Justin Timberlake stepped in to save an awkward situation when directors Joel and Ethan Coen were asked at the Cannes Film Festival about Jewish humor by a German reporter on Sunday.
"I smell a trap," quipped Timberlake at a news conference (left) for Joel and Ethan Coen's sardonic drama about a folk singer, "Inside Llewyn Davis," where a German reporter asked about the nature of "Jewish humor."
Timberlake has a supporting role in the movie as folk singer Jim.
"The Germans are not really known for humor," said the reporter, who suggested that the Second World War and the Holocaust might have robbed the German people of their humor and, perhaps, Jewish wit.
He then asked: "Jewish humor, does it exist? If so what does it consist of?"
After Timberlake stepped in to deflect the question for the (presumably Jewish) Coens, and music supervisor T Bone Burnett interjected a few remarks to make the question go away, Joel Coen stepped up.
"There's nothing like the Holocaust to put the stake in a certain kind of humor," he deadpanned, before moving on to questions closer to the heart of his film, set in the 1960s in the Village.
"Inside Llewyn Davis," starring an unknown, Oscar Isaac, as the title character, debuted to raves at the festival on Saturday. CBS Films is distributing the film in the United States in the fall.