NEWS

Comedy fest poster stirs controversy

07/12/2012 02:42 EDT | Updated 09/11/2012 05:12 EDT
A Jewish rights group is concerned about advertisements for a show at this year's Just for Laughs festival that features a baby sporting the recognizable mustache of Adolf Hitler.

The poster for the play Le Prenom has been plastered around town in preparation for the festival and has generated calls from offended residents, according to Steven Slimovitch of B'Nai Brith.

" Any kind of connection to Hitler is still a open wound for many people," he said.

The group has been in touch with festival organizers and appreciated their response to their concerns.

Just for Laughs president Andy Nulman says the play is not anti-Semitic.

It centres around a father who suggests the name Adolf for his unborn son and examines the reactions he receives from people in his life.

" From that, a whole bunch of situations happen, it's basically a domino effect that occurs from that," Nulman said of the plot of the show. "It's actually hilarious and very pro-Semitic."

Nulman said the image works perfectly to promote the show, but he understands that some people may be sensitive about it.

"Our original poster for this was incredibly dull. It was five people sitting on a couch. That's not going to sell anything," he said.

So far, there are no plans to remove the ads.

Nulman said he hopes Montrealers understand the image, and the reaction it produces, within the context of the play and the humorous situation at its core.

"Our intent is never to insult anybody, but in comedy you have to provoke reaction and that is the nature of our business at every step of the way."

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