I went to a stand-up comedy show in aid of charity the other evening. A good cause. But I was also looking forward to some belly laughs and some stress relieving humour – perhaps some jokes at the expense of everyday life ….
But no, it seems that humour is dying rapidly before our eyes…. The first act was OK, and the last one, a trawl through musical styles with some good old ‘Carry On’ type humour was good. But what we were treated to, or rather tortured with in between, was awful. White men were ridiculed just for being – white men. Anyone who was non-white or female claimed to have been dreadfully abused all their lives just for being – non-white or female. It was embarrassing.
And the screeching was tiresome. Some light relief was offered in the form of remarks about sex which were – not funny. But the audience of young white liberal elites laughed along obediently – hysterically in fact. I couldn’t wait for it to end. My jaw dropped quite a few times – I LOVE comedy, whether at my expense or others – but this was puerile rubbish. The thing about real humour is you laugh because it is an instant reaction – not some forced virtue signalling. Comedy can be gentle, a kindly poking at someone’s weakness, which once recognised in one’s self can bring the house down. But angrily attacking whole groups of the human race and expecting a laugh because you feel you are correct isn’t humour – but perhaps in fact some form of fascism.
I have long given up going to places like The Secret Comedy Club in Covent Garden. It may be cheap or free but I really would rather watch paint dry, or even peel off, such is the tortuous display of filth and toilet humour. I’m no prude; if something is funny I will laugh, no matter what it is. I love comedy – once upon a time I would watch comedy on Youtube every night – and many different styles, so in fact I’m a big fan of stand-up. But that particular venue is full of non-entities who virtue signal, trying to prove their credentials, afraid to offend anyone and then sprinkling it with some really unfunny, revolting filth that has no detectable wit or humour visible to the human eye – or ear. The last time I went John Bishop turned up – he had started his career there. The wit, humour and intelligence he displayed without dragging us to the murky depths or any form of virtue signalling was pure class. He completely showed them all up and was a breath of fresh air. It made it even more clear how useless, muted and desperate the rest of the acts were.
Humour can be found in the minutest detail of human life, such as in Only Fools and Horses, and indeed also in pathos. Humour can be the saviours or us all, through the gravest and saddest of times and often has been. Perhaps it is telling that in these dreadful times of virtue signalling, where everyone takes offence at everything and every sentence must be examined for racism or cultural appropriation, that humour is finally dying a long strangulated death, in public at least.
Watching old comics on the TV, the funniest comedian can convulse us with slightest facial nuance – a raised eyebrow or a twitch. But to watch many modern comics, nothing is complete without a reference their liberal elite credentials – Trump is funny just for being Trump, no work on the joke required for instance.
The likes of Only Fools, Dads Army, Porridge, Alan Partridge, Fawlty Towers, Ken Dodd, even The Office, are long gone and won’t be back. I have long resorted to American comedy instead – reruns of Frasier for instance, but even those, such as Family Guy, and American Dad, are now being subdued due to political correctness and worries of accusations of racism or sexism. An Irish friend once told me that when she first saw Only Fools and Horses she laughed so much she fell off the sofa! That wouldn’t happen now with the sad offerings of so called British humour we have to put up with. Miranda for instance is positively painful.
Real humour and comedy, at least in public, is dead. We are all dried up just like our boring politicians, liberal elite, and virtue signalling celebrities. Even young people I work with refer to old comedy such as Only Fools and Horses as the best they have ever seen.
The British sense of humour was once famous – our shows were sent all over the world. Our ability to laugh at ourselves was universally admired, and we were loved for it. Self-deprecating humour shows great humility. But not now. We are like po-faced, dried up prunes, and our comedy shows have joined us. Don’t misunderstand me – I have a good laugh most days – but with friends and at things that happen – not from anything offered on TV or in the media. Has all comedy gone underground to avoid the thought police? I would like to imagine so, but I doubt it. To think that during two world wars, one of the things that kept poor British people going was our ability to laugh even during adversity…
When all else is done, if we cannot laugh at ourselves and others, without being cruel or accusatory or looking over our shoulders, then really, what else is left?