Brendon Burns: Gervais <i>can</i> be forgiven for what he said

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For some reason people think they have the right not to be offended, which is an incredibly self-absorbed stance. When one person is horrified by a joke, another person is laughing their arse off. And the person laughing their arse off would never tell the horrified person they're not entitled to their reaction.

Ricky Gervais is possibly one of the most known comics in the world. People who follow him on Twitter or go to his shows know what they are getting. He hasn't marketed himself as anything he isn't. He's not doing guerilla comedy and sneaking up on Catholic mothers.

I've heard the defence that a young impressionable child might turn around and pass on an offensive joke to another young impressionable child. But that's what people said when they started burning books.

Britain still has a fantastic comedy scene but as I travel around the world doing stand-up I notice that comedy here is becoming sanitised.

I blame business and money, which is what messes up any art, but the price of a big, rich scene has to be hearing stuff you don't like.

The writer is an Australian comedian and columnist