1 PM Wednesday 17 October 2012 Nunhead Heights
The funniest review I’ve gotten was from an Edinburgh festival magazine a few years back for my second Edinburgh show ‘Lewis Schaffer is Bigger and Blacker’. I was called ‘mildly racist’ and given only One Star.
If someone thinks I’m a racist, even a ‘mild’ one, it means one of three things:
A) I’ve failed in my job as a comic to make the jokes work. B) The people who think I’m a racist are too stupid to get the jokes and I’ve wasted my life trying to make stupid people laugh. Or C) I really am a racist and need to reevaluate my act and myself.
Frankie Boyle told some jokes on his TV programme Tramadol Nights that some viewers found racist, including people at the Daily Mirror newspaper. It was printed in the Daily Mirror that Frankie Boyle is ‘racist’. Frankie Boyle is suing the paper for libel claiming he is not a racist.
I don’t think Frankie Boyle is a racist. He mocks racists. One has to assume that he’s smart enough not to use the n-word anywhere close to a hateful way. Even real racists aren’t that stupid.
But that’s just my opinion.
When I first moved to London I was booed off stage at Battersea Jongleurs comedy club. I had said: ‘I hate Jews. Not all Jews. Just two Jews: My parents.’ The booing started after ‘I hate Jews’. The audience did hate me from the beginning of my set but they had stopped listening at that point.
When a comic uses the N-word many people turn off and assume that anything the comic is saying will be derogatory to black people. Most Brits don’t want to hear anything even ‘mildly racist’ – I’ve learned that the hard way.
Like at Battersea, the Daily Mirror people didn’t like Frankie Boyle from the start. It could be because of his unkind jokes about the swimmer Rebecca Adlington nose or Harvey, the sad son of Katie Price. The Daily Mirror editors had probably just turned off Frankie Boyle and didn’t hear his other jokes.
Frankie Boyle wants to prove the Mirror wrong. His method is madness.
He wants his jokes heard by another audience – this time a jury of 12 of his peers in an English court. He is trying to make this into one of those Hollywood movies where they replay the big high school football game twenty years later and his team wins.
He must know from Lenny Bruce’s court appearances that jokes meant for hearing after the watershed in a darkened club or living room are rarely as funny at 10 in the morning in a brightly lit courtroom.
I bet that most of those 12 jurors aren’t natural Frankie Boyle fans, either. Even the warm and cuddly Michael McIntyre has detractors.
This trial can end very badly for Frankie Boyle.
If he loses he will be a court-certified racist. ‘Frankie Boyle is a racist says Court!’ The tv channels will think twice about giving someone controversial a shot. And then he’ll be saddled with massive legal debts. Who knows what else. His outcome may not be as bad as Justin Lee Collins’ outcome, where Collins’ career is ruined, and he may not go the route of Oscar Wilde after Wilde’s ill-conceived libel trial, which killed Wilde, but I have a very bad feeling about this.
Alternatively, if the jury finds him to have been libeled it will have one more chilling affect on the freedom of the press in Britain which is already being frozen from every side.
I don’t agree with the Mirror but we need to let the press be free to print what it believes. Even if those stupid, stupid people call us racists.
What do you think about this?
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