"I was never crazy about Hitler. If you stand on a soapbox and trade rhetoric with a dictator you never win. That's what they do so well: they seduce people. But if you ridicule them, bring them down with laughter, they can't win. You show how crazy they are."
In short: Adolf Hitler
is treated as a joke instead of a monster.
No, this doesn't intend to excuse anything done under his regime. The point is that instead of being treated as some kind of boogeyman or evil incarnate, he's treated as something stupid, for reasons stated in the above quote.
This was essentially the default portrayal of Hitler in most Allied media during World War II
. The revelation of the Holocaust in the final years of the war made this a more controversial trope. Making light of the Nazis is, essentially, making light of the things they did. Although, that's not usually the intention of the people making Nazi jokes.
of Those Wacky Nazis
(with actual emphasis on the "wacky") and Historical Hilarity
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Anime & Manga
- Dragon Ball Z movie Fusion Reborn does one when the dead are returning to the world of the living where a man who looks like Hitler is commanding a legion of tanks and is fighting Goten and Trunks and failing. It got cut in some dubs though.
- Naturally, Germany of Axis Powers Hetalia occasionally causes this, commenting on his "crazy Boss". This is far more accentuated in the Gag Dub, however.
- Many issues of the original run of Captain America treated Hitler this way. In one story, Captain America and his boy sidekick Bucky battle Hitler and Goering. Both senior Nazis squabble over who will get to fight the child hero rather than Cap himself...and then Bucky beats them both up before the heroes just leave the two behind despite the wartime setting. Of course, this is obviously a case of Real Life Writes the Plot, since the real Hitler hadn't been defeated and deposed.
- Several Captain Marvel stories of the 1940s also had Hitler as an almost childlike villain, including one where he is defeated temporarily when exposed to an "honesty ray" that forces him to tell the truth for 24 hours. Or Reltih, the Reverse Hitler, who chose to try and conquer his own world by marrying into the United Kingdom's Royal Family. You get the idea.
- Hitler was often portrayed as an egotistical loudmouth and a buffoonish villain during the Silver Age of comics books in Marvel Comics' Nick Fury and His Howling Commandos comic.
- Adolf, die Nazisau ("Adolf, the Nazi Pig") by German writer/cartoonist Walter Moers tells the story of Hitler, who survived in the sewers of Berlin, reemerging in the 90s and trying to cope with modern life. There is also a music video based on the same work.
- In Savage Dragon, it is revealed that Hitler's brain was saved and was in the body of a super-powered gorilla. Thus, the villain Brainape was born. The character obviously started off as a joke but once it was discovered whose brain was in there, he became even more buffoonish.
- This was a staple of wartime British cartoons, sometimes pairing him up with Benito Mussolini as a pair of Butt Monkeys.
- Nero: In certain albums he is shown to be still alive, hiding in an igloo or on an island. Yet in later stories he is shown as a denizen in Hell.
- One of Hergé's comic strips "Quick and Flupke" was made during the 1930s. In a some episodes the little boys dress up as Hitler and Mussolini. After World War II these innocent jokes were suddenly not that funny anymore and are kept out of the official Quick & Flupke albums.
- Mel Brooks, who provides the page quote, naturally has taken plenty of shots at Hitler in his films.
- The Producers is based largely on this, by having a play about him try to be a flop (which is why the trope Springtime for Hitler is named so), and hiring a hippie to play Hitler in the film version, and then having a Camp Gay director play him in the stage version.
- Brooks's 1983 remake of To Be or Not to Be plays up Hitler himself as an object of ridicule, as well as turning what in the original 1942 film was a serious play put on by the main characters about the Nazis called "Gestapo" into a blatant musical parody called "Naughty Nazis," which borrows more than a little from The Producers and "Springtime for Hitler."
- History of the World Part I: "See... Hitler on ice!" Cut to Hitler in full uniform ice skating.
- Blazing Saddles has a scene toward the end that takes place in the Warner Brothers commissary. An actor dressed as Hitler (who is implied to be Jewish) mentions "the bunker scene" before the place explodes into a hilarious pie fight. As the brawl unfolds, said actor can be seen in the background, tossing out rapid-fire Nazi salutes for absolutely no reason at all.
- One of the short films in the horror-comedy anthology, Chillerama, is called The Diary of Anne Frankenstein. The film has the distinction of making fun of both Hitler and Anne Frank.
- The Great Dictator is Chaplin's lampoon of German and Italian fascism, with the serial numbers filed off. Chaplin plays both "Adenoid Hynkel, ruler of Tomainia," who is transparently an Expy of Hitler, and the nameless Jewish barber who is a dead ringer for him.
- The Three Stooges, who were all Jewish, were the first comics to publicly spoof Hitler, Goebbels, and Goering with the short "You Nazty Spy." They followed up with other examples, including the scene in "High As A Kite" where Curly sits down on a photo of Hitler, causing Nazis to heil Curly's bottom.
- In Little Nicky, Hitler's punishment in hell is to be forced to dress as a French Maid and repeatedly get an Ass Shove with a pineapple.
- The Devil with Hitler, a World War Two propaganda comedy film, has the Devil screwing around with Hitler, setting him up for all kinds of pratfalls.
- Highway to Hell. Adolf Hitler (Gilbert Gottfried) is one of the inhabitants of Hell. He's played in Gottfried's standard over-the-top manner, very similar to the character of Iago in Disney's Aladdin.
- The German film Mein Führer, featuring the comedian/singer/songwriter Helge Schneider in the title role, lives this trope. In an interview director Dany Levy said that he wanted to "knock the Nazis off their throne of vicious admiration".
- The German comedy movie Der Wixxer has Alfons Hatler, a butler (and in the sequel the warden of a Bedlam House) who, additionally to his similar name, also looks and talks like Hitler. In a bit of a subversion (both to resembling hitler and being a butler in a crime mystery) he is neither villianous nor evil.
- The 2008 Russian comedy Gitler Kaput (literally "Hitler's Kaput!") has this in spades, turning the Fuhrer into an nervous wreck obsessed with, of all things, potatoes and who surrounds himself with white rappers decked out in Nazi-themed bling. It also lampoons German and Soviet troops, with the lead Pavel Derevyanko playing a blundering parody of SS mole Maxim Isaev from Seventeen Moments of Spring.
Live Action Television
- The Doctor Who episode "Let's Kill Hitler", where the Führer gets locked in a storage cupboard early in the episode, and is still there when it ends.
"Shut up, Hitler!"
- The Whitest Kids U Know did a skit called "Triumph of the Ill" which featured Hitler rapping.
- The IT Crowd features a rather throwaway gag where Douglas, upon passing out after accidentally shooting himself in the leg, meets his father, Denholm in heaven, who attempts to persuade him into coming into the light. Before he can do this, however, Hitler pokes his head round the door and Douglas starts to suspect that This Isn't Heaven. This leads to Denholm trying to play him off as a woman dressed up for a heaven Hitler party.
- The failed sitcom Heil Honey, I'm Home! attempted this.
- Monty Python's Flying Circus episode 12. Adolf Hitler survived World War 2 and is living in Britain under the name "Hilter". He tries (badly) to pretend to be British but tends to lose his temper and act in a stupid and crazed manner (he hasn't slept since 1945).
- There's also the "Funniest Joke in the World" sketch, wherein said joke is used as a war weapon against the Nazis, but the parts that best fit the trope are the German "counter-joke" (which are just captions superimposed on Hitler's speech footage) and the Allied soldier being interrogated at Gestapo.
- Spitting Image featured an elderly Hitler living in Downing Street and advising Margaret Thatcher (although she apparently didn't know it was him as he used the name "Herr Wilcox").
- Dad's Army refers to this on occasion. The theme tune, Who Do You Think You Are Kidding Mister Hitler?, is a pastiche of wartime songs that treated Hitler as a joke.
- When some people complained that 'Allo 'Allo! made Nazis look fun and harmless, thus encouraging people to embrace Neo-Nazism, the counterargument was portraying the Gestapo as bumbling idiots, and the Wehrmacht as corrupt fools was a better way to make them unattractive to mindless thugs, rather then making them Ubermensch killing machines.
- Soap: In a throwaway gag it's revealed that Hitler is alive and well working as a waiter in a cafe in Ecuador.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000: Mike and the Bots' reaction to the infamous "Hitler Building" scene from Invasion of the Neptune Men.
(upon seeing the building) WHAT?!
Tom: They blew up the Hitler Building! Now where are the children going to go to see Hitler memorabilia?!
Crow: All the Hitler rides and games! The Hitler salt and pepper shakers!
Mike: That great restaurant The Bunker...gone!
- In Hogan's Heroes, Carter impersonates Hitler several times to dupe Colonel Klink.
- The Obersalzberg skits from German comedy series Switch! are essentially The Office, Third Reich style, with Hitler as the hapless David Brent figure (Or rather, his counterpart from the German version of the Office, Stromberg).
- Hitler appeared in an episode of El Chapulín Colorado, played by Chespirito himself, with the expected results.
- Done a few times in Red Dwarf, most notably when Lister managed to get himself inserted into the Nuremberg Rally.
Lister: No, don't listen! He's a complete and total nutter! And he's only got one testicle!
- Discussed Trope in The Kids in the Hall: According to one skit, a bawdy sketch involving Hitler among the pigs was deemed too offensive to show.
- A Mr. Show sketch took the form of a news item about cloned Hitlers being given out to Jewish families, who use them for all sorts of mundane purposes. If the owners die, the Hitler is on its own. Turns out life is pretty tough when everybody knows you're Hitler.
Cynical Hitler (David Cross):
You know, the young ones are always grumbling about how "we never asked to be grown in a lab." Well, let me tell you something, we have a saying around here: Get used to it, Hitler!
- In Misfits after a time travel plot goes wrong, Hitler gets beaten up by violent chav, Kelly. First by headbutting him, then kicking him in the crotch a few times when he is on the ground.
Kelly:Oi, 'Itler. Why 'ave you gotta be such a dick!?
- Der Fuehrer's Face, a Spike Jones tune ridiculing Nazi ideology and Hitler in particular, later the basis for an animated short (see below).
- Several sets of unofficial lyrics to the Colonel Bogey March include references to Hitler's rumored testicular problems.
- In Nick Lowe's song "Little Hitler", he compares Jake Riviera, his notoriously thuggish manager, to the Fuhrer.
- Possibly an Ur Example: In 1939, some Nazi leaders denounced the popular music-hall song "The Lambeth Walk" as "Jewish mischief and animalistic hopping." So Charles Ridley of the British Ministry of Information took some footage of Nazi troops from Triumph of the Will and remixed it to make it look like they were dancing to (you guessed it) the Lambeth Walk. Comics historian Mark Evanier remarks, "It is said the film was shown for Joseph Goebbels and he exploded and ran screaming from the room in anger. If so, that alone was reason enough to make it." You can watch it on his blog here.
- The Residents devoted an entire concept album "Third Reich 'N' Roll", poking fun at Hitler and Nazis.
- Subverted for shock value in Anal Cunt's "Hitler Was a Sensitive Man" and "I Went Back in Time and Voted for Hitler".
- The Non-Adventures of Wonderella has an Opposite-Sex Clone of Hitler, called Hitlerella, who is treated just as much of a joke as the rest of the cast.
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal has various strips involving Hitler that make jokes at his expense, such as an alternate universe Hitler who works at a carnival and creating Hitler clones for the sole purpose of punishing them.
- Hipster Hitler is made of this, re-imagining him as a modern-day pretentious hipster (also featuring Joseph Stalin as a frat guy).
- Goats had an arc where the protagonists go see the movie "Good Hitler versus Space Hitler", where Good Hitler is essentially a James Bond expy while Space Hitler is a creepy alien. It's implied to be only the latest in a long line of Good Hitler movies.
- The Good Hitler franchise went on the become a bit of a running joke in Goats, and the beginning of a Good Hitler story (in which he fought Good Kim Jong Un who had turned evil) was later featured in Jon Rosenberg's other comic Scenes From A Multiverse.
- Bob the Angry Flower had a strip where Hitler returned to Earth to atone for his sins by saving people. Everyone hates him and treats him badly because he's, well, Hitler.
- Cats That Look Like Hitler: A photo gallery of various cats who resemble Der Fuhrer.
- Hitler has made three appearances on Epic Rap Battles of History, rapping against Darth Vader. He was frozen in carbonite after the first, dropped into the Rancor Pit after the second, and sliced in half by Vader's lightsaber after the third, because Even Evil Has Standards.
- This is the premise of the Hitler Rants Gag Sub videos. They're based on clips from Downfall, a film about Hitler's last days in the Fuehrerbunker, which are Gag Subbed to have Hitler rant about the most trivial things... with clips from other movies, some related to Nazism and Germany and World War II, some not, edited in.
- The Ignore Hitler meme. Word of God said he did it to make fun of Hitler.
- Things That Look Like Hitler: A photo gallery of various people, animals, and objects that (may) resemble Hitler.
- Hitler Getting Punched: A gallery of photos and comic scans about Hitler getting beaten up in amusing ways.
- To make up for Eight Crazy Nights being such a poor Hanukkah movie, The Nostalgia Critic provides an image of Hitler roasting on a menorah.
- The Cinema Snob has reviewed a few Hitler-related movies, and also used him for comedy in The Tormentors, a movie about Neo Nazi bikers: he decides to call a phone number that appears on screen... and is greeted by a loud soundbite by the Fuhrer.
- The Simpsons: Despite creator Matt Groening going on record claiming he is not fond of Hitler jokes, he has a let a few good ones pass. Sadly, some of Hitler's appearances in The Simpsons are more redundant than really funny.
- In "Duffless" Hitler's head is seen passing by in a bottle with formol.
- In "Bart Vs. Australia" Bart unknowingly dials Hitler's telephone number, as it appears he's still alive as an old man in Argentina.
- In "New Kids on the Blecch", an Olympic TV special is broadcast showing Hitler enraged that in the 1936 Olympics, Jesse Owen outraces his Zeppelin. In the 1968 Olympics, Bob Beamon breaks the long jump record and gets him angry again.
- In the episode "Itchy & Scratchy: The Movie" a cartoon from the 1940s is shown where Itchy and Scratchy beat, kick and decapitate Hitler. Then Itchy chops off Scratchy's head and Franklin D. Roosevelt appears, kicking both Hitler and Scratchy in the butt.
- In "The Regina Monologues" Moe guesses that Hitler was the famous person depicted on the $1000 bill.
- In "Bart Carny" Hitler's car is destroyed by Bart during a carnival. Nelson Muntz punches Bart and asks him: "That was Hitler's car. What did he ever do to you?"
- In "Old Yeller Belly" Lisa and Santa's Little Helper watch an old Rin Tin Tin movie, where the dog bites Hitler for no other apparent reason than the fact that they both appeared in black-and-white movies.
- In an Itchy And Scratchy cartoon that spoofs "The King's Speech" Hitler is -again- thrown in at the last moment, crushing Scratchy with his tank. This causes Maggie to imitate Hitler's salute, to which Lisa quickly corrects her.
- The alternative ending of the film "Casablanca" in "Natural Born Kissers" shows Hitler trying to kill Humphrey Bogart, but he is defeated in the end.
- Frequently, in Family Guy, Hitler is played for laughs in cutaways.
- In one Hey Arnold! episode, Arnold's grandfather told an embellished tale of the time he fought Hitler in the war. He defeated Hitler by giving him a wedgie.
- Looney Tunes:
- In the 1940s short "Russian Rhapsody," Hitler pilots a bomber personally to attack Russia, but is defeated by "gremlins from the Kremlin", who do such things as putting tacks on his chair, scaring him with a Stalin mask, and disassembling the bomber out from under him.
- In another 1940s short "Daffy The Commando" Hitler is compared to a skunk and Daffy hits him with a mallet near the end of the cartoon.
- A 1945 Bugs Bunny cartoon, "Herr Meets Hare," has Bugs make mock of Hermann Goering in the same manner that he usually takes on Elmer Fudd and Yosemite Sam. At the end, Bugs scares off Hitler and Goering by dressing up as Josef Stalin.
- Robot Chicken's "Li'l Hitler" shorts feature a child version of Hitler at school trying to take over the desks of other students.
- Also, a series of "Dicks With Time Machines" sketches ends with the mischievous time traveler disrupting one of Hitler's speeches by projecting a picture of him on the toilet, making him into a laughingstock who can't get anyone's attention. (The title then changes to "Heroes With Time Machines").
- South Park does have some straight examples, for example in "Hell On Earth 2006" and "Mr Hankey's Christmas Classics" where he appears as a deranged resident of Hell. Cartman also admires him and frequently dresses up as him for fun, much to others' disgust.
Narrator: Adolf Hitler was a very, very naughty man!
- The Tex Avery short Blitz Wolf centers around a retelling of The Three Little Pigs where the Big Bad Wolf is a goofy, lupine caricature of Hitler.
- In the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "Der Inflatable Fuhrer", it turns out that Hitler tried to smuggle his possessions out of Nazi Germany in a balloon hidden inside his anus. The balloon burst, trapping Hitler's soul inside it. (It Makes Just As Much Sense In Context.) The ATHF convince Talking Balloon!Hitler to stop hating Jews by pointing out that most of his favorite celebrities are Jewish, but when the Fuhrer starts hating on gays instead, Frylock decides he's had enough and literally bursts Hitler's bubble.
- And who could forget the Donald Duck cartoon Der Fuehrer's Face? All together now:
Ven der fueherer says, "Ve ist der master race,"
Ve heil! (Bronx cheer) Heil! (Bronx cheer) Right in der fuehrer's face!
Not to love der fuehrer ist a great disgrace,
So ve heil! (Bronx cheer) Heil! (Bronx cheer) Right in der fuehrer's face!
- Another Disney short, Education for Death, is a relentlessly somber illustration of how Germans were conditioned from birth to the Nazi mentality - in a revisionist version of Sleeping Beauty taught to children, Hitler is shown as a buffoonish fairy tale hero. Yes, this film is so grim, they can use Hitler as comedy relief.
- Hitler made a few appearances on The Critic as well. Once, to illustrate Jay's unpopularity, Duke shows him test audiences giving Hitler a higher approval rating. In another episode, a French waiter at Cannes reminiscences about Hitler and Eva Braun vacationing on the beach.
- Mel Brooks discusses this trope and provides the quote above in a US News.com article.
- Lots of comedians like to shock people by imitating Hitler, down to the shouting, saluting and goose stepping.
- The British propaganda ministries often liked to lampoon Hitler and the Nazis, including setting Nazi newsreels to dance music and editing pictures of Hitler in grotesquely obscene ways. So did the Soviets, although their◊humour◊ was somewhat darker and more complex, leaning more towards satire (mocking Hitler's vegetarianism, for example) rather than outright denigration.
- According to Cracked, this picture was banned by the Führer for being "beneath one's dignity." So naturally, it's all over the Internet now. Nice shorts, Adolf.