Tag Archives: speech

What the c*** word meant when the Daily Mail reported a comedy court case

Guy Earle: a scary homophobic monster?

Yesterday afternoon, comedian Guy Earle contacted me from Canada to correct my blog of yesterday morning.

My blog had been about a case in which Guy was accused of  making comments during a comedy show in which he was said to have attacked an audience member’s “identity and dignity as a woman and a lesbian”. His defence was: “I don’t hate anyone based on their sexual orientation… But I do hate hecklers, and sometimes I get a little vehement.”

Yesterday, he told me: “I have been misquoted more than Churchill.

“You put in your blog that I said to her: You’re fat and ugly. You’re not even lesbian. No guy will fuck ya! That’s why you’re with each other. Somebody put a cunt in her mouth and shut her the fuck up. Which one of you wears the strap-on dildo? Because silicone cunt crazy is still cunt crazy in my book.”

I told him I had picked up this quote from a 2011 article in the Daily Mail which used asterisks for the four-letter words.

“C***” is ‘cock’ not ‘cunt’,” he explained. “I actually NEVER called them the C word – Quoted that I did, it makes me real unlovable by about 51% of the world’s population.

“I did use the C word once, however, on stage that night. It was when (some of) the dumbass Vancouver amateur comics groaned when I stuffed it to the hecklers…

“I was like: Oh, you cunts, shut the fuck up!… Do you even know what stand-up is? I provide a stage for you and you groan at me when I’m dealing with an unruly heckler when you should be going over to their table and asking them to shut the fuck up or get the fuck out? WTF!!!”

He told me the exchange with audience member Lorna Pardy who, he says was heckling him, actually went like this:

Lorna PardyHey Asshole, you’re not funny!

Guy Earle – Oh? I’m not funny?… Well, guess what? You’re not a lesbian, you’re just fat and ugly and nobody will fuck you… Somebody put a cock in her mouth and shut her the fuck up… and – while we’re on the subject – I’ve actually never had the opportunity to use these jokes – but since I got ya in front of me, can you answer the question: ‘When you’re both on the rag – how do you choose which one gets to go on the fishing trip?’

Lorna Pardy – ‘Blah blah blah’ wish your mother aborted you, etc.

Guy Earle – You say you’re lesbian but you still wear a strap-on, right? Which one of you wears the strap-on? ‘Cause silicone cock-crazy is still cock crazy, in my books…

Lorna Pardy – ‘Blah blah blah’ I’d like to break this beer bottle and jam it in his neck, etc…

“I mean,” he told me in an e-mail yesterday, “you have to at least get my jokes right. You see, all the quotes (as included in yesterday’s blog) – when you look at them – don’t even make sense as JOKES.

“I HATE defending myself and correcting my quotes.

“In the freedom of speech/rights perspective – I should NEVER have to defend myself and I abhor it BUT when people are misquoting my JOKES it is a double-edged sword in the side.

“People misquote me to make me the monster – I am the fricking victim here.

“I’ve been five years without work, can’t get a gig as a liability, can’t get my book published due to ‘perceived homophobic undertones’, lost my will to stand up, lost my future (temporarily – as a film maker) and await sweet vindication for a ‘crime’ I didn’t commit – all because some half-drunk asshole in dyke’s clothing tried to make a cash-grab. The biggest joke of all is: I don’t have a pot to spit in.”

“Maybe the best way to look on it,” I suggested, “is that all publicity is added profile for you.”

“The publicity has been unfavourable,” he told me, “and I have been repeatedly used in the media for some political mandates that have no bearing on the actual issue. For example, there was big media on me the week before they elected Steven Harper – big conservative – right wing – down with the Human Rights Code kinda politics.

“Then I was dropped like hot shit when I started focusing on the problems with the country. The country remains ignorant and I remain notorious, at best, but perceived as some homophobic hack – which, again, isn’t surprising given what people write about me.

“So, ironically, I become famous but as a pariah. Publicity CAN be bad – Don’t let the cliché fool ya.”

I told Guy I would probably blog about his responses today.

“Do you have a recent, non-copyright photo of yourself?” I asked .

Guy got a Golden Shaft Award + a large cheque

“I don’t really have too much recent stuff,” he replied. “But I like the short hair ones where I’m all slicked-back hair. Go ahead and use that – It makes me look like the scary homophobic monster (and mysterious). Or how about me dressed up as Jesus on my MySpace page? No? How about me surrounded by naked painted chicks during my winning of the Golden Shaft award? I can’t write this shit – It’s my fucked-up life!”

Guy was born in Guildford, England, though he now lives in Canada. He told me yesterday:

“I hope, someday, to come to the UK to do comedy. Actually, it’s a childhood dream. I have this notion that I would be welcomed by ‘my people’ and this romantic idea that the UK is where I was ‘meant’ to ‘make it’. Where are you from?”

“Scotland,” I replied. “Campbeltown and Aberdeen, but then Ilford in Essex and now Borehamwood in Hertfordshire.”

“North Americans are so bloody sensitive to sarcasm, it’s ridiculous,” he told me. “Something that I love about the Scottish – Their attitude is of blunt-honesty and, if you step out of line, you get snarked… People here don’t always get that – they’re too fucking serious all the time and taking themselves too seriously.

“My mom taught me to poke fun at things starting with MYSELF – after that, everybody else is fair game.”

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Filed under Canada, Comedy, Gay, Legal system, Sex

Canadian comedy chaos. Loud lesbian heckler? Or irate picked-upon punter?

Canadian comedian Guy Earle just hates hecklers… quite a lot

This may be the 21st century, but news can still travel slowly from the American Colonies to Britain.

The So It Goes blog’s Vancouver-based correspondent Anna Smith has drawn my attention to something which started back in 2007.

It happened when English-born comedian Guy Earle was hosting an Open Mic comedy evening at Zesty’s club in a restaurant in Vancouver. He felt that a lady called Lorna Pardy and a group of friends were disrupting his show. He responded, according to Canada’s gay and lesbian news magazine Xtra!, “by letting loose with what he no doubt considered to be some clever putdowns on the topic of their apparent lesbianism.”

And ended up in court.

Lorna Pardy said she was in the process of placing a drinks order with two waitresses when her girlfriend kissed her on the cheek and that Earle then said: “Don’t mind the inconsiderate dyke table that just walked in.”

She claimed she did not know a comedy show was going on and denied Earle’s claim that the table was heckling him, saying: “It’s just not the way I conduct myself in public”.

According to Earle’s version of events: “These two lovely guests came in from the patio and sat right in front of the stage and started making out, like tongue and tonsil wrestling. I didn’t care if it was two guys, two girls, a horse and buggy, you know? Whatever. I don’t hate anyone based on their sexual orientation or whatever. But I do hate hecklers, and sometimes I get a little vehement.”

He claimed the women ignored his “request” to be quiet and told him Fuck you asshole! and Shut up! He said they insinuated he had singled them out for being lesbians: “So then I broke into it. I said You’re fat and ugly. You’re not even lesbian. No guy will fuck ya! That’s why you’re with each other. Somebody put a cunt in her mouth and shut her the fuck up. Which one of you wears the strap-on dildo? Because silicone cunt crazy is still cunt crazy in my book.”

He said people then started booing him and walking out. When he walked by Ms Pardy’s table and stopped to look at her, she threw a glass of water in his face.

Another comic then performed on stage after which, as MC, Earle went back to the microphone and briefly closed the evening. Lorna Pardy’s version is that, when he returned to the stage, he “continued to mock and humiliate” her.

Earle – clearly not a wise man at this point – says he then walked by Ms Pardy’s table again, at which point she allegedly threw more water at him. He reportedly claimed she “got up and faced him, puffing her chest out.”

‘I lost it for two seconds,” Earle admitted afterwards. “This is the part that I publicly apologize for.”

He snatched her sunglasses off her head and broke them in half, he admitted, “like a little baby dumb.”

In court, Lorna Pardy’s lawyer’s version of this was: “When Ms Pardy later went to the washroom to compose herself, Mr. Earle cornered her on her return, continuing to physically intimidate and verbally abuse her. He grabbed and broke her sunglasses, and dropped them to the floor at her feet.”

Ms Pardy works as an airport weather technician and said she had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress as a result of the evening. She complained to British Columbia’s Human Rights Tribunal. Her lawyers invoked Section 8 of British Columbia’s Human Rights Code, which forbids anyone to “discriminate against a person or class of persons regarding any accommodation, service or facility customarily available to the public.”

Earle was quoted as saying: “They pissed me off so I said some rude things. Does that mean I should go to court? If you’re an asshole, should you be arrested?”

He could not afford the airfare to attend the court and the presiding judge ruled he could not participate by any electronic means. Earle’s lawyer sought a Supreme Court ruling that the tribunal had no authority to rule on the case and the Supreme Court directed that the tribunal should not proceed “until the jurisdictional issue had been resolved”. But the tribunal went ahead anyway.

In May 2011, it ruled in favour of Lorna Pardy, awarded her $15,000 to be paid by Earle for “injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect” and $7,500 to be paid by Zesty’s club owner Salam Ishmail. It also reportedly banned Earle from performing in British Columbia.

Tribunal member Murray Geiger-Adams said Earle repeated vulgar language in public and attacked Pardy’s “identity and dignity as a woman and a lesbian”. Earle’s lawyer argued that his client’s speech should be protected under “freedom of expression”.

The court ruling was:

“Mr Earle submitted that it was his job to engage disruptive patrons to quiet them. However, the Tribunal found no evidence of any rational connection between this and attacking a patron’s sex or sexual orientation on or off the stage… There were measures available to accomplish the purpose of ending any disruption of the show well short of attacking Ms Pardy’s sex and sexual orientation.

“None of the witnesses testified that Mr. Earle was telling ‘jokes’ and there was no evidence that he was using comedy to expose the stereotypes of others.

‘The discrimination had a significant physical and psychological effect on Ms Pardy, which was supported by unchallenged medical evidence. This was aggravated and prolonged by public statements made by Mr. Earle about her, which falsely portrayed her as a drunken heckler and instigator.”

Guy Earle’s reaction was: “I’m shaking over here… What a bloody joke. $15,000 for being misquoted and I NEVER thought I would have to correct/defend my words in a free country!”

In July this year, Earle’s lawyer brought the case back to British Columbia’s Supreme Court for “judicial review” on the basis (among other things) that Earle had been accused of breaking Section 8 of the Human Rights Code, which forbids anyone to “discriminate against a person or class of persons regarding any accommodation, service or facility customarily available to the public,” but that a comedian’s performance is not the “provision of a service” but an artistic expression.

There has been no decision yet.

(Guy Earle contacted me and corrected some mis-quotes in this blog HERE.)

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Filed under Canada, Comedy, Gay, Legal system, Sex

A tip for comedians: the TV technique Tony Benn learned from Adolf Hitler

A friend drew my attention to a piece about Twitter in a three-year-old edition of Psychology Today which says:

“I used to design videogames, so I’m pretty good at tuning gameplay ‘action’… Twitter is definitely designed to encourage addictive usage. When I designed games, we would measure eyeblink rates to see if the player was entering a state of “flow” during gameplay. If the blink rate dropped precipitously after a few minutes of play, the game would most likely be a hit. And if you test a heavy Twitter user in the same way, I’ll bet that a similar thing is happening – a drop in the blink rate, some pupil dilation, and a surge in neuro-adrenaline.”

I take this to mean that the less someone blinks, the more interested they are and the more mesmeric the video game has become.

Somewhere-or-other in the long centuries-gone-by, I read two stories about highly self-obsessed politician Tony ‘name-shrinker’ Benn. Or ‘Mr Benn’ as I like to call him (after the TV cartoon fantasist).

One fact I read about him (the self-obsessed politician) was that, if he drank as much tea as he said he did, he would be dead.

The other was that he had modelled his TV style on Adolf Hitler.

Adolf Hitler, allegedly, would never blink when he was being filmed making speeches. If he needed to blink, he would turn his head slightly away from the camera, do the blink and then turn back. This gave him a more self-assured, stronger image and, it was felt, gave his speeches a more mesmeric, can’t-stop-watching quality.

Mr Benn (the politician) on television apparently copied Herr Hitler on film.

I have no idea if that is true about Hitler or about Benn, but it would make a lot of sense. And it might be something other performers interested in techniques of persuasion should think about.

Especially dodgy politicians and comedians.

Of course, one potential downside is it might also make you look mad…


Filed under Politics, Psychology