Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Britain's left-wing comedians quake as they realise "the men are coming up the drive"

Delightful news: the arrogant, lazy bigotry of left-wing metropolitan BBC comics like Marcus Brigstocke and Stewart Lee has led to some members of their audiences outside London booing and walking out of their otherwise rib-tickling stand-up "comedy" gigs, disgusted by the performers' anti-Brexit material. For some reason, the comedians' bewildered bleatings recalled the moment when, during a televised public speech, the vile Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu realised that the vast crowd listening to him in the square below were booing, not cheering, him. But that seemed a bit silly, given that the wretched tyrant in question spent decades murdering and torturing his people, rather than - as in the case of Brigstocke and Lee - using allegedly comic material on a platform provided by left-wing broadcasters to shame, browbeat, bully and embarrass anyone who doesn't share their achingly PC view of the world. So I searched for another analogy...

... and, as they (along with practically every other comedian whose career is essentially sustained by left-wing, London-based BBC and Channel 4 executives) are alleged to be comedians, I decide that the line from Billy Liar - "Father, the men - they're coming up the drive!" - was more apposite, especially as much of the hostility is being encountered in the North.

The most shocking thing about this phenomenon is that the audience members signalling their disapproval of views that would meet with warm sneers of approval in London are fans of the performers, rather than a busload of septuagenarian UKIP supporters who were expecting to see Michael McIntyre or John Bishop. No, the people literally turning their backs on these pro-Labour, pro-Green, pro-immigrant, pro-multiculturalism, pro-EU smugsters are, we must assume, admirers. Oh, how that must hurt!

Brigstocke had this to say on Facebook:
"For the first time ever on tour I have people walking out every night ‑ not hordes, but some. That's unsettling. 
"I have never before dealt with a subject as divisive and upsetting (including passionate criticisms of religion etc). It's a challenge I would usually enjoy but (perhaps because I'm not doing it well enough) it is proving to be a nightmare.
"It seems that for the most part Brexit is not just the hideous social and political turn we have taken as a country but is also comedic poison."
The problem, Marcus, is that when a privately-educated posh Londoner endlessly insults people who voted for Brexit by implying (or baldly stating) that their disinclination to be ruled by unelected foreigners who don't seem to give a fig about them means that they're pig-ignorant, racist xenophobes - basically, Hitler - well, that's probably not going to go down too well. I know it's different when you're in a TV or radio studio recording a show with an audience packed with left-liberal Londoners for whom making a pro-Brexit comment in public would be much the same as letting off a thunderous fart in a restaurant. And living your life surrounded by entertainment industry folk who all hold exactly the same opinions as you about...well, everything, really... means that the masses who don't share your particular set of prejudices (i.e. the majority of the country) have become strangely unreal to you, apart from their role as the butt of your supposedly comedic contempt.

Brigstocke and his clique are, I think, suffering from a form of metropolitan mindblindess - i.e. they have spent so long in the company of rigidly conformist, like-minded people that they can no longer see into the minds of those who don't agree with them on absolutely everything: they can no longer understand what motivates refuseniks. You think the country would do better economically outside the EU? Racist! You think the EU's time has passed and that's it's doomed? Bigot! You don't see why some obscure, unelected drunk from Luxembourg should have any say over how the fifth largest economy in the world conducts its affairs? Xenophobe!  You think the country may have let in a few too many immigrants? Nazi! You suspect the NHS is more in need of reorganisation than yet more money? Hitler!!!

After a while, you and your chums convince yourself that this way of thinking is so aberrant - practically psychotic, in fact - that it seems impossible for anyone who isn't in prison or a psychiatric hospital to hold such hateful, unenlightened, unprogressive opinions. By this stage, you're in danger of going full Pauline Kael (she was the achingly liberal New Yorker film critic who once famously stated:  “I can’t believe Nixon won. I don’t know anyone who voted for him.”) Then it turns out that members of your own audience hold some of these ghastly opinions, and - even worse - instead of laughing embarrassedly when you spray invective at them from your stage-pulpit, they boo and walk out! 

And, suddenly, Brexit is "comedy poison." No, Marcus - for many of us, you're comedy poison, and always have been. Now run back to London, find the nearest Radio 4 studio, and spend some time with your own kind until you've convinced yourself that it was just a nightmare, and that the men really aren't coming up the drive.


  1. Why are left wing comics just not funny,or maybe it's me.
    If theatre owners want to keep bums glued on seats whatever the political persuasion of the comic why not book that arch chucklemeister Sir Lenny Henry.
    The innate good manners of the British public plus fear of being reported for a hate crime would ensure no unseemly rush for the exit.

    1. No, I don't think it's you - and I don't think there's anything innately unfunny about left-wing comedians; it's more that once their political views become the whole basis of their comedy, they've stopped being comedians and have turned into jeering bullies, inviting the audience to despise everyone who doesn't agree with them. The "alternative" comedians of the '80s have turned into colossally self-regarding, virtue-signalling bores. He's not everyone's cup of tea, but Andrew Lawrence does at least offer a bracing, genuinely alternative vision:

  2. I am not so much worried about all those leftie "comics" because they are visible and obviously harmless ie talentless. Blooded on "Have I got News for You" and then despatched to various comedy panel shows where they sit behind plasterboard desks and wet themselves at the jokes of their fellow panellists they wither on the vine eventually [unless they are given a travel show to front or a disastrous chat show].

    No, the sinister development is the power grab of a shady bunch of leftie sea-wall builders with their Dan Dare chins. Some are "comics" [loose usage], some writers, many of them are on the edge of "dwarfism" [1.5 m]. I am thinking of Toksvig, Calman, McDermid, Perkins [even the half-witted Penney has admitted to Sapphic urges.] These are very clever, predominantly Oxbridge educated women and are, I suspect, engaged in subversive activities. Short-arses persons have always got an axe to grind, but the female versions are particularly relentless.

  3. Sorry, I meant "Desperate Dan" [ the cow pie man] as opposed to the great enemy of the Mekon.

    1. My two-word response is "Ruth Davidson", a vertically-challenged, lesbian Remainer who is pretty damned splendid. You have to admire someone who Tweeted the following response to Jamie Oliver: “You rocket-munching millionaire, telling people they’re not allowed a bloody Curly Wurly! Actually, sod off, just sod off. If folk want a Twirl, let them have a Twirl!”

      As for short people in general, I can say, hand on heart, that I have never noticed any marked propensity for axe-grinding amongst those I've known. I think your views may have been warped by seeing too much of David Bercow and Sadiq Khan on television. Not only are some of my closest, dearest friends distinctly PORGish, but the tallest politician I ever had to hurl questions at was that frightful, axe-grinding blister, Michael Heseltine. I rest my case.

    2. Is David Bercow even shorter than his more famous and noticeably shouty brother John? Whatever the answer, this post has at least made me go off and seek out the excellent "Short People" by Randy Newman as the defining judgement on the issue.

    3. You should see their brother, Simon - well, in fact, you won't be able to without the aid of a powerful microscope.

      I used to work for a radio producer called David Vercoe, which is probably why I keep calling Bercow "David". As Vercoe was 6'2" and sported a Zapata moustache, there really is no excuse for getting them confused.