eat jelly babies (‘Seigmenn’). “It’s a Nazi snack”, “they get goo in their curls?” he said, also commenting why they use two sets of cutlery for dinner because “they steal cutlery when they are in a restaurant.” Joining Mr Antonsen and Mr Eia were co-comedians Bård Tufte Johansen, and Tore Sagen. Almost 680,000 Norwegian TV viewers watched the second programme, which increased to 782,000 in yesterday’s third. This was only beaten by NRK’s evening news programme.

nrkatleantonsen, haraleeiahumourprogramme, jokesaboutorthodoxjews, samijokes



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Norway comic refutes anti-Semitic censure

Published on Tuesday, 31st January, 2012 at 17:58 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 31st January 2012 at 20:38.

Comedian Atle Antonsen says he is unrepentant following criticism of jokes made during Harald Eia’s ‘Brille’ comedy programme about orthodox Jews as well as Lapps.

Atle Antonsen
'I'm embarrassed I didn't have a better punch-line.'Atle Antonsen
Photo: Stig Ove Voll/Wikimedia Commons


In last week’s transmission on NRK he talked about why orthodox Jews cannot eat jelly babies (‘Seigmenn’). “It’s a Nazi snack”, “they get goo in their curls?” he said, also commenting why they use two sets of cutlery for dinner because “they steal cutlery when they are in a restaurant.”

Joining Mr Antonsen and Mr Eia were co-comedians Bård Tufte Johansen, and Tore Sagen. Almost 680,000 Norwegian TV viewers watched the second programme, which increased to 782,000 in yesterday’s third. This was only beaten by NRK’s evening news programme.

Former Speaker and Conservative (H) MP Jo Benkow (born Josef Elias Benkowitz), a Norwegian Jew, told Dagbladet, “It’s not okay to joke about this [subject]. I neither particularly like it, nor find it necessary. I don’t really appreciate it.”

In the series’ first programme, jokes were made at the expense of Norway’s indigenous Sami population. It was said human beings in Oslo and Finnmark municipalities were perceived as being the coldest by others because many Lapps live in both places.

Thorgeir S. Kolshus, postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oslo’s Department of Social Anthropology, shares 87-year-old- Mr Benkow’s concerns. He criticises the programmes for doing nothing to diminish existing prejudices about Jews or Lapps.

In his Dagens Næringsliv commentary yesterday, Dr Kolshus points out Mr Eia and Co. have made jokes about ethnic minorities before, but they were “so overly caricatured, that the jokes were first and foremost at their [comedians’] expense, thus ridiculing prejudices.”

“We still laugh most at the panel laughing at themselves in ‘Brille’, but the points about Jews and Lapps are not so far removed from thoughts that actually exist out there, stoking the flames of a fire that is already burning too intensely for Norwegian Jews. The jokes in ‘Brille’ are leaning so little towards being extreme, that they can contribute to displacing what we think of as acceptable to think and say.”

Stina Greaker at Funkenhauser, the programme’s external production company, claims they asked Oslo Jewish community spokesperson Erwin Kohn to verify facts about Jewish rituals. She alleges the Community viewed the jokes as being within acceptable limits.

“We haven’t received any complaints that anyone has experienced this as inappropriate, apart from Monday’s commentary in DN. Nevertheless, of course we hear what people are saying and will take it into consideration when evaluating the programme,” Ms Greaker says to VG.

Nonetheless, Atle Antonsen hits back at censure, telling Dagbladet in an SMS he thinks “we’ve obviously let all possible groupings of different religions and minorities off the hook far too lightly for too long. I’m embarrassed I didn’t have a better punch-line when I’m first going to be criticised for something.”



Published on Tuesday, 31st January, 2012 at 17:58 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 31st January 2012 at 20:38.

This post has the following tags: nrkatleantonsen, haraleeiahumourprogramme, jokesaboutorthodoxjews, samijokes.





  
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