‘Jojo Rabbit’: Weaponizing comedy to remember the Holocaust

The Times’ Mark Olsen talks with Taika Waititi, the director, writer and star of the anti-Nazi satire “Jojo Rabbit.”


Taika Waititi is not interested in making movies that please everyone — he says that would be too safe and boring.

The writer and director of “Jojo Rabbit” — who also plays a cartoonish Adolf Hitler in a comic coming-of-age story about a Nazi youth who discovers a Jewish girl hiding in his attic — tells host Mark Olsen that he prefers making films that could end his career.

Balancing satire and the Holocaust was always going to be tricky, and “Jojo Rabbit” has already divided critics. But only in America is “divisive” a bad thing, the New Zealand filmmaker says — everywhere else, it’s considered art.


Comedy, the filmmaker argues, is an effective weapon against bigotry and authoritarian leaders.

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The movie is based on the book “Caging Skies” by Christine Leunens. Waititi added comedic elements and an imaginary Führer.

Also in this episode, Olsen speaks with The Times’ culture columnist and critic Mary McNamara about some of the revelations in Ronan Farrow’s new book “Catch and Kill,” including Farrow’s allegations that NBC News shut down his reporting about disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

And in the “Glenn Whipp Awards Minute,” entertainment columnist Whipp gives an early survey of the best actress race.

This episode contains explicit language that may not be suitable for some listeners.

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