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Comedians and Ukip

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If you inhabit a social or ideological bubble it's easy to assume that nothing outside it deserves respect, especially when you get rewarded like a monkey with a grape for thinking that way. The UK comedy circuit is populated almost entirely by middle class "progressives" who vote Labour, just like their audience. What a happy coincidence. And nearly all of them hate the UK Independence Party, or Ukip, just like their audience, and for exactly the same shallow, false, and bigoted reasons as their audience. It's a cosy relationship that borders on the pavlovian. A comedian is essentially an ego on legs that needs feeding with agreement and applause. So, even if you present yourself as a challenging comedian with a fearlessly-nailing-the-truth posture, you still need to attack the correct targets, like the banks, the Tories, the Royals, the police, Israel of course, Ukip, double of course, with an extra of course on top, with a cherry on it, and British and American foreign policy generally. This is what your audience wants to hear, and they, like you, are part of that fragile "progressive" bubble of opinion where the standard response to unwelcome news is to shoot the messenger. So you want to be challenging, but you need to be agreed with, because when "progressives" don't agree with you you can often forfeit the right to speak, and being booed off stage might give you a buzz once or twice, but it's not the kind of thing you want to make a habit of, if you want to work. So, it's not necessarily that comedians are whores, it's just that the poisonous "progressive" environment they work in naturally attracts the kind of whore they are. Television people are also very much part of the "progressive" bubble by default, and, by default, they all hate Ukip too, for exactly the same shallow, false, and bigoted reasons, so when comedy gets on TV, we all know what's coming. If you are one of the many ordinary decent respectable people in Britain who would simply rather live in a sovereign democracy than a federal dictatorship (quite a reasonable desire, I'd have thought), you can expect to be routinely slandered as a xenophobe or a homophobe, a racist or a Nazi, by every hack comedian in Britain. You can see them on any of those puerile TV shows with the two opposing panels of interchangable comedy clones and some tiresome cleverdick arsehole in the chair. There are so many of these dreary shows now you'd think it was the only format allowed by law, and they seem to compete with each other to misrepresent and slander Ukip voters because they know the studio audience is full of smug "progressives" like themselves, so the grosser the stereotype and the more outrageous the slur, the bigger the laugh. Years ago, when I worked at the Comedy Store in London as part of the weekly topical show "The Cutting Edge", we always had a couple of songs in the show, and one of the most popular was a song about the Women's Institute, depicting them, essentially, as a bunch of reactionaries and fascists, which clearly is not true, and the audience knew it wasn't true, but they enthusiastically bought into the caricature because the Women's Institute represents the kind of people whose values "progressive" bigots regard with patronising contempt for absolutely no reason, so they were more than happy to join in with the abuse, and the song was a big success. The same thing is happening now with Ukip. Comedians love nothing more than an easy target and a cheap laugh. It saves having to come up with something perceptive or original, which can actually be quite hard. And the "progressive" comedy audience that suckles them like a sow is more than eager to buy into this lazy caricature, and the more grossly defamatory you can make it, frankly, the better. As a comedian, you know there's nothing you can say about Ukip or its supporters, however unpleasant and untrue, that a comedy audience will object to. Never mind that more than 4 million honourable, decent people in Britain for perfectly healthy, legitimate reasons, despite being regularly demonised by dishonest, ignorant people like you. And never mind that Ukip has many ethnic minority and gay supporters, members, and candidates. Never mind the truth. Comedians know what works. And what always works on the comedy circuit is "progressive" bigotry, the respectable kind. You can safely depict Ukip voters as a bunch of racists when you know it's a lie, because you know that nobody in that room will pull you up on it. Well, I might, if I happen to be there and I've had a few pints, but, on the other hand, there's a lot to be said for letting someone reveal how small they really are. And besides, it's a long established comic tradition to tell lies about people for laughs. All Jews are mean. All black men are sexist. All Irish are thick. All Ukip are racist. If you're an ego on legs playing to an audience of bigots like yourself, that's comedy gold.

Video Details

Duration: 5 minutes and 15 seconds
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Views: 2,731
Posted by: patcondell on Jul 30, 2015

“Progressive” bigotry - the respectable kind.

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