Ricky Gervais a legitimate target?
It‘s always risky getting up to go to the bar or toilet during a stand up comics routine especially if you are on the front row. So I suppose I should have expected to be a target of the comedians well rehearsed insults, much to the amusement of the rest of the audience. I had no witty response to his increasingly cruel jibes. I thought how great it would be if on my return to my seat I could be accompanied by that master of instant wit and repartee Ricky Gervais. He would find a subtle, clever and hilarious response, something smart and witty. Now what would it be, oh yes, I know”F*** Off”.
I mention this because Ricky Gervais is again in the news for being insulting rather than funny. This time he is accused of poking fun at people with a learning disability last time in Life’s Too Short we were encouraged to laugh at a celebrity dwarf. And of course there was the wheel chair user in The Office. I thought I got the office this was about showing the hypocrisy, insensitivity and incompetence of a certain type of deluded office manager being an authority figure he was a legitimate target. The humour around the wheel chair user was the manager’s obvious discomfort and cringe inducing insensitivity around an individual with a disability.
In Life’s Too Short we were encouraged to consider a celebrity dwarf a legitimate target because he was a celebrity and because he was devious, deluded and sycophantic. However there did seem to be a lot of physical jokes about his lack of height as in raising the door bell to discourage him from calling round. I didn’t get LTS I didn’t feel Warren the central character was in on the joke and I couldn’t see the humour in him being shown willing to be degraded for fame.
Some comedians say no topic is off limits and when I watched The Big C a comedy drama from the USA about someone dying from cancer I get what they mean. Despite the morbid subject there is humour, not in laughing at people because their hair is falling out and they no longer want sex with their partner but in societies foolishness and peoples attempts to avoid a taboo subject. The program has tackled other taboo subjects like infant mortality and mental illness recognising that despite our awkwardness about these subjects such things touch most families.
Why is the Big C funny and Life’s Too Short not funny? I don’t know but it’s nothing to do with the subject.
Blair McPherson author of An Elephant in the Room-an equality and diversity training manual published by Russell House Tweet @blairmcpherson1