Since a few days ago was Hitler’s birthday (on April the 20th, to be more precise), the internet exploded again with funny Hitler memes and jokes. It may seem like a disrespectful way of treating a deceased person (in spite of the very harmful system he created and the billions he made to suffer), but it’s not necessarily so, if you see the matter from a different angle. Most of the memes and funny pictures that circulate nowadays with Hitler as the main character aren’t really depicting his historical self, the actual person named Adolf Hitler, but more like a cartoonish version of himself, a version that is ubiquitous in popular culture and that is almost a synonym to a funny character. The comic effect is gained in relation to what this character represents: a frustrated little man with grandeur delusions (which is, actually, based, up to some point, on Hitler’s historic self). A piece signed by Vice has even deemed him to be the biggest pop star of them all.
Good, so now that we’ve settled that Hitler has become a cartoon-like character in movies and internet memes and so on and mocking him isn’t necessarily morally ambiguous, let’s proceed to see what the funniest depictions of Hitler in popular culture are.
1. Downfall (2004) parodies
The movie released in 2004 sparked the continued rise of countless parodies, all using a certain scene where Hitler seems to be extremely upset. The memes are usually called “Hitler reacts to…” or “Hitler finds out…” and it’s always about something from our current time. Say, something like “Hitler finds out about the Oscar nomination results” or whatever. The smaller the subject, the better; it’s usually trivial news and gossip of some sort. If you want to have a really good laugh, search for “Hitler meets the Trololol guy”, but beware, it can’t be unseen.
2. The Hitler Google suggestions
It doesn’t even matter anymore if these suggestions actually appear when people google Hitler or not. What matters is that the completely wtf google suggestions have been a source of many memes and internet jokes over the past 3-4 years and are still popular. Let’s face it, there’s nothing worse than preparing to enjoy your Nutella on some warm pancakes or something only to discover that Hitler stole your jar again.
3. The Adolf Hipster
Because few things are funnier than mix-ups and managing to make fun of more themes at the same time. Not that hipsterdom is something to be made fun of, mind you. Behold a few Adolf Hipster memes and when you get the chance, maybe browse the Adolf Hipster webcomic. It includes other notable characters, such as Broseph Stalin.
4. Hitler commercials
Commercials for products of our contemporary age making use of historical footage of Hitler seem to be all the rage these days. The example above, picturing the Axe effect, not only manages to make fun of Hitler or of the product and the silly way it’s generally marketed, but also of the social appeal and mystique that surrounded Hitler in his rise to prominence.
To wrap it up, you now probably have lots of funny material, since all of the points presented above aren’t a single joke, but more like a whole category of memes constantly updated with new rich content. All in all, there’s a plethora of appearances of Hitler in popular culture, beyond just the funny stuff, but somehow the humorous part steals all the glam.
Some have argued that this trend trivializes the evil of the Nazi regime or makes it too banal, but I think a good dose of laughter can always help the world know some truths better without necessarily taking them out of perspective.