Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's Not Comedy If Nobody's Offended

On Twitter, ABC boss Mark Scott points out this piece published at the National Times on how TV comedy is being killed by committees and the easily offended. Excerpts :

....the BBC has decreed that its comedies are not to be ''unduly intimidatory, humiliating, intrusive, aggressive or derogatory''. John Howard Davies, who used to run BBC comedy, pointed out that this is the sort of absurdity that happens when a committee decides guidelines. An individual exercising editorial judgment is far preferable, especially if that individual has been chosen because of his or her connection with the real world, and what makes people laugh in it.

I have occasionally thought that I used to find programs put out by the BBC funny because I was so much younger when I saw them. However, watching re-runs of old comedy programs, I realise I was wrong: they were, plainly and simply, very funny. The famous Fawlty Towers episode in which Basil insults the Germans fails every one of the new guidelines. It is racist, intimidating, humiliating, mocks Spaniards, Germans, and the mentally ill, and commits other offences too numerous to mention. It is also dementedly funny, even after repeated viewings over 30 years.

After 70 or so years of influencing and shaping the definition of the national sense of humour, the BBC now seems to have forfeited its ability to do that.

I don't know what, indeed, there will be left for us to chortle at.

It makes me realise that my wife is right when she says that once you get past the age of 40, there isn't really anything on the BBC for you. Except Gardeners' World, of course: and we should make the most of that until someone realises how much it discriminates against those who don't have gardens, and who might feel humiliated by the lack of one.

The push for more censorship of Australian comedy and satire does not appear to be coming from the public, but from groups concerned with garnering publicity and profile and tabloid media looking for easy, cheap content to fulfill it's weekly clickbait 'Moral Panic! quota.

Why ABC Boss Mark Scott Should Tell The Daily Telegraph To Get Fucked