The Cowards of Comedy

One shouldn’t be shocked when a comedian shows themself to be a morally weak and cowardly individual in the hope that it will sell books, fill gigs, or retain their position in whatever panel show circuit they’re on.

When Matt Lucas, former star of Little Britain, went on Twitter last week to attack the LGB Alliance, it came as no surprise. Though his brass neck was impressive.

Little Britain was a BBC comedy sketch show from the noughties. Its best-known characters were a lazy and duplicitous man who lied about being disabled, and two men who dressed up as caricatures of women and would constantly exclaim to people, “We’re ladies!” before ultimately reverting to their male self. Lucas also ‘blacked up’ just ten years ago for another show, Come Fly With Me (pictured below).

The LGB Alliance on the other hand, is an organisation set up to advance the interests of lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals, and same sex attracted people, but according to Lucas is, “an anti-trans group” and that it “doesn’t represent me or any gay people I care to know”.

The craven and baseless claim has been seen by many as yet another man leaping feet first into a battle for women’s rights, with apparently little idea of the arguments, what’s at stake, or the consequences, and then bravely running away with his fingers in his ears.

Like some other comics, he seems to be simply hedging his bets because he has a new show coming out and would like us all to forget his previous transgressions.

He joins a gang of male comics gaslighting women over the topic of ‘trans rights’. Robin Ince and Frankie Boyle have also felt inclined to tell women how to feel about their own spaces, their sex, and their rights. All the time happily responding to anonymous profiles who agree with them, yet refusing to engage with women who are established voices, professionals, or actively involved in championing women’s rights.

There seems little point in positing an explanation for this, we all know why they do it, and one suspects so do they.

To use one of their tricks and generalise, comedians like actors are often that perfect storm of a narcissist with wild insecurities, who chooses a line of work that will amplify those aspects of their personality.

It’s been quite a week for women. The horrifying murder of Sarah Everard by policeman Wayne Couzins reached sentencing, with a Police Complaints Commissioner seeming to at least partially blame her for submitting to the ‘arrest’.

Meanwhile, the UK Labour Party took another run at electoral suicide by sending out (mostly male) MPs to state that it was wrong to say only women have a cervix. Then shadow justice secretary David Lammy MP (pictured below) even appeared to suggest women who wanted to discuss the issues around identity were ‘dinosaurs’ and ‘hoarding’ their rights.

It seems that many of those in ‘the arts’ are happy to walk hand in hand with the increasingly deranged and unelectable political party.

There’s more integrity in the Taliban’s department for education than comedy, so we shouldn’t be too surprised when these invertebrates behave in such a manner.

Comedy is hardly teeming with solidarity either, and for many comics their idea of commitment to a cause is spewing out reheated student union vapidities to massage their flimsy little egos or secure more TV money.

All this happens in what, in many women’s experience, is one of the most sexist industries that exist. Like the music industry, comedy didn’t have a #MeToo moment. Yet for years, despite its progressive pretence, it has been a place that is hardly female friendly. A quick scan of various threads, and conversations with female comedians will unearth what a vile and backward business it can be.

Yet Twitter allows male comics to play at being their version of Bill Hicks or George Carlin for an hour. They can trot out some ill-conceived, box-ticking platitudes for the likes, and then hop back on stage or book tour without a care in the world.

To paraphrase a famous female writer, scratch a comic, find a sexist.

Tom James

Your Children Are Boring by Tom James is published by Sauce Materials and available here in every format, worldwide.

Tom James on Twitter




Another man with opinions. Hooray! Author of the book Your Children Are Boring or How Modern Parents Ruin Everything.

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Tom James

Tom James

Another man with opinions. Hooray! Author of the book Your Children Are Boring or How Modern Parents Ruin Everything.

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