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Old 02-05-2022, 03:41 PM
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Default Cancelling Jimmy Carr

I brought up Jimmy Carr's laugh when playing cards with my family last night, and because a couple of my siblings hadn't heard of him I did a quick Google on my phone to find a recording to play for them. I was able to do that and a good laugh was had by all, but I simultaneously discovered that he was trending for alleged "hate speech" in his most recent comedy special on Netflix, "Jimmy Carr: His Dark Material".

I didn't know he had a new special but after reading a LOT of criticism and seeing the same clip over and over a million times, I decided to post my thoughts about it here. In order to do so I wanted to reproduce the joke in full (and in context) but of course every video clip or description I could find stopped short of providing either of those things. So, for science, I watched the special.

I have seen a lot of Jimmy Carr because I was thoroughly addicted to 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown for quite a few seasons, and I think he is a brilliant comedian. Unlike many comedians, he almost exclusively tells jokes. Mostly one-liners, puns, or very short anecdotes usually pulled from audience interaction, gleaned from previous audience interactions, or (probably) completely fictional. I think his word play is almost always very clever and his timing is impeccable. I know he does a lot of charity gigs and my sense is that he does not believe any of the horrible things he pretends to believe in the context of his jokes.

That being said I think it's possible that jokes at the expensive of marginalized communities contribute to the marginalization of those communities and that is a completely fair criticism of comedians who do that. I am not a sociologist or cultural anthropologist or any other 'ologist' who might be able to contribute to the analysis in an intelligent way, and I am not (unlike my younger self) a free-speech absolutist. So maybe there should be a law against such jokes. :shrug:

Anyway, if you want to judge for yourself I recommend watching the video on Netflix. If you don't want to watch the whole video just watch the last ~6 minutes because that's when the joke under fire took place. It was the second to last joke and as you'll see from the text he was keenly aware of the controversy that would ensue and the possibility of his being cancelled over it.

I will note that before this joke, Carr told jokes that targeted and/or referenced anti-vaxxers, overweight people, vegans, little people, women, racists, "gingers", Catholic priests, disabled people, Boy Scouts, child abduction, abortion, rape, and Muslim people (among many others). Yet for whatever reason the following is the only joke that has a huge population up in arms over this particular special.

Quote:
Originally Posted by "Jimmy Carr: His Dark Materials", transcribed by me

Right. This should be a career-ender. Strap in. You ready?

When people talk about the Holocaust... {nods conspiratorially at audience as they laugh}

{most of the clips I've seen start here}

When people talk about the Holocaust, they talk about the tragedy and the horror of 6 million Jewish lives being lost to the Nazi war machine. But they never mention the thousands of Gypsies that were killed by the Nazis, no one ever wants to talk about that. Because no one ever wants to talk...about the positives.

{audience laughter -- this is where most clips I've seen stop}

That's a very good joke for the following three reasons:

Firstly, fucking funny. Well done me.

Secondly edgy, edgy as all hell. It's a joke about the worst thing that's ever happened in human history, and people say "Never forget"? Well this is how I remember; I keep bringing it up.

Third reason that's a good joke is that there is an educational quality. Like everyone in the room knows 6 million Jewish people lost their lives to the Nazis during World War II. But a lot of people don't know, because it's not really taught in our schools, that the Nazis also killed, in their thousands, Gypsies, homosexuals, disabled people, and Jehovah's Witnesses. No one knows what happened with the Jehovah's Witnesses. You'd have to assume some Jehovah's Witnesses came a'knockin on the gates of a death camp...

{he goes on to expand on the JW aspect of the joke then concludes}
To be clear I'm not defending Jimmy Carr or offensive jokes. I think it's entirely plausible that both make the world a worse place on whole. Still, this compilation clip pretty accurately reflects my own thoughts:

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  #2  
Old 02-05-2022, 07:21 PM
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Default Re: Cancelling Jimmy Carr

I'm assuming Carr used "Gypsies" because his audience wouldn't get the joke if he didn't?

It's in poor taste, but I think I'd have to hear it to know if it's actually funny.
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Old 02-05-2022, 07:44 PM
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Default Re: Cancelling Jimmy Carr

I don't want to get too involved in this discussion, but to add a bit of UK context: "gypsies" in the UK sense are not the same as in the US sense. In the US the word would refer to Romani (probably), whereas in the UK the term can refer to that people (like "gypsy jazz") but in daily use ("some gypsies have arrived in town") nearly always refers to "traveller" communities, which have some confusing relationship to Irish travellers I don't fully understand (sometimes it's the same, sometimes it seems unrelated).

There is a great deal of prejudice in the UK against those "gypsy" travellers, because most people's interaction with them is having them set up shop in a car park or local playing field (illegally), upset a lot of people, and then eventually move-on, leaving behind an extensive clean-up operation for the local council.

(I'm being careful to not say most travellers are like this, etc. because I really don't know. But I am pretty confident most people only interact with them in this way. And even the most inclusive people I know in the UK sort of bury the faces in their hands when this discussion is raised.)


Anyway, just to clarify UK words and add some context.
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Last edited by Dragar; 02-05-2022 at 07:55 PM.
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Old 02-05-2022, 10:23 PM
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Default Re: Cancelling Jimmy Carr

huh most recent Netflix special you say. Amazing how these ridiculous CANCEL CULTURE narratives auto-generate around Netflix comedy specials and the result is enormous amounts of social media discussion about the Netflix special, consisting largely of people talking about how you really have to watch the Netflix special and make the call? Like didn't Dave Chappelle do exactly the same thing and rode the coverage of the "controversy" for weeks? Coincidence probably.
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Old 02-05-2022, 10:49 PM
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Default Re: Cancelling Jimmy Carr

Indeed, it’s like how I don’t own a TV or watch US sketch comedy and yet somehow I often know what happened on Saturday Night Live because one or more news sources seems to think recapping the show is somehow headline news.

I want to look into exactly who is cancelling him because it does sound suspicious. Jimmy Carr is known for pushing the line, and generally not in the douchey “I’m just saying what we’re all thinking” kind of way but a more straight forward he will keep saying more and more offensive things until the audience starts to turn to figure out where the line is for that audience, as a lot of his comedy is a back and forth and what people find funny is as interesting to him as the actual jokes.

(Not that that removes offense or gets him off free, but it does make taking what he says literally a lot harder).
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Old 02-06-2022, 02:18 PM
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Default Re: Cancelling Jimmy Carr

I think I Googled "jimmy carr laugh" and one of the top results was about the controversy, so I went to Twitter and searched "jimmy carr" and skimmed a couple hundred of the top results. I'd say there was actually a pretty even split between people posting shocked and offended responses to a clip of his gypsy joke, and people reveling in a clip of his anti-anti-vaxxer jokes. I saw no comments about the 50 minutes in between those two jokes.
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Old 02-07-2022, 01:50 AM
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Default Re: Cancelling Jimmy Carr

Rather than the racism thrad, this applies here as to a prevalent English attitude to the butts of Carr’s joke:



I admit to having enjoyed much of Carr’s work, enough to be interested in seeing how he evolves, or fails to evolve, from here.
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Old 02-07-2022, 01:26 PM
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Default Re: Cancelling Jimmy Carr

I wonder why we don't have traveller communities in the US. Every major city has a large homeless population, but as far as I know they don't move around much.

Also, were Brad Pitt and his family 'travellers' in the movie Snatch? I love that movie.
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Old 02-07-2022, 02:48 PM
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Default Re: Cancelling Jimmy Carr

Response of the UK government: we require more powers to police what streaming services carry.

Jimmy Carr’s joke about Roma people ‘deeply disturbing’, says No 10 | Sajid Javid | The Guardian

while also
Quote:
to effectively criminalise Traveller communities in a section of the new policing bill that would make living on land without the permission of its owner a criminal offence, and would allow police to seize vehicles.
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Old 02-07-2022, 04:09 PM
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Default Re: Cancelling Jimmy Carr

Interesting, while I don’t take Jimmy literally, they do sound like reasonably low hanging fruit if laws are still being made to harass them.

Here in the Bay we have a Romani community or two, they mostly keep to themselves. Romani often get shit because they build communities where resources are shared among the group led by a group of elders. Little to no integration combined with a community that makes it hard to take advantage of individuals often gets them the side eye from christian groups.
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Old 02-07-2022, 05:23 PM
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Default Re: Cancelling Jimmy Carr

Quote:
Originally Posted by viscousmemories View Post
I wonder why we don't have traveller communities in the US. Every major city has a large homeless population, but as far as I know they don't move around much.

Also, were Brad Pitt and his family 'travellers' in the movie Snatch? I love that movie.
Chicago Tribune: Chicago news, sports, weather, entertainment

Both Roma and Irish travellers exist in the US, but they're pretty fringe and not very common. They might not look the same as they do in England.

My grandparent's generation had stories of Roma and Irish Travellers in the Chicago area in my youth, but I think the travellers tend to stay more rural now, doing odd jobs for cash.
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Old 02-07-2022, 07:09 PM
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Default Re: Cancelling Jimmy Carr

There were some in New Jersey when I was little. My mom was friends with a Romani woman who'd come over to visit sometimes with her two nasty daughters.
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Old 02-07-2022, 08:36 PM
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Default Re: Cancelling Jimmy Carr

Quote:
Originally Posted by viscousmemories View Post
I wonder why we don't have traveller communities in the US. Every major city has a large homeless population, but as far as I know they don't move around much.

Also, were Brad Pitt and his family 'travellers' in the movie Snatch? I love that movie.
USA already has these laws.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeP View Post
Quote:
to effectively criminalise Traveller communities in a section of the new policing bill that would make living on land without the permission of its owner a criminal offence, and would allow police to seize vehicles.
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Old 02-07-2022, 10:06 PM
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Default Re: Cancelling Jimmy Carr

Not evolve it is.
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Old 02-07-2022, 10:20 PM
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Default Re: Cancelling Jimmy Carr

Is this suddenly topical?

Starting this evening on TV in the UK:

60 Days With The Gypsies | OnTheBox
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Old 02-07-2022, 11:31 PM
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Default Re: Cancelling Jimmy Carr

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamilah Hauptmann View Post
Didn't read the whole article. I don't think the fact that it's a joke referring to the Holocaust is why it might be a problem. I'm still not even entirely sure is a joke I'd "cancel" him over. I even find the Jehovah's Witness part amusing on paper.

I think I have a lower tolerance for "punching down" or offensive kind of jokes than I used to. The fascist trend of politics in the US is encouraging these kinds of jokes to be made by unfunny people who are not really joking. I can guaran-fucking-tee you Boris Johnson has made disparaging remarks like this in private.

Still, the minimum bar for a joke like this is that it needs to be funny. Do I think Carr can pull it off? Maybe. Still need to hear it, but I got better shit to do.
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Old 02-08-2022, 12:31 AM
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Default Re: Cancelling Jimmy Carr

It's a flexible joke. You can swap gypsies for lots of other things: Frenchmen, Englishmen, Russians, ... and it's still funny.
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Old 02-08-2022, 12:44 AM
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Default Re: Cancelling Jimmy Carr

Quote:
Originally Posted by ceptimus View Post
It's a flexible joke. You can swap gypsies for lots of other things: Frenchmen, Englishmen, Russians, ... and it's still funny.
My personal opinion is that if he had used any of those instead, the joke would be just as funny and less controversial.
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Old 02-08-2022, 12:22 PM
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Default Re: Cancelling Jimmy Carr

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeP View Post
Is this suddenly topical?

Starting this evening on TV in the UK:

60 Days With The Gypsies | OnTheBox
I'd love to watch this but I don't know how to get Channel 4 content until it makes it to Netflix or something.

I agree that punching down is lame and that the joke would have worked just as well with any other group. I didn't think it was a very funny joke in any case; definitely not worth risking his career over. I thought there were actually more brutal (and funnier) jokes elsewhere in the show but I honestly can't even remember them.
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Old 02-08-2022, 02:11 PM
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Default Re: Cancelling Jimmy Carr

I am recording it - haven't watched it yet. I'll save it for the next time you come round to my place.

I will report back. If I remember.
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Old 02-08-2022, 03:04 PM
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Default Re: Cancelling Jimmy Carr

It's on All-4.

https://www.channel4.com/programmes/...mand/70216-001

There are, and will be, only two episodes, and they're both available. They're normally taken down after a few weeks or months.

You can probably get it in the USA, but it's complicated - you need a UK email address, and a UK credit card to register. It doesn't actually charge the credit card - you can get a free trial. I guess you might also need a VPN to spoof being in the UK.

So easier to visit Joe, or get someone to burn the files to disc or other storage medium, and post to you. Or download it from one of the pirate sites.
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