Mock the Tweet: Andrew Lawrence – Things a Comedian shouldn’t say

Congratulations Andrew Lawrence. You made it to number one. You are everyone’s number one favourite comedian. That is #1 favourite comedian that your fellow comedians love to hate. Love to attack.

Tremendous. You must be doing something right for so many to have taken umbrage with your comments. Do not let that bother you in the slightest. Stand by your convictions. I see by your defiant Facebook post (01.11.14) and your posts throughout this furore that you have. Well done.

Comedian’s comprise a miniscule 0.00001% of the British population, so in the grand scheme of things does it really matter if they’ve turned against you? They do not represent the British public.

For me the important parts of your post pertained to the dysfunctionality of key services (few Lawrence critics have mocked that) and the rise of UKIP.

UKIP

The fact that polls are suggesting 1/3 of the population are considering voting for UKIP is significant and is probably what has irked so many “left wingers”. That’s up to 20m voters  supporting the rising force in British politics. Which if they materialised, would, by a sizeable majority, comfortably ensconce party Leader Nigel Farage MEP into No 10 at next year’s general election.

Like Lawrence, I detest the constant media and comedian attacks on UKIP. 1/3 of the British population are considering voting for them. Nigel Farage is a likeable guy and 1,000’s, best make that millions of people, are fans of Farage and his party. He defeated Nick Clegg in the LBC Europe debate in March 2014. That’s no mean feat defeating the man who defeated the PM in the pre-general election debates 4 years ago. He knows  what he is talking about when it comes to Europe and has his finger on the pulse of popular opinion and right now immigration and Britain’s place in the EEC is a huge concern to millions of UK citizens.

Farage and his party are not some distant mirage to be ignored or taken lightly. Alongside millions of British voters, I’m absolutely fine with their primary focus being all things Europe. Someone needs to be fighting Britain’s corner against Brussels bureaucrats and UKIP is the party that to many seems to have the best chance of doing that successfully right now. Good.

Dysfunctional Britain

“Our elected representatives seeded control of the borders of this country to the EU and it’s been catastrophic for us all, an unmitigated disaster. Nothing works. Public transport infrastructure is dysfunctional. Hospitals and Schools are dysfunctional. The housing crisis continues to blight our economic potential and destroy the hopes and dreams of a generation. The benefits system is totally out of control. All because there are far, far too many people living here.”

OK, it’s a bit of an exaggeration on Lawrence’s part to say everything is dysfunctional and nothing works, but the core message is one many find hard to disagree with.  For starters, the national rail system could definitely be improved, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s dysfunctional. I do not accept that spending a colossal £32bn on HS2 spend is the answer. That money could be better invested elsewhere. A similar HS2 in France cost a relatively inexpensive £6bn. Why such a huge difference?

Heathrow needs to expand, or some other London/near London airport needs to be expanded or built to cope with demand.

Most of the time, the roads in London are a nightmare to drive on and the tube is uncomfortably packed to the rafters. There are far too many people clogging up the roads. Personal choice and affordability have all made that possible, so on the one hand that’s to be applauded, but on the other hand, the roads will continue to be clogged up unless someone takes radical action to alter that.

Maybe we could all consider spaceship travel or helicopters to get about? Well, after events in California, USA, on Friday 31st October 2014, perhaps not.

The NHS and schools are not performing and delivering results anywhere near as effectively as they could.

The housing system is dire and I feel for those people yet to get on the housing ladder, especially in London.

The benefits system is patently out of control. A system that for many pay more to live off the state, than go out and earn a living, is wrong.

It was perhaps overly simplistic to say all this is because “there are far, far too many people living here”, but in essence it’s patently true. If the numbers were significantly less we would have not crises in so many of these vital areas.

This may be an extreme example, but if you look at one of the best paying jobs in the country – professional footballer, it is now much, much harder for an English child, a British child, to go on to play for their local football club, or other professional club, especially in the top divisions.  It’s always been extremely difficult and a dream for many young boys growing up to play professionally, but that dream, I suspect for many youngsters is becoming more and more akin to the impossible dream. One that is as about as likely to come true as the chances of Dana Alexander, Dara O’Briain and Andrew Lawrence going out for a pint anytime soon!

The Premier League is dominated by overseas players, managers and owners. It makes for an exciting product of course, but it’s a ludicrous state of affairs that the powers that be have allowed this to happen. It’s killed off an avenue of employment and aspiration for many boys, who are thus forced into other careers or even unemployment when football was perhaps going to be their one salvation.

It’s also not surprisingly damaged the England national team. We have not the World Cup since 1966 and at this rate it may be at least 2066 before we get anywhere close to getting our hands on the trophy again.

The statistics reflect this concern with the Premier League having one of the lowest numbers of home country players than any other European league. Only 32.2% of starting players are English (2013/14 season), contrast this with the season of 1992/93 where there were only 11 foreign players in the starting line ups, and you can see the pressing issue.” Huffington Post 12 June 2014

Comedians

With respect to the comments on comedians and the inner workings of the BBC, I cannot say too much, as I am not privy to the decision making that results in certain comedians getting regular TV bookings and many other talented comedians missing out and left to just watch TV. It wasn’t really the core of Lawrence’s rant, but understandably is the one that has attracted a lot of the attention.

I know there are many, many comedians – female, male, black, white and Asian, not on TV that could acquit themselves very well on the numerous comedy panel shows out there. They aren’t getting the opportunity to and therefore do not achieve a level of national fame and the spring board that provides to more TV and radio work, increased gig bookings and the chances of going on to do successful nationwide tours.

“Women posing as comedians” 

I believe that referred to (a) non-comedians and (b) comedians who did not acquit themselves well on panel shows. Well, it’s un-deniable that there are many female non-comedians and professional comedians (female and male) alike who have not shone in glory on such shows. I can see how one could argue that they have let the female comedienne side down and made it harder for other women wanting a break. Maybe it’s just me, but I cannot recall too many comedienne’s who’ve done well on panel shows. Non-comedian Victoria Cohen does very well on ‘Have I Got News for You’ and whatever shows she tends to appears on. As does Katherine Ryan (one of them pesky “ethnic” Canadian’s as Lawrence would call her)!

In all of this furore I’ve not seen anyone point out comedienne’s who’ve done well on panel shows to make their point. Also the comedienne’s who’ve attacked Andrew Lawrence at length in articles, have said nothing funny in their response. Something which might have more effectively proved their point that women are funny, than a mere rant. Anyone can respond angrily, intelligently or stupidly if you like (I should know I do it enough!), but with humour that’s a real skill and talent.

Point in case. Russell Brand on ‘The Jonathan Ross Show’, 25th October 2014. Essentially there in serious mode by his standards, to plug his new ‘Revolution’ book, yet whilst given a great prime time ITV platform to “rage against the machine”, so to speak, he made sure to crack quite a few gags along the way, so whether or not you agreed, with his politics, he was still highly amusing and entertaining. And thus will doubtless result in more TV chat show appearances and countless other media opportunities.

Let’s be honest, these shows are tough gigs. Consider the finale free style segment of ‘Mock the Week’ when you have to come up with “things you wouldn’t hear…” The times I’ve cringed at the “jokes” given by comedienne’s or watching as they hide and step up to the microphone. When they do, they’re often either just OK or very weak. Rarely laugh out loud funny. Comedienne’s are not booked to play shy, watch and laugh, but to grab that mic with bold confidence and make the audience and viewers laugh.

Male comedians overall are just better at that bear pit, fiery, take no prisoners style of competitive comedy. I know that. The viewers know that and deep down even the comedienne’s know that, so why was Lawrence attacked for basically stating the obvious?

Quota’s

One is entitled to be for or against. Lawrence clarified his “ethnic comedian” comment as being about those “cultural” comedians who’s acts focus almost exclusively on their ethnicity, rather than being about what’s going on in the wider English society they reside in. To me, that is a fair enough comment to make. I know it’s something many Black comedy punters and even some “ethnic comedians”, to use Lawrence’s terminology, lament. It’s funny. He’s been lambasted for this by Ava Vidal and Dana Alexander, yet neither of these talented women play the “black circuit” perhaps because their routines are not essentially rooted in their blackness or being female, as if that’s the only thing they have to offer.

Unless someone is saying something that is illegal or by common consensus unpalatable and gratuitously cruel, then I believe the notion of freedom of speech applies to everyone, whether they are an ordinary citizen, comedian, footballer, politician or perish the thought, even Andrew Lawrence!

© Tiemo Talk of the Town

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Links:

They Think It’s All Over – It is now – World Cup 2014 Blog – 13th July 2014

 

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5 Responses to Mock the Tweet: Andrew Lawrence – Things a Comedian shouldn’t say

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