Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Rainbows and Lovehearts.

Read this first: http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2009/jul/27/comedy-standup-new-offenders

I wasn't going to blog this week for a very good reason. I wanted to get away from blogging for a little while because next week I'll be in Edinburgh and no doubt my fury levels will be pretty high and blogging will be my much needed release. It's what happened last year and I can't imagine this year will be any different. So, I wanted to try to avoid things that would upset me so that I could simply enjoy being angry all the time in August. It hasn't been easy.

First, I stupidly watched Uri Gellar rape a dead man he barely knew for money on ITV on Sunday night, then I got a lot of posts on Twitter claiming that I wasn't being supportive to my fellow Edinburgh performers and writers (have a look at some of the blurbs for shows in the Ed Fringe Brochure. How can I not laugh at that pretentious pile of wank?) and then I read that article from Brian Logan in The Guardian.

Where to begin with this idiot? I don't know much about Brian Logan but I do know one thing for sure. This man does not understand or like comedy. Say what you like about Brendon Burns but I don't think for a second that he thinks that sexist or racist jokes are acceptable. From what I remember of his act (I haven't seen it in a long time) he pretty much constantly talked about being not good enough for the women he was with and generally a bit of a fuck up. As for racism, I know he used the word Paki but he explained that it was just a name and it was how you implied that name that is surely the offensive thing (like what that Lenny Bruce did do in the 60's). Brendon explained that in Australia the word Paki is used as a positive thing and not as an insult. I don't know if that's true. I saw some Pakistani people when I was in Australia but I felt saying "Brendon Burns says I'm allowed to call you Paki. Is that OK?" would not portray the outward image that I would wish. Even if that's not true, the piece was about actions not words and that is valid. And yes, I am spelling his name Brendon. If I'm defending his free speech I might as well defend the stupid cunt's right to misspell his own name.

But it's obvious that it's Richard Herring who comes out worst in this piece. Logan has, I can only assume, deliberately taken so much out of context that it comes across as a direct attack on an artist rather than a comedy movement. For fuck's sake, Logan. There are so many offensive comedians out there spreading hatred and horror and you set your sights on Richard Herring? I haven't seen his latest show but from others that I have seen, his podcast and his blog I'm pretty safe in assuming that Hitler Moustache is about the rise of the new right in the UK (if I'm wrong, then I'm sorry, it should be) along with how we look at the history of facism. His ideas of everyone wearing a Hitler Moustache to show that they do not support the rise of the BNP in this country is both hilarious and admirable. I just realised that I have made an assumption about Richard Herring without actually seeing the finished show that he is discussing. I am no better than Brian Logan.

This kind of lazy and spiteful journalism does not help the comedy circuit at all. If this is really how someone takes a piece of comedy then it is easy to expect that others will too. Which means that maybe we can't say what we want. Remember when The Guardian was a bit leftie?

Of course, Brian Logan's attack on Herring isn't the most offensive thing about the piece, nor is his general thought that a joke about race is racist. The most offensive piece in the article is when Brian Logan, the biggest arsehole on the face of the planet, says that he likes Scott Capurro. Scott is one of, if not THE, best comic I have ever seen. Logan has no right to like him. To quote Bill Hicks, an outspoken comedian who was so often misunderstood, "Seriously. Kill yourself."

www.twitter.com/michaellegge

11 comments:

Guy said...

Hear hear!

I posted my email to the previously somewhat leftie Guardian on Andrew Collins' blog.

I'm sure Logan fully understands that BB or RH are not intending to be racist but he seems to have been unable to resist taking stuff out of context in order to stir up a bit of controversy, regardless of the consequences.

If enough people write in maybe we can get an apology from him or even make sure he's not hired by them again. It was a pretty bad hack hatchet-job IMO.

Mark Silver said...

God knows what he'd make of me. I started wearing the moustache before I heard Richard Herring was doing it... Sent my letter off to them anyway

Brian J Morrison said...

Excellent, no beating around the bush here.

However I think to suggest that Logan does not understand or like comedy is letting him off lightly.

He understood what he was doing, sensationalism does not only find form wrapped up in the tits and football of the daily rags, smother bullshit in grandiloquence and it will still stink.

Anonymous said...

Paedophile eh? See you in court you unfunny bogtrotting cunt.
Brian x

horse overboard said...

Am looking forward to seeing Logan's stand-up. I bet it's up there with Paul Morley's guitar playing.

Keeno said...

yeah, I thought the article was poor.
It had some interesting points, but lets face it, people have been thinking that comedy is too offensive since someone stood up and grunted that the chimps were thick fuckers for not having developed tool using skills.

one thing that particularly rankled was when he said "Still, it doesn't get us very far in establishing an agreed standard of offensiveness"

what the hell does that mean?

we're never going to agree on a standard of offensiveness, because at one of the scale you've got kids who would quite happily be rude and offensive to someone until they killed themselves, and on the other end, you have middle England who get offended if someone says the word "boo"

not all humour is taking the piss. it's one strain of comedy, and one that I personally love. (I'm sure this lays bare my deep seated feeling of inadequacy and self loathing, but fuck it, as long as i only self harm, that ok right?)
But taking the piss can be done well, and should be done as it helps us question the society we live in and our own ethics.
and it makes us laugh our arses off

Geoff said...

Did you read the same article as I did?

I thought it was a valid a pretty even handed attempt to analyse how comedy has developed and moved on.
I think the article was at pain to point out that comedy reflects the shifting sands of contemporary culture.
Also the journalist you insult was equally at pains to draw difference between the performers' stage roles and what they actually believe on a personal level.
The fact that they do this to demonstrate something about society at large also come through clearly.
I suggest you read the article again, perhaps think about it before you make such overblown, reactionary and frankly childish comments that make you appear to be something of a halfwit.

Daniel Earwicker said...

@Geoff - it seems you thought the whole article was fine and dandy. The problem is that most of the stuff about Richard Herring was outrageous bullshit. What's your opinion of Richard Herring now? Do you think he's the new Hitler?

mikehaydock said...

I'm baffled - I love Richard Herring, but didn't find the article irritating at all. I thought it was a valid piece that asks where the line is, and whether there should even be a line, between comedy and offending the audience. And if you're watching a show, and you get offended, is that your fault, the comedian's or no one's? I think I need to re-read the article now to better understand your complaints! Perhaps I've been spending too much time on the Guardian site...

mikehaydock said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mikehaydock said...

Ok, yes, I can understand now that you could read the article and be left with the impression that Herring and Burns are racist - and yes, to that end, it is poorly written. (The use of "purported" and "claims" are particularly damaging.) I was still intrigued by questions he raised, though.