• This essay argues that an examination of comedy in the USA reveals the extent to which collective memory of the Holocaust evolved during the 20th and early 21st centuries. Using sources taken from the domain of mainstream American comedy since the 1930s, the analysis evidences how, following an initial reluctance to represent the genocide within popular culture, the years since the early 1960s have seen the cultural importance of the Holocaust grow among both Jewish and gentile Americans, culminating in a modern situation in which the event has come to serve a duality of roles in U.S. society.