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Comedy and offense


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11 minutes ago, Scott Malbranque said:

I would imagine Ben Stiller and Robert Downey Jr are anticipating a fierce rotten furore over Tropic Thunder any minute now

So they should. It's dreadful.

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Sure, will do.

I wonder what repressed minority David Baddiel has to say about it on Twitter. 

@Astro Hollywood will probably have a better take on this than me, but the likes of Alf Garnett seem to be far more of a "have their cake and eat it" situation than a misunderstood character; they may

37 minutes ago, Scott Malbranque said:

I would imagine Ben Stiller and Robert Downey Jr are anticipating a fierce rotten furore over Tropic Thunder any minute now

There was a big thing on Twitter earlier this year where a bunch of teenagers discovered Tropic Thunder for the first time and tried to get Robert Downey cancelled. 

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Just now, ReturnOfTheMack said:

Every single article I have seen about this has had someone comment about White Chick's within a few minutes. Predictable and shite. Much like the non Terry Crews bits of the film.

It would only be fair if Comedy Central were banned from showing it every other week.

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This is a really interesting topic to read. A couple of months ago I was asked by an audience review website I’m on to watch Lenny Henry’s Race Through Comedy. It’s available online if anyone’s interested:

https://www.sky.com/watch/title/series/7b374772-d68d-476a-bf19-706efc78e4b7
 

It’s very enlightening (from my perspective of being white) as to how comedies from the past were seen from a BAME perspective. I’m not sure the programme did the subject justice really as it was crammed into an hour and I got bored for about 20mins in between however it looked at the Black & White Minstrel Show, Love Thy Neighbour, Rising Damp, etc.

I think I remember someone saying that even though Love Thy Neighbour was taking the piss out of the Alf Garnett character it still promoted racism. Either because people didn’t get it (as previously mentioned) or because this was the only representation of black people that some white people had seen so they learned new [profoundly racist] terminology they might never have learned if it wasn’t for these programmes.

What struck me though is that I was left feeling that these programmes that are now deemed unacceptable shouldn’t just be erased for no-one to ever see them again. They should be held up as examples of what is not acceptable. A good example is Disney and their old non-PC films. Instead of just deleting them and pretending it never happened, there are now disclaimers saying they were made in a different time and some content is not acceptable now but it teaches children (and some adults) to understand WHY it’s no longer acceptable.

You can’t delete history but you do have to learn from it without glorifying it. Having said that, I saw a tweet earlier saying something like, “This is ridiculous, it’s comedy FFS!” in relation to Little Britain being taken off air. Comedy is subjective but it doesn’t give a free pass to being offensive and you can’t object to the offence if you’re not the one offended. If that makes sense.

Edited by Monkee
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1 hour ago, wordsfromlee said:

Or Fawlty Towers

I watched Fawlty Towers for the first time ever a month or so ago. I really did not find it funny and I thought the way Manuel was talked about has aged horribly. 

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7 minutes ago, Monkee said:

Lenny Henry’s Race Through Comedy. It’s available online if anyone’s interested:

https://www.sky.com/watch/title/series/7b374772-d68d-476a-bf19-706efc78e4b7

Ah, ok so there were actually 3 episodes looking at sitcoms, stand-up and sketch shows. I only watched the sitcoms one so it might be interesting to see what’s covered in the other 2 for more insight.

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49 minutes ago, Nexus said:

I watched Fawlty Towers for the first time ever a month or so ago. I really did not find it funny and I thought the way Manuel was talked about has aged horribly. 

So has the conversation between Basil and the Major where they discuss which racial slur the India cricket team is and which the West Indies cricket team is. 

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10 minutes ago, wordsfromlee said:

So has the conversation between Basil and the Major where they discuss which racial slur the India cricket team is and which the West Indies cricket team is. 

This is an interesting one, in that it's (I think) a very well constructed joke, where the punchline is that a character like the Major would uncharacteristically object to a racist slur, only for the revelation to then be not that he objects to the slur in principle, but that he's being specific about which slur to use. It's about subverting expectations.

The problem is that for this to work, part of the joke has to be taking some degree of joy from the transgression of saying the slur in the first place.

It's aged badly and that's fine. Comedy reflects the social values of the time, so it's only right that it would age faster than most genres.

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2 hours ago, Devon Malcolm said:

So they should. It's dreadful.

It does offer a fascinating insight in to the sense of humour of Tom Cruise as I remember him laughing hysterically at his Les Grossman character and talking about getting a franchise out of it.

A Tom Cruise gross out comedy would have been a befuddling curiosity to behold.

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