Monday, 4 August 2008

Who to Avoid, and Who to Love

As you may know, I spend a lot of time watching stand-up comedy, panel shows and other such things, and I have become aware lately of a huge broadening in what is acceptable (since the BBC now seems to be allowing some quite horrific stuff and yet another upsurge in fawning over so-called "controversial" comedians. I've learned in my time not to bother with controversial comedians - it seems to translate as "this comedian will bully his audience".

I was at this show when the idea of an Avoidance list came to me. The charming comedian in question made misogynistic jokes, painted himself as a serious homophobe and closed with the most disgusting anti-trans joke I've ever heard. It was disgusting enough to make me worry about who was in the audience. Sean Lock will forever be on my Avoidance list, and it's a list I'd like to share and expand.

My list is based on comedians I've actually seen performing stand-up, whether live or on TV, except in extreme circumstances like this. I'm also doing a corresponding Safe list, which is based solely on live stand-up (Sean Lock never said anything triggering on TV). I'm taking suggestions for both lists, if anyone would like to volunteer. I would like to say, this isn't a list of everyone who's ever made a slightly unpleasant joke, and I'm not after censorship, I just want to help prevent comedy-goers being triggered.

This is what I have so far.

Avoidance List
Johnny Vegas (misogynistic sexual assaulter/rapist)
Jim Davidson (probably horribly offensive to most, but especially LGBT)
Sean Lock (LGBT, trans especially)
Simon Clayton (women - most misogynistic show I've ever seen)
Andy Parsons (rape jokes, eating disorder jokes)
Frankie Boyle (offensive to most - rape jokes and ableist jokes particularly common)
Jim Jeffries (women)
Paul Zerdin (LGBT)
Adam Carolla (women, LGBT)
Bill Maher (rape jokes)
D.L. Hughley (rape jokes and associated misogyny)
Jimmy Carr

Safe List
Bill Bailey
Ross Noble
Dara O Briain (his stand-up is totally safe - as you may have noticed, Mock the Week is not)
Eddie Izzard
Gina Yashere
Mark Steel
Omid Djalili
Peter Kay
Kathy Griffin
Margaret Cho
Jim Gaffigan
Brian Regan

They're both pretty short at the moment - I don't want to list anyone I haven't seen and my memory escapes me on some of the particularly bad ones, but I will keep updating.

Update One: Can anyone give me information on Jimmy Carr's stand-up act? From what I've seen on TV he looks like one for the Avoidance list, but I'm determined not to presume.

Update Two: Yeah, Jimmy Carr is best avoided. Has anyone seen Reginald D Hunter or Rich Hall live? Both of them seem pretty safe from what I've seen on TV, but I'd like to know what they're like on stage before I give them the seal of approval.


Melissa McEwan said...

Avoid: Adam Carolla and Bill Maher

Safe: Kathy Griffin, Margaret Cho, Jim Gaffigan, Brian Regan.

Jen said...

Excellent, thanks!

TS (and BJ) said...

Ever seen Demetri Martin? He's the most mellow comedian and I have never heard him utter anything remotely offensive.

You can check him out on "Youtube" if you'd like. :)

LV said...

I would definitely say Jimmy Carr is one to avoid. I saw him on a chat show a year or so ago - I don't unfortunately recall what precipitated the relevant exchange, but I believe it was a question from the host that went something like, feminists have criticised certain elements of your act, how would you respond to this. JC ridiculed the suggestion, and then said (I recall this pretty much verbatim, I think) '...they shouldn't worry their pretty little heads about it. Oh - there's a woman in the audience who doesn't approve, she's scowling at me. (Puts on mockingly sympathetic tone) This is irony, love - you woundn't understand it.'

In fairness I haven't seen his stage act. However, given the above performance, it's hard to imagine its being a model of respect.

Anonymous said...

I think it's disgusting on loose women that they were actually agreeing that a completely sexist advert was acceptable and just a laugh. The advert was rightly banned and pulled but they were saying it was harmless fun etc.

Oh but wait...

It was sexism against men - so it really doesn't matter does it?

There's people dying in the world for no good reason and this is what you care about, pretty much sums you type of people up.

Uneven handed, petty and just as sexist, if not more sexist than the people you claim that are sexist.