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

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

Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Whitehall Editor: The spurious Tory endorsement that misfired

Oliver Wright
 

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband hasn’t ‘suddenly’ become a robust leader. He always was

Steve Richards
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence