Posts tagged stephen fry

comedy: agenda for change

Just in case some folk think I’m mostly concerned with defending comedy… I do believe it needs to change. That won’t happen just by shouting at it (that’s called heckling!).

So here, consultant hat on, are some constructive thoughts. Put up for criticism and definitely NOT the last word on the topic.

Know the beast

Comedy is not journalism. The latter may get it wrong. In theory, though, journalism is about accuracy and balance.

Comedy ain’t. It’s entertainment predicated for the most part on aggression and shared cliche. Occasionally insightful – and then more, i’d guess, by accident, its most successful proponents score brownie points for offensiveness.

Set realistic aims

Given the above, the idea that we could ever achieve a respectful trans comedy is nonsense. Possibly counter productive nonsense too.

It may be that the best we can do is educate about the most hurtful stuff, then stand back.

Know our enemy (and friends!)

Comics come in all shapes and sizes. They also have widely differing agendas, from the Jeremy Hardy types with political pretensions, to Royston ng Vaysey, for whom the end is all about box office.

It’s worth distinguishing

– friends (those whose politics or personal experience probably puts them in our camp…Sandy Toksvig, Tim minchin, maybe Miranda Hart).

– potential friends (those we think persuadable… Stephen fry)

– the couldn’t care less and the opportunists (perhaps David Walliams)

– the offense mongers (like Frankie Boyle)

In terms of strategy: cuddle the first, educate the second andscrew the rest.

Do not ovrrlook the “significant others”: script writers and key producers like Lissa Evans.

Never presume. In comedy, what you think you know may not be so.

Imvolve your audience

In this case, comedians are seen as the problem: they need to be part of the solution. Throwing insults and rotten tomatoes from the floor may satisfy. It won’t help.

It would be nice to get a few around a table, but suspect this will omly work for the small fry (no pun intended!).

Invite those likely to hear what we have to say. And be prepared to listen in turn

Focus on the persomal

Last up, lay off prescriptive stuff. Explain the hurt: explain how stage language re-appears on the streets… And keave it to them to decide.

We have no formal power here…our feelings are maybe our strongesr weapons.


Ok folks. Your turn to pull this apart.




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