Saturday, 1 September 2012

Britain's Most Cowardly Comedian?

Frankie Boyle has been pilloried, misrepresented and demonised. And for what?
For telling it like it is.
These are the words that greeted me when I visited Frankie Boyle's website this morning.
From this I could be forgiven for thinking Frankie Boyle is incredibly brave to keep being honest in the face of such hostility.
But I would be wrong.
If Frankie Boyle were brave he'd be honest about how he makes his living. He'd state quite unapologetically that, yes, he is offensive but that he has every right to be and make his living from it, if he so wishes (which he clearly does).
That is the position a braver comedian, Rowan Atkinson, has taken. Rowan Atkinson has stated quite unapologetically that he thinks it is wrong for comedy to have boundaries and standards of taste and has defended that position eloquently.
Frankie Boyle does not. Frankie Boyle lies, squirms and wriggles his way out of trouble.
For example, when questioned about his Tweets poking fun at paralympic athletes he stated that his jokes were "celebratory" and that he was "laughing with the disabled" not at them.
It is this type of refusal to accept responsibility for his actions, despite numerous opportunities of his own making to do so, that marks Frankie Boyle out as a coward.
What is more, far from being a victim, Frankie Boyle is a bully; for Frankie Boyle constantly tries to take away our right to be offended.
Where Rowan Atkinson states that, 'yes, some comedy is offensive but that shouldn't stop us from telling offensive jokes', Frankie Boyle repeatedly states that he was not offensive and thus we have no right to be offended.
However, Frankie Boyle, has absolutely no right to decide what anyone else finds offensive.
The job of a comedian is to tell jokes - it is the job of the recipients of those jokes to decide whether they're funny or not.
Frankie Boyle clearly wants to do both.
And that, incidentally, is why I do not find him funny - because I'm not allowed to. Any time I care to take my seat in his audience, I find Frankie Boyle already sitting in it!