British comedy has always been acerbic (it’s a word – look it up). And now it is beginning to piss people off – GOOD!
Like the recent furore over Ricky Gervais’ words at the Globes. This has been his style since he ARRIVED on the comedy scene – in 1999 – on the Eleven O’Clock Show, where caustic comedy was the norm.
Then there were the remarks made on “Qi” concerning the true story of a man who, having SURVIVED the American attack on Hiroshima, decided to flee to – NAGASAKI. Comedy GOLD – but the Japanese were INCENSED.
However they need to get a LIFE. I SAW that show and it did NOT make LIGHT of the thousands who had died in the twin holocausts – rather it observed the comic IRONY of this one unfortunate man (who, incidentally, went on to live until NINETY-odd).
Nevertheless, the show’s host has had to CANCEL a planned trip to Japan to film part of a documentary.
I also recall a time Julian Clary said, on the British Comedy Awards, he’d just been fisting Chancellor Of The Exchequer Norman Lamont, backstage. The humour came out of the absurd picture it created in everybody’s mind.
And like yesterday’s newspapers, it would have been forgotten if no-one had complained. But said newspapers had it IN for Lamont and launched an attack of mock outrage – which KILLED his career.
However, nowadays, Auntie is STANDING BY her comedians – sort of.
Back in the Sixties, she FIRED Kenny Everett for saying, when a news item announced the Transport Minister’s wife had just passed her driving test – “she probably slipped the examiner a fiver.” The remark was OBVIOUSLY a joke – but Kenny still got canned.
While these days, the winner of the most complaints to Auntie is undoubtedly JEREMY CLARKSON and Auntie SUPPORTS him – given the fact “Top Gear” is one of her most successful shows, she is prepared to TOLERATE her naughtiest boy.
Clarkson described an Italian sports car’s “face” (with the headlights as the eyes and radiator grill as its mouth) as looking like a village idiot – and since it was called the Speciale, said it should be called the Speciale Needs.
People connected to the mentally disadvantaged LEAPT on that one.
And when a Mexican sports car failed to impress him, he said it was like Mexicans – lazy and shiftless. Then he added it would be no good ringing up the Mexican ambassador to complain as he would be asleep (as it turned out, he WASN’T).
This style of humour – poking fun at foreigners, stereotypes, sexual deviants and the disabled is a peculiarly BRITISH thing.
Oh sure, American humour (sorry – humor) can be spiky – Bill Maher’s description of George Wan… sorry, WaLker Bush as a moron who couldn’t string six coherent words together – or find his way out of a room without Secret Service holding the door open for him – was hilarious, because it was true.
But while Jon Stewart and his “correspondents” (one of whom is British) lampoon EVERYTHING – they STILL stay on this side of “good taste”. And despite Bill’s programme (sorry – program) being called “Politically Incorrect” – it never really WAS.
However, in Britain the rules have been thrown OUT. American-originated Political Correctness has dominated for THIRTY BORING YEARS, but thanks to Britain’s Gervaises and Clarksons, change is finally coming.
Of course, it helps that they are both rich and their shows are successful – but whatever the circumstances, these people are now allowed to shine like beacons of light in a DARK WORLD.
Comedy is BACK, baby!