If you don't like offensive comedians like Frankie Boyle, why are you repeating their jokes?

Some comedians make a living being offensive. If people really found their jokes so awful, surely they wouldn't want them shared any further?

Share
Related Topics

I don’t take issue with what Frankie Boyle said on his axed slice of Russell Brand’s Give It Up For Comic Relief – why?

Because, as he so rightly stated in between two undeniably offensive jokes, “jokes aren’t even positions on something – a joke is a proposition.” And in case you’re wondering, that’s a direct quote – but there’s a good chance that all the other quotes you read from Boyle’s short routine were either incorrectly edited, censored or just plain wrong. That’s what I take issue with.

First and foremost, The Daily Mirror reported that the “sick” Mr Boyle said of the Queen: “They would have had to hollow out her body into a suit and fill it with helium.” Offensive, indeed! Yet apparently the journalist writing the story wasn’t really at the gig, because what Boyle actually said was that, regarding the Pope (and not the Queen): “they should have just filled his hat with helium so that he stands up straight.”

Meanwhile, it was incorrectly reported several times that Frankie Boyle was booed en masse by 12,500 people (I counted two and a half), but several publications irritatingly opted to omit words from Boyle’s quotes. For example, The Daily Express reported Boyle as saying about Kate Middleton: “I can't believe she is pregnant to be honest, because she told me she was on the pill.” Offensive? Neither here nor there. But what Boyle actually said was: “I can't believe she is pregnant to be honest, because she told me she was on the fucking pill.” Ten points if you can spot the word that went missing.

Perhaps it is to protect readers from the ‘awful’ potty mouth of Frankie Boyle. Yet choosing not to say an offensive word is only offensive to the maturity of one’s audience.

That said, the most perplexing aspect of the aforementioned coverage of Frankie Boyle’s axed sketch wasn’t even the censorship or inaccuracies – but the hypocrisy involved.

Misquotes aside, it’s fair to say that everyone reporting on Boyle’s ‘offensive’ jokes seemed to agree on one thing: that the BBC was right to axe him from their programme, as the comedian’s words were so awful they didn’t deserve to be repeated on air. So what did these papers do instead? Repeat them in print. Some even went above and beyond the call of duty by posting videos of other offensive Boyle routines, or supplementing them with screenshots of angry Tweets. This strikes me as odd – after all, if Frankie Boyle is so sick, why repeat his words for all to hear? Doesn’t that just give him the sort of PR that only imprudently perpetuates his popularity?

Frankie Boyle hasn’t been the only recent target of this hypocritical and sensationalist method of reporting. Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane sparked similar controversy last month after hosting an Oscars ceremony that many publications condemned as “juvenile”, “disgusting” and “sexist”. Why the uproar? There’s a good chance that jokes about Chris Brown beating Rihanna, Zero Dark Thirty being “a celebration of every woman's innate ability to never ever let anything go” and a particularly evocative singing number – entitled “we saw your boobs” – had something to do with it.

Yet again, one can’t help but wonder: if Seth MacFarlane’s jokes were so offensive, why transcribe them for the whole web to see? These foolish attempts to publicly shame comedians are self-defeating at best. Last week, one writer for The Telegraph called for a public boycott of Frankie Boyle, and I’ll bet Boyle was over the moon about it – after all, a comedian who’s made his name being rude can’t buy that kind of PR!

No one can argue that comics like Seth MacFarlane and Frankie Boyle are offensive. That’s their comedic niche, and it’s a very acquired taste – and one I’ll neither condone nor condemn. Yet what I do condemn is when the press truly disdain someone so much that they’re willing to publish lazily written stories about them that are filled with faulty facts and misquotes - which only further a comedian's cause by repeating their jokes. After all, if you want a comedian to disappear, shouldn’t you just stop talking about them?

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Mobile Developer (.NET / C# / Jason / Jquery / SOA)

£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...

Humanities Teacher - Greater Manchester

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...

Design Technology Teacher

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...

Foundation Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Critics of Fiona Woolf say she should step down amid accusations of an establishment cover-up  

Fiona Woolf resignation: As soon as she became the story, she had to leave

James Ashton
 

Letters: Electorate should be given choice on drugs policy

Independent Voices
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes