Friday, April 09, 2010

Frankie Boyle makes controversial joke - O RLY? OMG no wai!

A woman went to a Frankie Boyle gig and got upset when he made jokes about people with Down's syndrome, because she has a five-year-old daughter with the condition. To anyone familiar with the Glaswegian stand-up comedian's style of humour, it really shouldn't come as any sort of surprise. In my personal opinion, if you go to see him live (which we'd love to do, but unfortunately his upcoming gig in Nottingham this October has been sold out for some time), you should expect to be offended in some way or another.


His style of humour is really dark and you're often thinking "OMG, did he say what I think he just said?" - just watch his first live DVD. I don't think "controversial" is a strong enough word. But that's why we like him so much, he'll make the sort of jokes no one else dares making. Yes, you might get offended in the process, but that's what you'd expect. If he poked fun of overweight people or Scandinavians or women who swoon over 19th century literary characters, sure, I might get offended. Would I make a fuss about it and report it to the media? No, because I knew what I let myself in for when I bought the tickets. Hell, it would be the reason I'd buy the tickets!

To say that she enjoyed the show up until that point and being full aware of how he makes fun of people just seems to be not just naive but... hypocritical. It's okay to make fun of other people, but when the joke's on you, it's not funny anymore? It's like ordering a Hawaiian pizza and then get upset because it has pineapple on it. It's what you expect of a Hawaiian pizza, and that's probably why you ordered one in the first place. To then turn around and say you don't like pineapple, well... I don't agree with it.

If she had gone to see a different comedian, fine, there would be a point in complaining. Russell Howard or Eddie Izzard wouldn't really poke fun at disabled people, because their stand-up careers aren't built on controversial and confrontational, dark comedy. Their styles are more light-hearted and friendly. If they had made a joke about disabled people, you'd wonder what the hell was going on and say "hey, that's not a laughing matter, I'll have you know!" Frankie Boyle, on the other hand, with quotes on Mock the Week like "Watching the Saddam Hussain hanging video made me realise there is probably nothing on the Internet I would not masturbate to." ...Well, umm... I think that sums up his style fairly well and what you're letting yourself in for. In his own words:
In general, my stuff tends to be more challenging than the other comics I'm on with. So if everyone else is quite crowd-pleasing, I'll come on and try to tense them up with material that they don't really want, so that I've got that edge of nervousness to work with. If you did a slick set every gig you'd never really develop, you have to be dead disciplined about mixing it up and not retreating into the same old material.

Full story: Frankie Boyle criticised for Down's syndrome joke (BBC)

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