Ethics Debate – Topic 2

Topic 2 is ‘The banning of comedy based on race, sexuality, gender and disability’

Firstly here are some people and programmes that are involved within this topic, be it positively or negatively.

Disability – Cast offs – Channel 4 – Considered to contain dark humour – where six disabled people are ‘stranded on a deserted island’ and left to see how they cope. All of the actors involved are disabled themselves. (http://www.channel4.com/programmes/cast-offs/)

Disability – Frankie Boyle – Tramadol Nights – Made a ‘joke’ about Harvey Price. (http://www.chortle.co.uk/news/2010/12/11/12363/c4_repeats_frankies_harvey_gag)

Race – Come Fly With Me – BBC 1 – (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00trc9v) Matt Lucas and David Walliams have played characters from different ethnic groups for example; Precious Little (http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/comeflywithme/characters_precious.shtml)  and Taaj (http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/comeflywithme/characters_taaj.shtml)   

Race and Gender - Shappi Khorsandi – Stand-up Comedian – she speaks a lot about race and gender, usually without causing offence 

Sexuality – Alan Carr – an openly gay comedian who often makes comments about his sexuality and father’s views on it (‘Look Who it is! Alan Carr – My Story’).

This table shows some possible reasons for and against the ban:

Reasons For the Ban Reasons Against the Ban
Vulnerable people could be made fun and become very distressed that many people find jokes to their expense funny. Sometimes by avoiding jokes about those who are disabled, it may make things feel slightly uncomfortable. For example a disabled comedian may feel that they need to comment on their disability if it can be seen, to break the ice with an audience, in the same way that a larger comedian may feel that they need to comment on their weight before they can perform properly.
In the case of Harvey Price, an eight year old disabled child, he was made fun of as his mother is a celebrity, he was said to be by many, unduly insulted by the comedian, Frankie Boyle, whom by this point was shocking the audience rather than generating humour.  

http://www.disabilitynow.org.uk/latest-news2/old-news/pete-plays-a-comedy-blinder – Peter White, a radio 4 presenter, who has recently tried his hand at stand-up comedy.

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