Comedy is a strange thing. I remember the 1960s….Arthur Askey, Tommy Trinder and Ted Ray. I remember the 1970s and the racist/sexist “humour” of Bernard Manning, George Roper and Stan Boardman. I remember the 1980s and the alternative comedy of Ben Elton, Harry Enfield and Alexei Sayle. I remember in the 1990s that the comedy of Rob Newman, David Baddiel and Frank Skinner was heralded as the new “rock and roll”.
The 21st Century Comedians….Frankie Boyle, Sean Lock and Jimmy Carr are a curious throwback to the politically incorrect humour of the 1970s.
It is….we are told….about Irony. We must not confuse Al Murray with the Pub Landlord…his xenophobic, homophobic alter ego. Yet the suspicion remains that the audiences who watch Murray are seeing the joke on two levels. The Pub Landlord says things that the Audience would like to say…..so they laugh or post on Twitter. Jimmy Carr says offensive things in his routine and mocks the audience for the guilty laugh.
We make the mistake of thinking that Comedians are……liberal lefties. But it strikes me that todays generation of comedians are as right wing as Askey, Trinder, Ray, Manning, Roper and Boardman. So a fortnight ago Jimmy Carr is hosting the Jubilee Concert for Mrs Windsor at Buckingham Palace. A curious journey from Channel Four to the Establishment.
As a comedian….Jimmy Carr is no Ken Dodd (see what I did there?) . Maybe Laughter is enough. Maybe what passes for humour in a ladies sewing circle is different from what passes for humour in a military barracks. Maybe the art of the stand-up comedian is about delivery….professionalism as much as the joke itself. And what exactly is a joke anyway. Two contrasting ideas coming together in one sentence.
Yet Jimmy Carr is no Ken Dodd……so talking about the Inland Revenue.…(see what I did there?)…..Jimmy Carr has an interesting relationship with the Tax Man.
He is “employed” by a firm in Jersey, the off-shore tax haven. They earn £3 million from Carrs work but “pay” their employee £100,000 on which he pays tax. The rest of the £3 million (untaxed) finds its way to Carr thru loans which do not have to be re-paid. Tax Avoidance is of course not a crime.
Yet I think many of the people in the Carr audience might not be appreciative of his use of tax law. Or maybe they would. Becauseit would be a mistake to think that 21st century audiences at comedy shows are …liberal lefties.
Yet Jimmy Carr hosts a successful Channel Four programme……the panel show “Eight Out Of Ten Cats”. My impression is that ….Eight out of ten cats would like Jimmy Carr to be paying a lot more tax.