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Author Topic: The limits of humour
Bored Of The Dance
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We did this on the "music" forum as to how much an artform needs analysis or criticism to develop.

My head hurt at the time

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Lucy Waterman It Be
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In terms of offensive comedy, the (actually quite uninteresting) answer I'd make to croute's question is that the ability to break taboos is dependent primarily on the technical skill of the performer and secondarily on the quality of the material.

Some personal anecdotes:

I used to tell a joke about a politician that depended on some fairly unpleasant sexual imagery.The imagery was deliberately offensive in order to indicate how strongly I felt aboutthat politician, but the audience often seemed to fixate on the imagery rather than the point. So I dropped it, because I didn't think those particular ambiguities were helpful.

I was once forbidden from saying the word "shat" on a BBC radio thing. The producer said this wasn't because there was an objection to the word per se, but the relish with which I had to say it...

[ 22.01.2008, 10:11: Message edited by: y suntuosa Lucy Waterman ]

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Ginger Yellow
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quote:
I used to tell a joke about a politician that depended on some fairly unpleasant sexual imagery.The imagery was deliberately offensive in order to indicate how strongly I felt aboutthat politician, but the audience often seemed to fixate on the imagery rather than the point.
You are Julian Clary and I claim my five pounds.
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Gangster Octopus
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Yup. Clary's a well-known Saint...
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Lucy Waterman It Be
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quote:
You are Julian Clary and I claim my five pounds.
Damn!
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Bored Of The Dance
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I'd agree with Lucy but, there again, it is down to the integrity of the language. If you are being offensive in order just to offend, it will show through. If it is relevant, it will show through.

The only time I used to the word "cunt" in my stand-up was at the end of a routine about swearing and the hypocrisy of the offence it caused. It had more impact because of that (actually, it was the word "cunt-lugs")

That is awhy I am the president of the Cunt-Calling Club

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Dr. Hofzinser
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To echo what most others have said, I don't think there are any limits on what subjects can be used for humour - it all depends on exactly how you use the subject.

I think someone once said on here that if you are going to tell a joke which requires that you do a quick scan of the room before telling it then you probably shouldn't be telling it at all, and I think that's a fairly sound principle.

It's difficult to talk in much more than banal generalisations, though, without more details of exactly what sort of thing you are talking about.

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The Batebe of Toro Foundation
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I've a friend who's actually published on the ethics of humour, Croute, I know there's a fair bit of literature on it. I can see if he'll suggest some stuff to look at - how long have you got?
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Croute au fromage et oeuf au plat
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Cheers lads, I'll post later today about the specifics of my query.
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Fatbastard, Hugh Fatbastard
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I once knew this severely disabled kid who used to go about telling Holocaust jokes all the time.

He got cancer.

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Croute au fromage et oeuf au plat
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My query is due to a long series, since last summer, of mocking vignettes by one particular member of the Wigan fanzine/website I'm connected to about "Baby Harvey". The main driver is the fact he eats a lot and is pretty violent. There has been poetry, "Who would win a fight" type questions and there are caricatures on the way as well. I can't give a specific example as our entire online content has gone missing after our host screwed up their servers.

There has been a complaint by a landlady of a local pub that stocks the fanzine about "mocking that poor disabled kid". The issue was put to a kind of vote and there is complete support to keep it going (see here).

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Bored Of The Dance
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I tell you what, you have got some real Rennaissance men on there. Personally, it could be funny but it would have to be comic genius to work not just funny as "his Mum's a slapper and his real Dad's rather dapper"

I suppose the best example is how you think about how people get away with stuff about Stephen Hawkings. Do they get away with it because it is funny, because he is disabled, because he is rich or because he is famous or any combination of the above.

I would also say that, if you have to ask, you know the answer

[ 22.01.2008, 22:58: Message edited by: Chairman of the Bored ]

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Bored Of The Dance
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By the way, in way is heviolent or is this part of the comic persona made up for him.

The more I think about it, I can't see how it would work. I have just seen on something else a comment defending piss-taking of him that goes "He's a fat blind black wanker - fair play"

As I say, it is going to have to be comic genius to be counteract that mentality

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Barndoorio
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Is OTF full of comedians? Am I the longest serving OTFer that seems to know almost nothing about the people he posts amongst?
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TonTon
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Who is Baby Harvey?
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