A very fun story about the lefty metropolitan bubble

Comedians have told how anti-Brexit jokesare killing their careers as audiences outside of London walk out in offence.

A number of comedians have described scripting their take on Britain leaving the European Union for left-wing audiences in London, only to face unamused audiences when they take their acts out to the rest of the country.

“One would have hoped comedians would be able to find comic mileage in their evident disengagement from half of the public, but there instead seems to be little to no such acceptance and analysis of the referendum result, instead merely anger at lashing out at stupid people making the wrong decision, as they see it.

“As far as audience reaction goes, it tends to be fairly warm with television studio audiences as most such recordings take place in the resolutely pro-remain London, but in the rest of the country – England and Wales, at very least – one can only begin to imagine how alienated and offended some audiences must feel.”

If we’ve stopped laughing at the same jokes then we’re not really the same society any more, are we?

40 comments on “A very fun story about the lefty metropolitan bubble

  1. When I mix with those who possess worrying faith in the big state’s ability to solve all problems, incidentally often employed by it with varying degrees of competence, with those whose faith in authority is unshakeable as long as it is part of their narrative, those who place their sort of virtue against practicality, I know I am mixing with alien intelligences. I daresay they find me as strange and deeply heretical to boot. I also don’t think this is new, just the level of segregation.

  2. On the subject of the story- good, I’m glad some insufferable luvvies are finally seeing the light.

    On the story itself- I don’t count Brigstocke and Boyle as comedians, at least not based on the material I’ve seen more recently. They push opinions and mock the other side.

    Lee is different- he appreciates that there’s a craft to comedy, and (just like other arts) there’s rules and structures to it. He uses these well, and he’s very funny. That i don’t agree with him is neither here nor there, he’s still a comedian.

    Lee’s skit on missing out on a BAFTA to Graham Norton is good and shows the difference between what he does (it’s ridiculously well put together) and Brigstocke, who simply bellows opinions at the audience, like an ape with scalded testicles, occasionally throughout in an OTT similie to prod a giggle from the right-minded in the crowd.

    What I want to know is how Brigstocke keeps going- who commissions his shit?

  3. Brigstoke is not a comedian in the first place.

    In the second place that CM stooges aren’t funny anyway is hardly news.

    If they gave a shite about entertaining the audiences who have ill-advisedly paid good money to see them then they should write some pro-Brexit jokes.

    Are you on line this morning TIS?;

    Druncker walked into a bar and said “This reminds me of the EU. It’s filthy, full of hostile strangers and there is lots of money changing hands”

    The barmaid looked up and said “Fuck off you four-eyed bell end”

    Drunker sez “You can’t talk to an EU Grandee that way –even if you are my wife”

  4. We’re witnessing the end times for right-on standup. They used to start from out in front because it was assumed that the establishment was ‘right wing’ and thus you could poke fun at them and life generally as from the perspective of the downtrodden. But it’s blindingly obvious that the establishment is now left wing, and there’s no comedy mileage in siding with the top people against the rest. It will take time to filter through.

    You can’t satirise people or a culture which pretends that it’s impossible to know whether boy is a boy or a girl is a girl, or that it’s not racist to say that black lives matter but it is racist to say that all lives matter, or that it’s fine to make pictures of the Virgin Mary out of elephant shit but horrific and disgusting and racist and insensitive to produce a drawing of Muhammad.

  5. I went to the Edinburgh Fringe in 2008 and went to a morning show with Bridgestock, Jupitas et al.

    They were all for Global Warming (sic) and the EU Consitution (sic). Asked who was against, I put my hand up, to the horror and embarrassment of my son.

    Turns out they hadn’t read the draft constitution at all but shouted me down 4 to 1.

    Smug and ignorant.

  6. A comedian having to tailor their routine to the audience? Like all comedians have done for ages? Like not telling the same profane jokes to a church-going audience that you would to a bunch of urban 20-somethings?

    The horror.

  7. Paraphrasing Viz on the subject of Keith Chegwin, ‘Marcus Brigstocke in no talent shocker’.

  8. It’s the sheer lopsidedness that’s the problem. If you listen to stuff like the “Now Show” it’s just an endless stream of anti Trump anti Brexit anti Tory.

    A good example was a joke about Brexiters being not so keen on parliamentary authority all of a sudden (over the various Brexit court cases). Fair enough, but there’s never the flipside joke. Remainers suddenly being desperately keen on parliamentary authority.

    This kind of comedy is “putting the n into cuts” and “Rees Mogg is an ar**-hole” ; it’s not actually funny. It’s just abuse.

    The real surprise is they are surprised.

  9. “Lee is different- he appreciates that there’s a craft to comedy, and (just like other arts) there’s rules and structures to it. He uses these well, and he’s very funny. That i don’t agree with him is neither here nor there, he’s still a comedian. ”

    Nobody minds having their own political team made fun of ; it’s the one sided barrage that’s the problem. Political humour has in my experience usually avoided trying to push a political point, which is what untalented wasters like Brigstocke do and why he gets gigs (mostly on the BBC). He just gives up trying to be funny and just repeats “x is sh*t” endlessly in various different phrasings, where x is May/Boris/Trump/Brexit etc etc.

    Of course, the likes of Morecambe and Wise never mentioned politics much at all that I can remember ; they probably did when Harold Wilson was a guest, but other than that….

  10. Paul – “Of course, the likes of Morecambe and Wise never mentioned politics much at all that I can remember ; they probably did when Harold Wilson was a guest, but other than that….”

    As Trotsky never quite said, you may not care about the politics of comedy, but the politics of comedy care about you.

    Benny Hill probably thought of himself as apolitical. So did his audience I would expect. But politics has come to him. I doubt that he could be broadcast on mainstream TV now. Could much of Morecambe and Wise?

  11. Brigstock and Mark Thomas – similar to Jeremy Corbyn in so many ways, but lack his talent for comedy.

    Anyway, if describing Brigstock as a comedian isn’t the dictionary definition of “Fake News” then I don’t know what is.

  12. @Andrew K

    Well I never! Didn’t know that.

    I’ve lost count of the times I’ve heard M Brigstocke lay into conservative politicians ‘helping their mates out’. Who’d think he’d accidentally been a hypocrite?

  13. Writing on Facebook, Brigstocke said he did not want to turn his audience off, but said: “for the first time ever on tour I have people walking out every night ‑ not hoards, but some. That’s unsettling.

    “I have never before dealt with a subject as divisive and upsetting (including passionate criticisms of religion etc.). It’s a challenge I would usually enjoy but (perhaps because I’m not doing it well enough) it is proving to be a nightmare.

    The penny starts to drop. He’s getting it, just maybe he’s getting it!

    “It seems that for the most part Brexit is not just the hideous social and political turn we have taken as a country but is also comedic poison.”

    Oh FFS!

  14. @SMFS given a choice between Brigstocke and the other comics – even people like Bernard Manning – I’d go for Manning. If you don’t like him at least he attempts to be funny. Brigstocke et al just abuse people ; like calling Rees-Mogg an “ar–hole”. It might be true, but it’s not humour.

  15. Mr Ecks – Mangetout!

    Interested – You can’t satirise people or a culture which pretends that it’s impossible to know whether boy is a boy or a girl is a girl, or that it’s not racist to say that black lives matter but it is racist to say that all lives matter, or that it’s fine to make pictures of the Virgin Mary out of elephant shit but horrific and disgusting and racist and insensitive to produce a drawing of Muhammad.

    Very much this.

    It’s the greatest crisis in British chuckles since Richard Whiteley went to the great conundrum in the sky.

    It’s become almost impossible to make fun of the Left, because it’s pointless making fun of a clown.

    You can agree and amplify with what you think is amusing hyperbole, as Godfrey Elfwick did with his genius #WrongSkin movement, only to find people like Rachael Dolzeal and Shaun White doing the same damn thing unironically.

    If current trends persist we’re going to have to break out the national stockpile of limericks about a young man from Kent. Or even the joke about a dog with no nose.

  16. Interested: there’s no comedy mileage in siding with the top people against the rest.

    Absolutely, as in “Have I Got news For You”.

    Merton and Hislop consider themselves to be iconoclastic and ‘edgy’ when they are in fact achingly conventional pillars of the ‘Establishment’.

    As for Marcus Prigstocke, here’s a simple rule of thumb: if a ‘comedian’ appears on BBC’s Question Time, he’s not a comedian.

  17. Poor Marcus.

    I suspect his audience is more bored than offended, if only because he’s such a dreary establishment drone.

    Bet he thinks he’s “edgy” though.

  18. When I point out that youthful comedians mocking Trump’s caution when going downstairs is simply ageism, or taking the piss out of old people, I become very unpopular. All the dreadful isms are fine when used against Trump. Hypocritical snowflakes!

  19. ‘Writing on Facebook, Brigstocke said he did not want to turn his audience off, but said: “for the first time ever on tour I have people walking out every night ‑ not hoards, but some. That’s unsettling.

    “I have never before dealt with a subject as divisive and upsetting (including passionate criticisms of religion etc.). ‘

    Passionate criticisms of religion, eh? I wonder which religion. I’m betting Church of England. Maybe a side order of Catholic.

  20. Paul: “If you listen to stuff like the “Now Show” it’s just an endless stream of anti Trump anti Brexit anti Tory.”

    Even before Trump/Brexit it was irritating but you could sometimes put up with it for a decent gag from Mark Thomas or Andy Hamilton. Now it’s impossible: “You know that Donald Trump? He’s stupid and he’s got funny hair!” [Audience laughs.] “And what about Brexit? How thick, old and racist do you have to be to support that?” [Audience dissolves into hysterics.] “But what about the Tories? Scum to a man – or woman!” [Audience dies of laughter.]

  21. A large part of the problem is the existence of the BBC and C4. They pick the sort of comics that go down well at Edinburgh fringe, Perrier winners. Nearly all are cut from the same cloth of being upper-middle class Oxbridge, left-leaning and they dominate the media in this country.

    And worst of all, they think they’re so fucking daring, despite the fact that they’re just walking on territory that Monty Python fought battles over 30 years ago. Where’s the British South Park?

  22. The trick with Brigstocke is to laugh at him, not with him.

    He is incapable of telling a funny joke, far less inventing one, but his head bears an uncanny resemblance to a giant glans penis with glasses on.

  23. @TMB,

    Was there within an hour of arriving in Hamburg. I did the Reeperbahn mainly because of the Beatles connection. I was saddened by how awful the whole thing was- seedy, without the picturesqueness that redeems wanchai or soho.

    I had a mate comment that it’ll all be ruined by gentrification soon.

    I replied that gentrification was a far better alternative then preservation.

  24. Benny Hill probably thought of himself as apolitical. So did his audience I would expect. But politics has come to him. I doubt that he could be broadcast on mainstream TV now. Could much of Morecambe and Wise?

    I expect the scenes where Eric and Ernie are in bed together would go down well 🙂

  25. John Square + 100

    Stewart Lee knows the form. Even if it’s not ones cup of tea, it’s carefully crafted and very knowing. A lot of criticism is levelled because he comes across as smug and aloof. But that happens when someone knows their shit.

    Bridget Christie is his wife.

    Meanwhile, I’ve been listening to the ‘lost Hancock’ stuff on BBC R4.

    But where is the right/libertarian comedians. And no, Roy Brown does not count.

  26. There was also a tradition of Catholic comic writers (Waugh, Beachcomber, Wyndham-Lewis, Belloc, Chesterton etc.) that seems to have died away now.

    They weren’t modern conservatives in the sense that they probably had as much in common with the Greens as with anyone else and they were typically hostile to capitalism. A revival of that tradition would make a welcome change from knee-jerk leftism, though.

  27. meiac,

    My problem with Stewart Lee is the same as my problem with Bill Hicks. It’s undoubtedly clever and well done technically, but it’s just too cynical. It lacks warmth.

  28. @Spiro, yes exactly. I listened to one show round the US election. There was one joke about HRC (about the email server) and at the point I turned off 14 on Trump, mostly along those lines “Isn’t Trump a c**t ?”

    I’m amazed at the double standards ; like the C4 DramaDoc about UKIP. This was acceptable ; where was the programme suggesting Ed Milliband would set up gulags across Lancashire or that David Cameron would invade Poland ? Or the extraordinary “Farage sitcom”.

  29. @meiac, BiW

    I’d agree with the point about Lee coming off as cynical. ‘Pon occasion I’ve found him less engaging because of that.

    The effect is sometimes to leave me going ‘ooh, that’s very clever’ rather than ‘that’s funny’. But he wouldn’t be the first comedian to leave me thinking they were a smartarse rather than comedically gifted.

    On the topic of Hicks- he is another confrontational comic. He gets away with it better than Brigstocke/Boyle I think because he had a sharper sense of the absurd, and his polemics are genuinely great. He links disparate elements better than either of those two (but, why are we surprised? Hicks was a one off, albeit in the style of Bruce or Pryor: Brigstocke is a mouthy public schoolboy).

    Going back to warmth- I think we’ve lost it since alternative comedy came along- earlier comics had to be liked by the audience: confrontation would have seen riots. You couldn’t have had Lenny Bruce doing the same circuit as Cooper et al. The difference between the early days of the Alternatives and now is that confrontation was part of the act, and leavened with other ingredients- think Dangerous Brothers, and their hideocomic ramblings; Alexi Sayle’s knowingly OTT schtick.

    Yer Boyles are all just confrontation. It’s OK for what it is, but it needs contrast- otherwise it’s just noise. That contrast ain’t in it, most of the time, and as a result its monotonous, and worse, it becomes a race to see who can be most offensive. But only about prescribed targets.

    Which makes it dishonest, as well as boring

  30. Lee and Hicks have both been ruined for me by the sort of people who appear to believe they are wise political philosophers rather than stand-ups.

    The number of times I’ve seen some semi-educated bore post Lee’s rant about political correctness as if it were a particularly good bit from Edward Coke.

    Frankie Boyle seems to have been forgiven his joke about disabled people once he revealed his far-left opinions. Funny that.

  31. The difference between Lee and Hick is that if Hick’s had lived to see the anti-smoking 5 a day do as we tell you for your own good crowd he’d have been reaming them a new one. Lee, he’s a part of that crowd………….

    I had hopes for Jim Jeffries, but his political stuff is as weak and predictably boring Lefty as his non-political is edgy and out there.

  32. Is not comedy now a form of political instruction.
    You are told who you may laugh at. So that later you wont say the wrong thing and get punished.

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