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Jason Manford: Cancelling offensive comedy is 'slippery slope'...

Discussion in 'Politics Discussion' started by AGXStarseed, Nov 11, 2020.

  1. AGXStarseed

    AGXStarseed Well-Known Member

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    (Not written by me)


    Jason Manford has said comedians should be able to offend, and that it is a "slippery slope" to "cancel" the past.

    His comments come after a summer of revisionism around comedy sketches and programmes which could be considered offensive by the standards of today.

    Manford said it was a bad idea to "rewrite our history".

    The 39-year-old British stand-up suggests that comedians should be able to offend people, despite that not being his own style of comedy.

    "I don't want to offend anybody," he told the PA news agency. "I would be genuinely mortified if anyone left one of my shows upset by something that I'd said.

    "I'd feel like that would be a breach of contract. My audience come for a certain sort of show and I like to put on that show."

    But, he continued: "I have a real umbrage about people who will laugh at everything until something offensive is said about them. You can't have it both ways."

    Manford defended comedians who are well known for their risqué style. "If you're going to see Jimmy Carr and you leave offended, then you're the only idiot in that scenario. What do you think is going to happen?" he said.

    "If somebody is doing something offensive and saying a horrendous joke at seven o'clock in the evening on the TV... then that's when [broadcasting watchdog] Ofcom comes in and sorts those things out.

    "But at the same time, going back through history and finding offensive things in the past, cancelling people from 30 years ago because of something they said or did - you can't start doing that.

    "We're on a very slippery slope if we start to revise our history."


    'The edge of propriety'
    In January, Frank Skinner told the BBC that his favourite type of comedy was found "on the edge of inappropriate".

    Another British comedy hero, Dawn French, recently told The Andrew Marr Show she "fears a little bit for our cancel culture".

    She suggested comedy has to "live on the edges of propriety" and that its exponents "need to offend a tiny bit to work out what what's funny".

    "All the way back to Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor and people that I've always really enjoyed - the edgy people are the people that plough the furrow for the rest of us," said French.

    "My opinion is, say what you want to say - be free to say anything, and then everyone can be free to challenge you, or to tune out from you."

    She added: "And for any comedian that's the biggest punishment if nobody wants to listen to you anymore then I think you've got the message."

    Manford, whose 2020 stand-up comedy tour was postponed until next year due to the pandemic, went on to stress that the "one thing we need is laughter" right now, after "such an awful year".

    He noted how controversial topics like the "confusing" rules around coronavirus, for example, "lend themselves to comedy".

    The Mancunian concluded: "What's important and what sometimes people lose sight of is, having a laugh and taking the Mickey out of the rules of lockdown... is not the same as laughing at the fact people are dying of Covid."

    Manford's comments on historically offensive content come after a string of high-profile comedy programmes and sketches were put under the spotlight earlier this year, following Black Lives Matter protests.

    Stars such as Leigh Francis, Tina Fey, David Walliams, Matt Lucas and Ant and Dec apologised for programmes and sketches they'd previously taken part in which are now considered insensitive or offensive.

    But John Cleese criticised the "cowardly and gutless" BBC after an episode of Fawlty Towers containing "racial slurs" was temporarily removed from a BBC-owned streaming platform.

    His famous titular character, Basil Fawlty, Cleese pointed out online, was "a figure of fun". The show was re-instated to UKTV soon after, with "extra guidance" added to alert viewers.


    Source: Jason Manford: Cancelling offensive comedy is 'slippery slope'
     
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  2. AGXStarseed

    AGXStarseed Well-Known Member

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    For me personally, I think comedy should be allowed to be offensive as it challenges us while shedding light on things that we may often overlook.

    I think this clip from a 1990's animated series (Duckman) says it best as the main character gives an impassioned speech about comedy after seeing audiences manipulated into laughing at safe, politically correct and unfunny comedy:

     
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  3. Finder

    Finder Active Member

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    What is so funny about being offensive? Using humor to normalize or support offensive ideas is not funny either.
     
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  4. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Just another kind of Big Brother. Oh but wait. I shouldn't say that anymore. Make it Big Sibling, and don't cut my Swedish Fish ration please.
     
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  5. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member

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    I guess it ultimately depends on the subject being made sport of by any comedian in Britain. Their legal environment appears to be restrictive with various manifestations of censorship. Particularly when it comes to anything potentially involving hate speech. Quite different from free speech/assembly in the US.

    Here it takes more than mere words to establish a hate crime. And the worst in political satire remains constitutionally protected free speech. Though our free speech and other laws don't necessarily apply to proprietary domains either.

    British comedians working in the US may be a bit spoiled in this regard.

    Hate speech laws in the United Kingdom - Wikipedia
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2020
  6. Au Naturel

    Au Naturel Au Naturel

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    Yeah, but you'll get your life cancel-cultured if you say the wrong things. JK Rowling can ignore it but ordinary dweebs have lost their jobs over it.
     
  7. Moonhart44

    Moonhart44 Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I think it is a slippery slope. I htink about past comedies and how i find them very insulting or derrogatroy. soemtimes i feel like when people are not funny, they just make fun of an outgroup. when you are really funny, you do not need to attack anyone. thats why movies like Spinal Tap work, but a movie like Ace Ventura that spends TOO much time making fun of a trans woman is not as timeless.
     
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  8. SDRSpark

    SDRSpark Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I really enjoy offensive comedy. However, I only enjoy comedy that's equally offensive - so I'll watch Family Guy all day every day (that show makes fun of EVERYONE and EVERYTHING) but I wouldn't find it at all amusing if, for example, it only specifically made fun of one group and left everyone else alone.
     
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  9. hatfullofrain

    hatfullofrain Well-Known Member

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    I've never really liked offensive humour anyway. I am British and I really don't get British comedy. It tends to be "this is funny because its stupid, silly or disgusting" and not very clever.

    I like observational humour.

    However, I do enjoy Craig Ferguson for some reason. I think it's because if he goes too far he makes himself laugh and then with wide eyes says, "oh too far!" ... The Heidi Klum joke from Hobofabulous for example. I did laugh... a lot. I think he's mostly self effacing rather than nasty. Some Billy Connoly makes me laugh too, but not all.

    James Veitch is very funny and not at all offensive. It can be done.
     
  10. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I've always had a soft spot for high comedy. Things like slapstick and put-down/insult artists as well as the absurd. I'm sorry but I do just find people falling on ice or having foibles called out naturally funny. The only caveat was that it was indiscriminate and not seriously injurious. I got to see Don Rickles live once and laughed so hard and in such physical side pain as a result, I actually was fearful he would start picking on our table. I did not think I could take much more and would fall on the floor cramping spasmotically.

    Profile_-_Mr._Potato_Head.jpg
     
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  11. Streetwise

    Streetwise Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    But doesnt it seem unfunny(PC comedy) because a certain percentage of people are very bitter ,if you weren't bitter like little children you would laugh at it .
     
  12. Finder

    Finder Active Member

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    "Do you understand what self-deprecation means when it comes from someone who is already in the margins? It's not humility. It's humiliation. I put myself down in order to speak, in order to seek permission to speak."

    -- Hannah Gadsby on self-deprecating humor
     
  13. SDRSpark

    SDRSpark Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Self-deprecating humor is one of my favorite kinds of humor, and I frequently engage in it. I do recognize that it's probably not healthy though.
     
  14. AGXStarseed

    AGXStarseed Well-Known Member

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    Is it unhealthy to laugh at yourself?
    I do it a lot - especially in regards to my red hair or my clumsiness. Heck, the other day I tripped over a towel I was about to hang up and ended up headbutting my bedroom door as I fell over, only to then receive a second smack to my head as the door bounced back.
    Me and my mum both had a good laugh about it later.
     
  15. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member

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    Keep in mind that our constitutional sensibilities pertaining to free speech are not necessarily theirs.

    [​IMG]

    And to consider how we got there in the first place. ;)

    "A revolution now and then is a good thing." - Thomas Jefferson

    It's for them to work out for better or worse. Especially given their very different approach to personal injury and hate crimes in general.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2020
  16. SDRSpark

    SDRSpark Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    There's a difference between laughing when you do something stupid (like walk into a door) and the kind of self-bullying that some people (myself included at times) engage in. Being able to laugh off a mistake is healthy, I believe. The other not so much.
     
  17. AGXStarseed

    AGXStarseed Well-Known Member

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    Here's some stuff about it, good and bad:

    The Benefits of Laughing at Yourself, According to Science
    Self-deprecating humour linked to greater psychological wellbeing, study finds
    When Does Self-Deprecating Humor Become Detrimental? | Talkspace
    Is Your Self-Deprecating Humour Psychologically And Socially Damaging You?
     
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  18. Finder

    Finder Active Member

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    Gadsby is not saying you should not laugh at yourself. She is saying self-deprecating humor towards marginalized groups is not healthy. People don't laugh because it is funny, they laugh because they agree with the underlying principle.
     
  19. Kalinychta

    Kalinychta Well-Known Member

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    “Slippery slope”? Censorship of any kind is far more nefarious than that. It’s intellectual dictatorship.

    upload_2020-11-14_20-44-13.jpeg
     
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  20. AGXStarseed

    AGXStarseed Well-Known Member

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    That reminds me a bit of one of Picard's speeches from Star Trek: The Next Generation. I may not be a Star Trek fan but I did see this clip when I was younger and what Picard says between 1:22 and 1:58 particularly resonates. That said, the entire clip is good as (without getting too off topic) I feel it represents a lot of what we've been seeing in recent years.

     
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