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Sachsgate & the Mail on Sunday – How people became offended second hand

Mark Boosey at Brunel University yesterday

Mark Boosey at Brunel University yesterday

Yesterday, I was at Brunel University in London, where their Centre For Comedy Studies Research had a panel discussion on Comedy, Class and Offence.

Mark Boosey, esteemed and eternally mysterious British Comedy Guide boss, brought up the 2008 ‘Sachsgate Affair’ in which vast offence was reported after a BBC Radio 2 edition of The Russell Brand Show.

On the show, Russell and guest co-presenter Jonathan Ross had phoned up actor Andrew Sachs (Manuel in Fawlty Towers) to invite him on as a guest. When he did not answer the phone, four messages were left mentioning that Russell had had sex with Sachs’ granddaughter, who was one of the performers in a ‘baroque dance group’ called Satanic Sluts.

Some extracts from the messages are below:

Sachsgate - BBC picture

MESSAGE ONE
Jonathan Ross: ”He fucked your granddaughter… “

MESSAGE TWO
Russell Brand: “I wore a condom.”

MESSAGE THREE
Jonathan Ross: “She was bent over the couch…”

This caused a furore. And Ofcom fined the BBC £150,000.

However, yesterday, Mark Boosey gave the timeline for the public’s outrage:

SATURDAY 18th OCTOBER 2008
The pre-recorded show was transmitted.

SUNDAY 19th OCTOBER
The BBC noted two complaints in its log of listeners’ views. One referred directly to the Andrew Sachs section.

Mail on Sunday - Sachsgate

The Mail on Sunday’s trigger for Sachsgate

SUNDAY 26th OCTOBER
Eight days after the broadcast, the Mail On Sunday ran a main story on the Andrew Sachs answerphone messages.

MONDAY 27th OCTOBER
The BBC received 1,585 complaints.

TUESDAY 28th OCTOBER
The total number of complaints rose to 4,772.

WEDNESDAY 29th OCTOBER
By 10.00am, the number of complaints had reached 18,000 and, at 11.30am, the BBC suspended Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross. At 5.45pm, Russell Brand quit his show.

THURSDAY 30th OCTOBER
By 11.30am, the number of complaints had reached 30,500. At 5.50pm, BBC Controller of Radio 2 Lesley Barber resigned. At 6.21pm, with complaints now at 37,500, the BBC announced Jonathan Ross was being suspended without pay for 12 weeks.

FRIDAY 7th NOVEMBER
Radio 2’s Head of Compliance, David Barber, resigned.


Mark Boosey yesterday pointed out that only two people who heard the broadcast on transmission had been offended (perhaps only one) and it had taken eight days for 1,583 other people to have been offended second-hand.

What it all proves I do not know, but it must prove something. I personally thought what was broadcast (which I have listened to) was way-way-over-the-line into unacceptable offensiveness.

Yet, on 9th November 2008, Russell Brand told the Observer that what had been broadcast had been “toned down”: that “the worst bits” were cut out before the broadcast – presumably they believed the new version was not offensive.

I guess it also shows that, in a world of instant TV, radio and internet, newspapers still have a big effect. And it had a lasting effect even after it ‘ended’.

On Friday 21st November 2008, after publishing a report on the incident, the BBC Trust said that a list of “high-risk radio programmes” should be put together to prevent a repeat of what happened.

That is simultaneously sensible and unsettling and the BBC have, arguably, been running scared ever since.

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Filed under Newspapers, Radio, Sex

George Egg is cooking at the Edinburgh Fringe. But Andy Zapp won’t be there.

George egg irons out some problems

George Egg irons out some problems with his upcoming show

George Egg started performing when he was still at school. Now he is 42 and he could win the Best Newcomer award at the Edinburgh Fringe this year because he has never ever performed there before.

“I’m an Edinburgh virgin,” he told me last week. “I’ve never even been there as part of a show. I went up to visit maybe ten years ago, but I’ve never even been part of a package show.”

“You did your first paid comedy gig at Malcolm Hardee’s club Up the Creek in Greenwich?” I asked.

“Yes. When I was 19, in 1992. I had been doing street entertaining by the Cutty Sark in Greenwich for about three years before that. I started doing street entertaining when I was still at school. I did my first show when I was doing my GCSEs. Then I did an Art foundation course at St Martin’s in London, while doing street entertaining in Covent Garden. Then I moved to the University of Brighton, but I would come back to London at weekends to play Covent Garden to pay my way through my degree, which was in Visual & Performing Arts.”

“So,” I checked, “you never had to do anything other than performance because you were always able to support yourself?”

“That’s the thing,” said George. “I came out of university without any debt and never had to do an office job or anything like that. Do you remember Brian?”

“What?”

“Do you remember Brian?”

“As,” I asked, “in used-to-live-in-Malcolm-Hardee’s-house Brian?”

George Egg mask

You too can become your own George Egg

“Yes. I saw him last month, backstage at Glastonbury. He still does Covent Garden and does the new street entertaining pitch in front of Tate Modern. He was an absolute inspiration to me when I started – surreal, prop-based. He had a chicken on a pump-up rocket… You know when you get a Coca-Cola bottle, fill it with water and then pump it up with a bicycle pump and it flies up in the air?”

I nodded as if I did know.

“Brian’s finale was that,” explained George, “but with a rubber chicken on it. And he used to attack a music stand with nunchucks and just smash it to the ground. Really surreal stuff.”

“And this,” I asked, “inspired you to even better things?”

“Yes. He told me I should play at Up The Creek and, for about three years, I only got booked there because other clubs said my act was too odd. But I was earning so much doing street entertaining it didn’t matter. When I was working at Covent Garden, I knew loads of people who went up to the Edinburgh Fringe for the summer and came back loaded with money – while all the comedians who went up there lost loads of money.”

“What was your street act?” I asked.

“Magic. I used to do the razor-blade eating, then bring it all out threaded on cotton. And the nail-up-the-nose trick. Then, when I started getting more contract stuff and festivals abroad, I did the thing with the coat hanger, which Malcolm mentioned in his autobiography.”

“Remind me,” I said.

“For my finale,” George explained, “I used to put a coat hanger through my ear lobe and hang everything on it – my pants, socks, the works. So I am naked. But they’re all hanging down the front, so it’s quite modest. As I walked off, people would catch a sight of my back naked.”

“But your Edinburgh Fringe show this year,” I said, “is not that?”

George’s Fringe poster for Anarchist Cook

George’s Fringe poster for Anarchist Cook

“No. The show is called Anarchist CookI’m genuinely passionate about cooking and, doing the comedy circuit and staying in hotels for weekends all over the place, I never wanted to spend money on hotel food – it’s overpriced and rubbish quality – so I started seeing what I could cook in hotels using just their irons, kettles, trouser press and so on.”

“What did you do with the trouser press?” I asked.

“You’ll have to come and see the show,” said George. “It stimulates every sense. You can smell the show when I’m cooking it. You can see it. You can hear me talking. You can touch and taste when you eat the food I cook.”

“Any sixth sense?” I asked.

“It stimulates your sense of humour,” George suggested.

“You could be in line to be a TV chef?” I asked.

“Well,” said George, “I do a food blog online. I got an agent about a year ago and she’s set me up with loads of meetings about TV things, but there’s always this sense I’m not normal enough for them. They’re friendly and then nothing comes of it. They want it all to be conventional and accessible.”


That was George Egg, surprisingly doing his first ever show at the Edinburgh Fringe this year.

Andy Zapp

Andy Zapp finds himself in London’s Regent Street last week

Andy Zapp, musician-turned-comedian has performed at the Fringe before, but is not going this year. Instead, he going on a Center Parcs holiday with his grandchildren and daughter.

“I took out my one-man show in January,” he told me. “That went alright. It was a work in progress. Didn’t have a title. I need to get more on the emails and do more schmoozing, but I’m a bit too old for that at 67. I gig a lot. I’m still trying to get a sense of who I am on stage. Been doing bits of writing, connecting with who I am, but it’s a slow old game. I’ve been doing comedy four years now.”

“Are you still doing music gigs?” I asked.

“Yeah. I’m struggling with how you incorporate the music into the comedy; trying to get a club set together – you can’t sing with a harmonica in yer mouth.”

“I see you,” I said, “as an ageing Mississippi Blues man. Pity about the colour, but you can’t have everything.”

“Well,” said Andy, “an ageing Polish Mississippi Blues man born in Wales. That’s maybe my unique selling point. I’m still working towards pushing the boundaries.”

“You should,” I suggested, “do the autobiographical heroin show.”

“Yeah, but it’s more than that, isn’t it?” said Andy. “If the audience likes me, I can get away with murder. A couple of weeks ago, I was doing stuff around fisting. It just came out of the conversation and got quite ridiculous, really. It went from I’m a GILF – Good In Lots of Fings – to Grandad I’d Like to Fist and we were on a roll after that. About 23 minutes of ad-lib there, so that was good.

“I did the Palace Theatre with Russell Brand – where Les Misérables used to be – 1,400 people – and that was a really lovely gig. It was a fundraiser, a really great experience. When the jokes land, the laughter comes rolling down. He’s a nice bloke, Russell. Helpful. Puts his money where his mouth is. Helps people. Very kind. Very approachable. And the shit they write about him in the papers is just that – shit. He just tries his best.”

“I’ve never met him,” I said, “but I like the way he seems to love the English language.”

Andy Zapp - the current man in my bed at Edinburgh Fringe

Andy Zapp – surprised by the changes in the English language

“Though words change,” said Andy. “I was on-stage in Southend and I mentioned ‘plating this bird’ – cunnilingus – and they’re all looking at me and loads of them got their iPhones out and are looking up the definition of ‘plating’. And they go Earghh! Because, on Google, ‘plating’ is now squatting down on a sheet of glass and doing a crap while someone is looking up from underneath the glass. So no wonder they thought I was disgusting.”

“That,” I suggested, “could be your angle. You are old enough to have seen the language change.”

“I’m just trying to be more consistent, really,” said Andy. “I’d like to get better; I think I’ve got something to offer; I’m enjoying it.”

“Edinburgh next year,” I said.

“Definitely,” said Andy.

 

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Russell Brand supports Comedy Cafe owner Noel Faulkner’s ‘secret’ charity

Russell Brand is supporting Ghar Sita Mutu

Russell Brand supports Ghar Sita Mutu

“So you have Russell Brand,” I said to Noel Faulkner yesterday.

Noel owns London’s Comedy Cafe Theatre.

“Yes,” he told me. “He’s going to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Comedy Cafe by doing a gig on Wednesday 3rd June for the orphanage in Nepal.”

“This is the charity,” I said, “that you’ve always refused to let me mention in my blog in case it makes you look too amiable?”

“Yes. You can say it’s a Comedy Cafe friendly charity.”

“What is a Comedy Cafe friendly charity?” I asked.

“One that we fuckin’ support,” replied Noel. “Whatever. The show’s also got Trevor Lock, Andrew Maxwell, Jimmy James Jones and Kate Lucas.”

“What’s the orphanage called?” I asked.

“House With a Heart (Ghar Sita Mutu).”

The charity’s website says it provides a home for abandoned children, an education center for impoverished women and children and an outreach program for needy families.

“How long has it been running?” I asked.

“I don’t want to go into all that,” said Noel. “I like people to think I’m a bit of a cunt… Alright, the charity has been going for thirteen years. In Kathmandu, Nepal.”

“Oh bloody hell!” I said. “Is it actually in the city itself? Was it affected by the earthquakes?”

Some of the House with Heart ‘family’ by one of the garden tents

Some of the House with a Heart ‘family’ by one of the tents

“At the moment, they’re living in tents in the front garden because the building is cracked. We are flying an engineer out from America to look at the building. He’s going out there with the founder of the charity, Beverly Bronson.”

“How many people are living in the garden?” I asked.

“Thirty one plus neighbours,” said Noel. “We’re taking care of neighbours. A lot of poor people live around it.”

“Is 31 the capacity of the orphanage?” I asked.

The House with a Heart in Kathmandu

House with a Heart – as it was before quake – in Kathmandu

“Well,” said Noel, “25 kids in the house and 6 adults – there’s a gardener, a maintenance guy, a manager and so on.”

“What age are the kids?”

“From 4 to 22. The 22-year-old is just getting ready to go to college and move into outside accommodation, which we will still… We will see these people right to a career.”

“How do you choose the kids?” I asked.

”There is no way you choose… If you’ve got room and somebody dumps a baby on your doorstep… you take it in. There’s going to be a lot of abandoned kids with this crisis. People can’t feed them, so they dump them on your doorstep. We’ve only had one that was abandoned so far. Well, actually, a few of our kids were abandoned by their parents – neighbours who were very poor were looking after them.”

“How often do you go out to Nepal yourself?”

Beverly Bronson with supporters Noel Faulkner (right) and Dr Mark Rogers

Beverly Bronson + Noel Faulkner (right) & Dr Mark Rogers

“I used to go once a year. Beverly goes twice. She lives in New York. She has a little retro antique shop in the Village. She founded the whole thing and the Comedy Cafe just stepped in with a little finance. She keeps an eye out that every kid is being taken care of, has got their needs, got their dental care. Young girls turning into women go to a doctor and are told how it all works. We have an outreach programme that trains women to sew and we pay them $20 a month and, at the end of six months, they’re qualified and then we buy them a sewing machine and then they can make a few bob.”

“How,” I asked, “did you get Russell Brand for the show?”

“I bumped into him on the street. He reminded me about the time I threw him out of the Comedy Cafe for being a cunt.”

“What,” I asked, “was he doing?”

“He was walking on the tables.”

“When was that?”

“About 23 years ago.”

“Have you seen him since then?”

“No, I just bumped into him this week.”

“What else is happening?”

“I’m working on my Touettte’s song I’m Not On Drugs, I’ve Got Tourette’s.”

“When will that come to fruition?”

“Probably two months.”

Noel Faulkner has Tourette Syndrome.

He is not a cunt.

But don’t tell anyone.

His rap song Comfort Zone with Jimmy James Jones is on YouTube.

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Filed under Charity, Comedy, Nepal

The Eccentric Party: is it a surprisingly sensible choice for the General Election?

I proudly wear an Eccentric Party rosette

I very proudly wear an Eccentric Party rosette

When I chatted to comedian Al Murray in this blog last year, he told me he was writing a book about medieval fools.

“Fools were very important,” he told me, “because they spoke the truth. There are examples of them giving the king bad news because no-one else dared. The fool had a licence to speak truth to the powerful.”

And now, of course, Al – and/or his comic creation The Pub Landlord – is standing for Parliament in the General Election next month. The fact Al also has a national tour to publicise is, I am sure, totally coincidental. Al Murray is no fool.

Nor, it seems, are members of the new Eccentric Party.

Yesterday afternoon, I went to see them launch their latest Parliamentary candidate in Uxbridge.

Lord Toby Jug. leader of the Eccentric Party

Lord Toby Jug. leader of the Eccentric Party

The Party leader is Lord Toby Jug.

“I was named Toby Jug,” he told me, “by our late great spiritual leader, Screaming Lord Sutch. I was in his Monster Raving Loony Party for 27 years and contested four General Elections.

“But the Monster Raving Loony Party has been pulled in different directions. I wanted it to stay true to the founder, Screaming Lord Sutch, which was getting a serious message with a bit of fun. Whereas now they’re middle aged men in fancy dress more concerned with standing in a local pub reading the jokes out of the Beano and using them as policies. But I wish them well. That’s life.”

The Eccentric Party’s policies include:

  • putting super glue in lip balm to fight obesity
  • a 10% phone bill discount for people who stutter

The Monster Raving Loony Party says: “the reason for Toby’s dismissal from the party is his continued personal attacks on members of the party and on other groups while claiming to be representing the Loony Party.”

Yesterday, Lord Toby Jug told me: “I left because they didn’t like my stance – as told to national newspapers – on Nigel Farage and UKIP. I said UKIP claimed to be fruitcakes, loonies and crackpots but that’s our area. They tried to nick our Holy Grail of loonies. Another reason I left was because I met Nigel Farage and some of his sick-you-fonts and I thought they were closet racists and decided that should be put in the public domain. UKIP are far too eccentric, far too potty. Extremists.”

Some of the Party in Uxbridge High Street yesterday

Some of the Party parade in Uxbridge High Street yesterday

“You’re standing for Huntingdon,” I said. “Was that (former Prime Minister) John Major’s constituency?”

“It was, yes. Now it’s Jonathan Djanogly’s, a Conservative, a very wealthy man. They live in a different world. The only Tory worth voting for is a lava-tory. These people who live in mansions are nothing to do with the ordinary people.”

“You consider yourself a normal person?” I asked.

“Compared to them, yes,” said Lord Toby Jug. I’ve met many politicians over the years and they’ve asked me to join their so-called sensible parties and I’ve said No because I would lose my whole identity as an independent free thinker and eccentric.”

“Why,” I asked, “did they want you in their party?”

“They wanted some of the publicity I got.”

So why is Chris Dowling standing – the man the Eccentric Party were launching yesterday – the Eccentric Party candidate for Uxbridge & South Ruislip?

Spot The Loony - Chris Dowling and Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls

Play Spot The Loony – Chris Dowling and the Labour Party’s Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls

“I’m standing, basically,” he told me, “because I’m a musician, a singer-songwriter. I’m doing this for publicity. With my £500 deposit, I’m going to get more publicity than you can shake a stick at – just by standing against Boris Johnson. Also, I stood against Boris as a Monster Raving Loony Party candidate for Mayor of London. I played guitar with Screaming Lord Sutch for ten years. Now the Chairman of the Monster Raving Loony party is standing in this constituency so I’ve jumped ship and gone with Lord Toby Jug.”

“Have you any policies?” I asked.

“When I stood last time,” Chris told me, “in Barking, against Nick Griffin of the BNP – I stood with no policies at all. This election, I’m standing on one policy: the virtual Parliament.”

“Eh?” I asked.

“MPs have robbed us for so many years now with their expenses and all that. We should leave them all in their own constituencies and do it all on Skype and online. They can have video conferencing and that would negate all their expenses. Politicians are always saying they want us to make cuts, so let’s start with them.

“I mean it when I talk about a virtual Parliament. It would save millions of pounds each year to have them in their own constituencies – where they should be anyway – instead of coming down to Westminster and sponging off of us.

Didgeridoo Pete, Minister of Didgeridoos

Didgeridoo Pete, Minister of, yes, Didgeridoos

“Almost everything is already online now. Why not have government online as well? You watch. In a few years time, what we’re talking about now is not going to be that far-fetched. We phoned up a video-conferencing firm and asked how much it would cost. There are 650 MPs and we could do it for less than £1,200 a year each. Online in their constituencies, debating everything. They don’t need transport to London and hotel expenses every week.”

“Automatically,” I told him, “I am thinking that’s a ridiculous idea but, of course, in 50 years time, there may not be office blocks – most people may work from home.”

“We’re always ahead,” said Lord Toby Jug.

“I was a Raving Loony for years,” said Chris, “and there are already five Raving Loony policies that have come to fruition:

  • Passports for pets
  • All-day pub-opening
  • Scrapping the 11-plus
  • Votes for 18-year-olds (it was 21 at the time)
  • Commercial radio

I asked: “Doesn’t commercial radio pre-date the Monster Raving Loony Party?”

“No,” said Chris. “The Monster Raving Loony Party has been going 50 years.”

Screaming Lord Sutch (in hat) (Photograph by Colin Dale, Radio Sutch)

Screaming Lord Sutch (in hat) in his heyday (Photograph by Colin Dale, Radio Sutch)

“Since 1963,” said Lord Toby. “It started as the National Teenage Party.”

“Some of the policies,” I said, “don’t sound that loony.”

“The policies ain’t that loony,” said Chris.

“We want more money spent on mental health,” said Lord Toby Jug.

“To have less of it?” I asked.

Lord Toby Jug ignored me. “That’s a very serious subject,” he said. “The same with addiction.”

“Diction?” I asked, genuinely surprised.

“Addiction,” said Lord Toby Jug.

“Even though this is still the greatest democracy in the world,” said Chris, “the political system in this country is outdated and it needs to be revamped. I’m gonna win by a landslide majority here.”

“Against Boris?” I asked.

“Yeah. He’s a bigger loony than I am.”

“I do wonder,” I said, “who is going to be next Mayor of London. Because people voted-in Red Ken, who was a bit eccentric, then Boris, who is more eccentric. They seem to vote for interesting people to be Mayor of London, not for parties.”

Njambi doorsteps London Mayor Boris Johnson at Westfield, Stratford

Boris – a future Prime Minister? (with comic Njambi McGrath)

“Sooner or later,” said Chris, “Boris Johnson will be the Prime Minister of this country.”

“I think so too,” I agreed.

“Everything I’ve seen about Boris Johnson,” said Chris, “he’s just seemed a buffoon and I quite like that about him.”

“Well,” I said, “he’s a buffoon who, at one time, was simultaneously editing The Spectator AND being an apparently quite good constituency MP AND being a TV personality on things like Have I Got News For You. He’s no fool.

“Red Ken – eccentric – Boris Johnson – eccentric – Maybe you should not be standing for Parliament, but as Mayor of London. “

“Well,” said Chris. “I went for that last time, but there’s so much red tape involved and you have to put up £10,000, because they don’t want the likes of me and you there.”

“£10,000?” I said, shocked. “It’s only £500 to stand as an MP! But you’re quite serious about the politics…”

“Not really,” said Chris.

“Well,” I added, “in an anarchist way.”

“Yes, in an anarchist way,” agreed Chris.

“It’s not a case of winning,” said Lord Toby Jug. “It’s a case of standing and putting your policies forward. “

“But a lot of people won’t do it,” said Chris. “It’s like they’re sofa referees: you watch the football and you shout at the TV screen but you don’t play. At least we stand up and do it.

Russell Brand says Don’t vote,” I prompted.

“Yeah,” said Chris. “But Russell Brand is a prick.”

Lord Toby Jug added: “He is to politics what King Herod was to babysitters. Politicians are just actors to get publicity for themselves and will do absolutely anything and lie about anything to get your vote. We ain’t like that. We are an honest political party. Peace and love through the medium of humour. There’s enough hatred in the world. We’re very lucky to live in this democracy.”

“We are,” agreed Lord Toby Jug.

Joshua Francis, Eccentric Party’s Minister for Ovine Philosophy

Joshua Francis, Minister for Ovine Theology

The Eccentric Party are recording a campaign song this Friday – Eccentric Guitars, written by Joshua Francis, their Minister for Ovine Theology. It will be released on iTunes and YouTube, probably next week.

They are also having a fund-raising party this Saturday at their party HQ – the Crown & Treaty pub in Uxbridge.

I have a suspicion that the Eccentric Party knows how to party.

And, lest we forget, to quote Al Murray: “The fool (has) a licence to speak truth to the powerful.”

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Filed under Humor, Humour, Politics

Chris Dangerfield on Dapper Laughs: the victim of class prejudice & jealousy?

A selfie of Chris Dangerfield “hard at work"

A selfie of Chris Dangerfield “hard at work”

In my blog yesterday, comedian Lewis Schaffer gave his view of the recent kerfuffle about ‘offensive’ and ’sexist’ comic Dapper Laughs whose career appears to have imploded after criticism from the media and other comedians.

A couple of days ago, while he was picking a lock (that is true) comedian Chris Dangerfield told me he was angry about several things.

So I had a chat with him yesterday.

Basically, like setting off a firework, I started it off then stood well back.

WARNING: As this is a blog involves Chris Dangerfield, some people may find the language and opinions offensive. If this is likely, then do not read it.

“How are your armpits?” I asked.

“I use that Magnum 24 Hours,” Chris told me. “Look, I don’t know what it’s called. Mitchum? It just stops your body functioning normally so you can’t get rid of all the toxins that will poison you and your body doesn’t smell for years. And, when you don’t bath ever, like me – Don’t put that in your blog. I’m actually very good at bathing. But it’s a heroin thing. The feeling of water on your skin is not that good.”

“Why’s that?’

“I dunno. Odd, though. It’s almost alright once you’re in, but getting out is a bit prickly. The water’s just unwanted.”

“So,” I said, “at the moment, some comedians are talking about forming their own trade union and having people sign a Code of Conduct.”

“I got into comedy for a love of performance,” said Chris, “for a love of challenging things, for some kind of dissident voice in a world where there aren’t many left. And now comics are policing comics. All those fuckers that signed that fucking thing. Half of them ain’t even comedians. Who are these people? They’re blatant opportunists. Oh, I’ll sign it! I’ll sign it to be on the same list as some other Nobody comic! Jesus! It’s all bullshit! It’s an awful, awful situation.”

“I think originally,” I said, “it was because people were pissed-off because they were not being paid by Jongleurs, but now this ‘code of conduct’ thing has got muddled-in with the Dapper Laughs thing. Did you read my blog today where Lewis Schaffer talks about Dapper Laughs?”

Chris Dangerfield

Chris Dangerfield is always very clean

“Comedy is almost the last free speech,” said Chris. “It’s an interesting framework. Once you label it ‘comedy’ you can kind of do anything… But these fools recently who had anything to do with that whole censorship thing.”

“What?” I asked. “Dapper Laughs?”

“Yes. They’re doing the dirty work of comedy’s biggest enemy.”

“Which is?” I asked.

“Censorship,” said Chris. “Comedians play with language. Comedians play with morality. They can play with what’s right and what’s wrong. They can turn it on its head. That’s what we do. It’s an amazing, exciting thing. It’s certainly what got me involved. And suddenly they’re all twits.

“Look, I don’t give a shit about the bullshit personal private greedy agendas of these liberal fucks who draw arbitrary lines to serve their own agendas – and that’s what they’ve done. That’s why they’re not talking about Russell Brand, Doug Stanhope, Bill Burr. But Dapper Laughs – some working class shitbag from nowhere who has said a couple of pretty unfunny things – he’s a target. He hasn’t said anything anywhere near as ‘bad’ as any of that other lot. I don’t care what they say, myself. I love it. But, if you look at the criteria these people have used when talking about Dapper Laughs, then these people – Brand, Stanhope, Burr – are far ‘worse’. It’s all bullshit.”

“But,” I argued, “Dapper Laughs telling the woman in the front row of the audience that she was ‘gagging to be raped’ is way beyond acceptability.”

“Why?” asked Chris. “Did you see the clip? If she had seen his material and chosen to go to that show, there is a certain expectation. In context, it’s fine. Absolutely fine. A comedian can’t offend anyone. People offend themselves. How do you offend someone? If there was an objective ability to offend, the whole world would be offended by things. The reason why one person can be offended while another person isn’t is because offence is in the ears of the beholder.

“I could give you ten or twenty comics who have said things along the same lines as that, but they are not getting attacked because there is the elephant in the room here about class. And the massive jealousy that Dapper Laughs had not ‘earned’ his TV series and his success because he just became famous through a technology (Vine on the internet) that other people have failed to use in the same way. It’s a disgrace. It is so disappointing.”

Sex With Children poster

Chris Dangerfield’s Sex With Children poster at the Edinburgh Fringe billed “anus, star-wars, anus, bum, frenchman, anus, magician, willy, switchblade, anus, boy, conductor, anus, lobster, bum” – and still some people who went to see the show got offended and walked out

“At the Edinburgh Fringe,” I said, “you had walk-outs in your Sex With Children show which none of us could understand given the title, the poster and the publicity.”

“It’s the same as Dapper Laughs,” said Chris. “This selective understanding of his act. “If you watch the Vines, there’s this massive homosexual undercurrent.

“He will talk to a woman in the street and then turn away and say I want cock in my bum as if he can’t hold it in, as if he’s got these desires and they over-run his heterosexual desires.

“And that’s not once or twice: it’s frequent, this homosexuality. And also his failure with women. He is a failure; he doesn’t do well with women. That’s the main thread of the Vines. None of that gets talked about.”

“But,” I started to argue, “his critics would say…”

“They’re opportunist cunts,” said Chris, “and I hate them all and they have made me SO disappointed. Comedy in this country was shit, but now it is shit and celebratory in its sense of shit. I would have thought an act that puts you in the position of the male gaze – for all its stupidity and ignorance – is essentially feminist and yet everyone is Nweugh Nweugh Nweugh complaining about it. Why aren’t they complaining about Russell Brand, Jim Jefferies, Doug Stanhope, Sarah Silverman? They’ve all offended people.

Vonny Moyes. She’s a writer. She writes for The Skinny. Done a lovely interview with me. Done a lovely review of my show. But, when Dapper Laughs pulled his show and was bullied on Newsnight where they were quoting bits of his show out of context and the poor lad looked like he was going to start crying, I put on Twitter: Oy! Dapper. If you’re jacking that character, I’ll have it. And Vonny Moyes said: It’s not so funny when you’ve been on the receiving end of rape. 

“Well, actually, I have. I have. And that’s nothing to do with the debate. People have been on the receiving end of war. I don’t see these people moaning about war jokes, of which there are millions.

Dapper Laughs - “dead in the water"

Dapper Laughs – Is he a working class hero unjustly censored?

“The whole Dapper Laughs thing has been opportunist at best. People like that prick Xxxxx Yyyyy has seen something and got jealous because he’s a failed, shitty comic who had an awful TV show. Everyone thought it was crap; it was rubbish. He saw Dapper Laughs’ show and was jealous and thought: How can I get part of this? Oh, I know, I’ll complain about it.

“Who is he to tell all these people – these millions of people who found Dapper Laughs funny – that they’re wrong. And then some cock from the Huffington Post is saying: We should not have banned this show. We should have used all his followers and educated them.

Them? Them? What? He means people he thinks of as working class idiots. Well, they don’t want to be educated; they want to be made to laugh. They didn’t go see Dapper Laughs as part of their schooling. The cheek of it! Fuck you! I was angry. Now I’m just disappointed.”

“You are getting more mellow with age,” I suggested.

“It must be the quality of the smack I brought back from Cambodia,” said Chris Dangerfield.

… TO BE CONTINUED …

The Newsnight interview with Dapper Laughs is on YouTube and includes clips from both his ITV2 series and his live stage show.

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Trevor Lock on Dapper Laughs, Andrew Lawrence and the rise of liberal Fascism (my phrase not his)

trevor Lock, as seen by Poppy Hillstead

Trevor Lock, as painted by Poppy Hillstead

In yesterday’s blog, comedian Trevor Lock explained that he does not think Third World charity aid is always a good thing.

We talked at the end of a week in which there had been a social media maelstrom in the UK about comics Dapper Laughs and Andrew Lawrence.

Dapper Laughs had been at the centre of a storm about misogyny. Andrew Lawrence had posted on Facebook about the UK Independence Party’s poll successes and immigration.

I told Trevor Lock: “I don’t think Andrew Lawrence is being unreasonable if you actually read what he says.”

“Yes,” said Trevor. “If you read what he says. But it’s just… People… It’s absolutely terrifying… You can understand how Nazi Germany got off the ground. You really do see the witch huntery delight in identifying ‘the enemy’. It’s horrendous. Chilling. I found it chilling. That and the Dapper Laughs thing I find chilling.”

“Dapper Laughs,” I said, “I have no opinion on, because I’ve never seen or heard his stuff.”

“I don’t find him funny,” said Trevor, “but the point is he is not the anti-Christ.”

“Can I quote you?” I asked. “You might get hate mail.”

Andrew Lawrence’s Facebook postings ruffled feathers

Andrew Lawrence’s Facebook postings

“Yeah,” said Trevor. “I don’t care. I got hate mail for the Andrew Lawrence thing. I was ‘outed’ on Facebook for liking Andrew Lawrence’s thing. I was described as being a Right Wing, misogynistic whatever. It’s weird.”

I suggested: “It was the three-word description of some women on panel shows that did for Andrew.”

Women impersonating comedians,” said Trevor. “He didn’t say all female comedians and it’s true. They have a lot of people who are not comedians on the shows. I didn’t agree with everything he said and the way he put it, but the shocking thing for me was how people took delight in deliberately mis-representing him or jumping to the worst possible conclusion in order to hate him. It’s frightening.

“I find the self-righteousness of it terrifying,” Trevor continued. “This certainty – this chilling certainty – that they are right. That is how most of these people think. They are certain they are the good guys. Did the Nazis walk around thinking they were the bad guys?”

“That is something it’s dangerous to even talk about,” I suggested. “Presumably Hitler, while committing unspeakable evil, thought he was doing good.”

“Well, of course he did,” said Trevor. “Stalin thought it was a good idea to kill people. On Facebook, a propos the Andrew Lawrence debate, someone wrote something to the effect of It’s funny how, if everybody who opposed liberalism were to be shot, the world would be a much better place. It was there on my Facebook Feed and I just thought: This is interesting on so many levels.

Hessy Levinsons Taft's photograph was selected by Nazi party for the front cover of Sonne Ins Haus publication, but Joseph Goebbels' propaganda machine never discovered she was Jewish, 1935.

This photograph won a contest to find the ‘ideal Aryan infant’. It was selected by the Nazi Party as front cover of Sonne Ins Haus in 1935. They never realised she was Jewish.

“Well, Hitler was a National Socialist,” I said. “And that’s not a misnomer. I’ve always thought that Socialism is not a political system; it’s a religion. If you follow the true path of Socialism without deviation, it will create a perfect heaven on a perfect earth. That’s bollocks. That’s religion not reality. If you’re a Conservative and someone disagrees with you, then you think: Someone disagrees with me. If you’re a militant Socialist and someone disagrees with you, then you think: They are evil.”

“That’s what we’re talking about,” said Trevor.

“There’s that thing in some universities,” I said: “We are liberals. We are democrats. So we must not have people coming to talk to us if they disagree with what we think.

“It’s astonishing,” said Trevor. “This time last year, someone invited me to talk at Leicester University. He said: I am chairman of the Oxfam Society. I would like you to come and give a speech on the importance of charity. So I said OK.”

“Why did they invite you?” I asked.

“He said: I love listening to you and reading about your philosophical take on life.

“They also wanted me to write something for their student magazine and it was just after Russell Brand had said Don’t vote! when he was on BBC2’s Newsnight.

There is a YouTube clip of Russell Brand’s appearance on Newsnight last year.

“So I wrote this piece explaining my views on charity and they were on the phone to me saying: We’re not sure we can publish this and we’re really worried about you coming to talk to us.

“And I was like: Whaaatt?? You can’t publish my views on charity – about how I have a completely different understanding of charity and how giving money to an organisation is not what I understand as charity. And I was sympathetic to Russell’s idea about not voting.

“And they changed the wording of my piece. They edited bits out to make it sound like I was in favour of charity. They sent it to me and said: This is what we are going to publish. Is it alright?

How would that be alright? I told them. You have made me say Vote! when I did not say that; it was a complicated thing. And I am actually against organised charity. 

Yeah, they said, we’re really worried about what you’re gonna say.

Well, I asked them, why have you booked me? I even said it in the article. I said I didn’t know why I had been booked to talk about charity.”

“Did they keep the booking?” I asked.

“Yes,” said Trevor.

“How did it go?”

Trevor Lock may go to a variety of counties in South America

Trevor Lock talked to me at Soho Theatre earlier this week

“It went fine. There was one clever know-it-all trying to make me defend Russell Brand’s point of view, which I don’t fully share. But what was amazing was that this was a university unable to hear… I don’t think I’m known as being Right Wing; I don’t think my opinions are particularly Right Wing… I was just saying: This is what I think charity is.”

“And did they print your piece?” I asked.

“In the end,” said Trevor. “But it took me a long long time and I had to accuse… well, two of them got very angry.”

“They printed your original version?”

“Yes. Because I told them: You have to put THIS back in. Then they said: It’s too long…. I thought: Don’t tell brazen lies to me! You are telling me you have had to edit the article to make it sound the opposite of what I said because my article was too long??

“If they disagreed with your views,” I said, “all they had to do was commission someone with opposite views to write a counterbalancing article and then it would be an interesting debate.”

“This is the thing,” said Trevor. “When I went to university, it was about hearing and talking about ideas. I am 40 years old and here are young lads in theirs 20s who should be debating interesting thoughts. But they are frightened to hear my thoughts. It’s almost like being in Nineteen Eighty-Four.”

Welcome to 1984 Doublethink “The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible.” Welcome to the Big Brother House.

“The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible”… Welcome to the Big Brother House.

I said: “Whenever wankers use the phrase ‘positive discrimination’ I think Have they not read about Doublethink in Nineteen Eighty-Four? Positive discrimination is discrimination.”

Trevor said: “What I have taken away from reading Facebook in this last week about Andrew Lawrence and Dapper Laughs is that Hitler could have happened here.”

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Filed under Censorship, Charity, Politics

Chris Dangerfield says he has some Will Self help for Fringe Sex With Children

Chris Dangerfield talked via Skype yesterday

Chris Dangerfield via Skype yesterday

In yesterday’s blog, comedian Chris Dangerfield – currently in Thailand trying to kick heroin addiction – talked about his disinterest in himself and in performing. He told me it’s all ego and ambition. He also told me the title of his planned Edinburgh Fringe solo show this August.

Sex With Children,” he said. “It’s a good story, man. It’s a good story.”

There was a pause.

“I was fucked loads of times. There’s some good stories where I go round and try to get a bit of revenge. I take this pit bull terrier round to some magician’s house, but the thing turns round and shits itself when there’s a bit of chaos. I’d been lively on this bloke with a house brick and the fucking pit bull turns round and shits on his doorstep. It’s an alright show. I’m trying to say we’re all paedophiles.”

“You might be wrong there,” I suggested, “but at least you’re trying to make a statement to make people think and that’s a good thing. You told me you’d written novels but never published them. How many have you written? Three?”

“No, loads more than that. The last three were about coming to Thailand and trying to get off smack. I’ve been here three times to do this.”

“So why haven’t…” I started to say.

“Because I’ve been busy jacking heroin,” interrupted Chris. “This is the problem. This is the only problem. It’s very difficult to do anything else when you’re doing that. I can work, cos I need the money for the smack, but I can’t be arsed doing much else.

“Weirdly, having said that, I’ve done a bit of TV work this year. I’m on Channel 4 in a couple of weeks time with Rupert Everett and Russell Brand. Russell’s a cock but Rupert’s a great man, he really is. I read his autobiography and realised he’s a very, very intelligent man.”

“So are you,” I said. “So why do you not want to do more creative things?”

 Chris says this is a picture “of me just holing my works in my mouth as my hands gave up"

Chris last month was, he says, “just holing my works in my mouth as my hands gave up”

“I do,” said Chris. “But life is a problem, John. I was thinking of jumping off the balcony five days ago. I just feel that I’ve been doing what I’m doing right now… I’ve been doing this – On-Off On-Off On-Off – for 25 years.”

“That’s the fault of being on heroin,” I suggested, “not the fault of not being on heroin.”

“It’s not the fault of the fucking heroin!” said Chris. “You think it walks up the stairs and jumps in my arm? I’ll be honest with you. I reckon I’m a pretty good comic and a pretty good writer and I reckon, if I had a few years clean, I could probably make a nice living out of it. But I am honestly – and I mean honestly – weighing that up with just fucking off to Laos, getting myself a little hut somewhere and just… That’s it over. Finished. Just on the gear.”

“Look,” I said, “you’re a highly creative person. You should do something with your novels. If you write a novel and don’t publish it, there’s no point in doing it because you’re not communicating anything. You’re just wanking off.”

“You want me to wank it into people’s faces?” Chris asked. “Is that what you’re saying? You mean There’s no point losing it on the duvet when there’s mouths open all round the world,” said Chris.

“You are a man with a good turn of phrase,” I said, “but the smack is stopping you doing creative things. It’s not helping you. It’s stopping you.”

“But sometimes it feels like such a relief,” said Chris. “It also calms the penis. I’m not fucking, I’m not thinking about sex all the time, I’m not worrying about my poxy career. It’s a nice rest. Because, when I’m off the heroin, it’s all about Do something! Make Something happen! Get a fuck! Make something happen! Get a fuck! When I’m on it, it’s a nice rest. I don’t want sex, I don’t want to do anything.”

“Well,” I said, “I always tell comedians, if they want to do a 60-minute show, they should figure out what they’re angry about and shape the show round that. What are you angry about?”

Chris Dangerfield’s 2014 Edinburgh Fringe show

Chris’ image for his 2014 Edinburgh Fringe stand-up show

“How long have you got?” laughed Chris. “This Sex With Children show is pretty angry. I mean, I really did not appreciate being bummed when I was seven eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve years old. That was pretty unpleasant. All my friends who’ve died on drugs because they were raped as kids. That’s kind of unpleasant. That’s what the show’s about.

“The point of the show is we don’t talk about this shit. There’s no place for it. We live in a paedophile culture. We fuck our kids. We’ve got laws against it. You don’t have laws against painting yourself blue because no-one does it. We do have laws against fucking kids, because everyone’s at it.

“It started off with incest. Don’t fuck your own kids. They made it illegal. So everyone starts fucking everyone else’s kids. And it’s not talked about. Incest and child abuse comes from the family. The family comes from the creation of capital. I don’t want two people’s opinions. I want a community. We live in little rooms of two people full of vodka. Why do we have two people look after us?”

“Well,” I said, “two people look after you because two people created you.”

“No, no, no, no, no,” Chris said, his voice rising. “That ain’t how it works! That shouldn’t be how it works! You should have a community looking after you. Two people is not enough. The family unit is a disgrace. It’s a violent little situation that creates hatred and Oedipal hell. It’s a horrible thing.”

“The family unit exists,” I suggested, “because they’re all related by blood.”

“Not it’s not,” said Chris. “The family exists to create workers. Viva la Communista!”

“Anyway,” I said, “this is getting off the subject of you actually doing something about your life. It sounds to me that your Edinburgh Fringe show is exactly what you should be doing – getting that anger out of you and making other people think, even if they don’t agree with you.”

“I’ll be carrying a pair of brass knuckles on stage, though,” said Chris. “I’ve already bought them.”

“When are you back in Britain?”

“Probably 4th or 5th of May.”

“Then you’ll have to think full-time about Edinburgh,” I said.

“Well, I got Will Self on the firm, haven’t I?” said Chris.

“Do I mention this?” I asked.

Will Self had words on yoghurts

Will Self advised on consumer choices, lady boys  & yoghurts

“Yeah, you can now,” said Chris. “He came to see me and wrote me a cracking review and he told me if I wanted a bit of help developing the material… He said he thinks I’m fantastic but that I perform better than my material. He said fucking and having a fight with a lady boy was just another consumer choice; I might as well be talking about yoghurts. It’s a good point. But that show – Sex Tourist – was three years old when he saw it.

“He said: I’m only going to help you if you get clean, because a using addict is useless.”

“So Will Self would help you with the writing?” I asked.

“Yeah. He said he’d help me develop my material.”

“And have you started doing that yet?”

“No. I’m only twelve days clean… I told him I was clean and living in a brothel in Thailand and he said: Good luck!

“Indeed,” I said.

“Listen,” said Chris, “I’ve kinda run out of energy now. I’m going to go upstairs and have some Xanax.”

“What’s Xanax?” I asked.

“It’s a short-acting benzo. It’s a brand name for alprazolam. But, if you really want to know, you can add that to the diazepam, the intravenous Valium… It’s a bit benzo-heavy at the moment.”

“So you’ve stopped taking drugs, then?” I laughed.

“Tablets aren’t drugs,” replied Chris. “They’re medicine. Listen, when you ain’t slept for nine days, you’ve got pins-an-needles all over your body. You can’t walk five metres without your legs caving in. My injecting site is through my groin. I’ve got no veins left anywhere else, so I have to go in that femoral one which is like a hose pipe.

Chris Dangerfield in Thailand yesterday morning

Chris laughed in Thailand yesterday morning

“When I got here, I wasn’t looking at getting clean and I kept buying any old shit and I was banging stuff in there. My calf muscles solidified and I went to the hospital and they said: You’re probably going to lose your legs. If you carry on like this, they’re off! And I quite like my legs.

“Now I can only walk about ten metres before I fall over and shit myself. So I need to go upstairs and lay down for a minute now. This is the longest I’ve spoken to anyone in about a week.”

“Well,” I said. “Keep clean, keep your legs, be creative and come back to work with Will Self.”

Chris laughed.

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