Milk the Cow podcast.The Bowie debate.

Here’s the latest episode of Milk The Cow a fantastic podcast I’m occasionally involved in. I could only appear on the first half as I had to do a gig. In this one we discuss rape culture and the accusations against David Bowie. There’s also a great interview with a junior Doctor discussing their fight/plight and our despicable government.

 

http://www.milkthecowpodcast.com/podcast/2016/1/14/050milk-the-cow-podcastbowie-debateailsa-whitejunior-doctors-strikestudiojohn-scottdale-price

Comedy Outlaws no. 5. Billy Connolly…and the Crucifixion.

As a Scots comedian of a certain age there obviously must be one influence on me that stands head and shoulders above any other. When I was a very young kid I always wanted to be a Sex Pistol. Then my brother came back from University with Billy Connelly’s first albums and I discovered there was another thing you could be that’s just as exciting.

In my journey as a comic I’ve known a couple of comics who became famous that never rated Billy. I’ll not mention names the clue’s in where I live. After that I never really rated them. I can forgive younger comics not knowing him or finding the humour a bit distant. However I really do feel if you’re a comic and you don’t have some place in your work/heart for him then you really shouldn’t be doing the job.

The routine I’d like to discuss here I hadn’t listened to in some time. I was worried it might be dated. I’ve just listened to it now and I’m over the moon with how good it is. In fact after hearing this again I’ve decided I’m going to spend the coming months collecting his work and falling in love with him all over again. The routine of the Crucifixion is now 51 years old and it’s as hilarious and vibrant and at times risky now as it was when it was being touted around halls and working men clubs in the 70s.

Recorded at a small venue, The Tudor Hotel in Airdrie, it’s from the double album (vinyl) titled Solo Concert. I would urge anyone to seek out the whole thing. Releasing a live double-album by a comedian who at the time was virtually unknown (except to a cult audience in Glasgow) was an unusual gambit by the people behind it but their faith in Connolly’s talent was duly rewarded and they successfully promoted the album to chart success on its release in 1974.

What put’s Billy among the comedy Outlaws is a thing that people often don’t credit him with. He has constantly throughout his prestigious career tackled some of the darkest or potentially most offensive of subject matters. From many meditations on religion, to disability to causing outrage with a routine on hostage Kenneth Bigley (About which he says he was quoted out of context) But through force of personality and more likeable charm than a million Macintyre’s could ever hope to muster has so far only ever managed to offend exactly the sort of person you really hoped he would. Upon his debut on the TV chat show Parkinson in 1975 he told a bawdy joke about a man who had murdered his wife and buried her bottom-up so he’d have somewhere to park his bike. His own management had begged him not to do so.  He made the right choice and ignored their advice and his bawdy humour was a sensation. Stardom came rapidly and he became good friends with Parkinson himself. He still holds the record for most appearances on the show at 15.

In saying that he offended the sort of person you hoped he would among the more famous of the morally outrraged were Pastor Jack Glass and self-anointed morality police officer in Chief Mary Whitehouse.

Jack Glass was Described by the Rev Ian Paisley as “a bit of an extremist” Jack vehemently denied being a bigot but actively attacked and campaigned against, amongst other issues, the decriminalisation of homosexuality and rights for gay people, Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress, the Papal visit to Scotland, the Catholic Church, in fact, against anything or anyone who didn’t fit into his extreme Calvinist view of the world as being dominated by the Power of Darkness. And naturally, anyone who disagreed with Jack was a servant of Satan.

Perhaps it’s a bit cynical to say it but Jack was never one to pass up the opportunity for a bit of self-promotion, and one of his most notorious escapades was when he began picketing Billy Connolly’s concerts on the grounds that he regarded Connolly as a blasphemer. The cartoonist Malkie McCormick lampooned him in his weekly “Big Yin” strip in the Sunday Mail, by having a piece of graffiti on a wall saying, “Jack Glass is a wee pastor”. He died of cancer with which upon being diagnosed was quick to blame Satan for his malady. Looks like the Devil won in the end. Connolly himself credits him with being a fantastic help in selling out his early tours. Bringing him the type of publicity you just can’t buy. He dismissed the campaigns by Mary Whitehouse against him with the fantastic line, “Who wants to be told what to do by someone who’s name rhymes with toilet?”

So I’ll end this wee tribute to my hero by encouraging you to go find and listen. I’ve posted the full Crucifixion routine here plus another favourite. The former routine is just rammed with great one-liners and hilarious characterisation. “Jesus doesn’t need to come to the boozer. He can make a bucket load at home.” “I cured a deaf and dumb guy. His first words…Is it alright if I’m a protestant” “I got arrested by the Romans. I thought should be alright it’s my first offence.”

Scottish humour has always had a layer of darkness in it. That probably comes from it being a wee bit tough to live there. It exists in my humour and many of my fellow Scots comedy comrades. I’m actually proud of it. Comedy should be a rollercoaster ride. It should be exhilarating and a wee bit scary. I don’t think anybody will do it better than Billy when he’s on to a good one. He generates a thing that few comics can. Rolling laughter. Sure we can all get a big laugh or applause break but very few can induce hysteria. He has consistently throughout his life. He is the king of comedy as far as my not so humble opinion is concerned. Although I don’t think he’d appreciate being called King Billy for reasons to obvious to explain to those not from Glasgow. He still makes me fall on my side on the couch when I’m watching him and he should be credited with giving most of us a job. No Billy no modern comedy scene. It’s as simple as that. Enjoy.

Comedy Outlaws No. 4. Jerry Sadowitz…Comedian, magician and psychopath.

Jerry Sadowitz…Comedian, magician and psychopath.

It may have come to your attention that all the comedians afore mentioned in this article have sadly now passed on to the great comedy gig in the sky. Is this a reflection on our current wave of safer more TV friendly jokesters? I’ll let you decide. Thankfully the final master of the macabre monologue in this article is still very much with us and continuing to thrill comedy connoisseurs throughout the lands of the scandalous and scatological.

Jerry Sadowitz is a man who is to be saluted by any aspiring bedroom comedy agitators. His comedy, like some of the finest malt whiskies, can be an acquired taste. This Scots Jewish comedian makes Frankie Boyle look like Mary Poppins. Some more sensitive souls may require a sack load of sugar to help Sadowitz’s medicine go down. However, Jerry Sadowitz is probably the greatest practitioner of exposing society’s hypocrisies working today. If you’re willing to leave moral boundaries aside and view the broader picture of what he does then the rewards of his shtick can at times be life affirming.

Jerry was born in New Jersey in 1961. Following the breakdown of his parents’ marriage, his mother returned to her native Scotland. He was brought up in Glasgow and attended Calderwood Lodge Primary then. The fact that he was the only Jew in a catholic area has often been touched on in his routines.

Jerry first came to prominence in the 1980’s alternative comedy boom. However unlike many of his comedy peers of the time he didn’t toe the line of the right on neo lefty politics that were so popular at the time. One of his earlier comedy techniques would be to take a standard, admittedly nasty racist joke and twist it to reveal a “more considered” punch line. His act also features magic. Done both as send up and seriously. He is a master craftsman of the art and considered to be among the best close up card magicians in the world.

Near the start of his comedy career he became famous for once antagonizing a typical audience of socially conscientious trendies by marching on stage and declaring, “Nelson Mandela! What a c**t.” This declaration on the legend of South Africa’s greatest leader came about after fellow comic Nick Revel bet him that he wouldn’t dare say anything derogatory about the great man. But Jerry was more concerned that the statement didn’t have a punch-line. So the next night he walked out and added, “Nelson Mandela! What a cunt. You lend somebody a fiver then you never see them for years.” (At the time Mandela was still in captivity)

In 1992 Jerry came as close to mainstream fame/notoriety with his own BBC show The Pall Bearers Review. Surprisingly a very different BBC as to what we find today pretty much let him off the leash as far as content went. And the show was a pretty strong reflection of what he did on stage. The first episode opened with the gag, “Ladies and gentlemen welcome to the Pall Bearers Review. I would like to point out this is a non-racist and non-sexist show…Which is a shame because I know a fucking beauty about Tina Turner.”

Sadly such bon mots were not to the taste of all and the show became one of the most complained about in broadcast history, resulting in it never being repeated.

It should be stressed though that to say Sadowitz’s comedy is out and out nihilism would be incorrect. Yes at times he can be right of Hitler, but his routines can also move left of Karl Marx. He covers a wide spectrum of targets in his comedy and the establishment is always very near the top of his hit list. An aspect of Sadowitz rarely covered reviews of the great man is that most of his shows feature large waves of (at times) unexpected compassion. This particular columnist was lucky enough to catch a bit of that in one of his shows in Dundee on the week 9/11 happened. During a routine where he backhandedly “praised” the people of Dundee for being so moronic they built a statue of Desperate Dan in their town center, which in Jerry’s opinion was still better than the more accepted tradition of building statues to war. He then went on to talk about 9/11 and implored the audience not to advocate carpet bombing and the massacre of civilians as a solution to the situation, as it would achieve nothing and only aggravate the problem …He did however then go on to suggest we should drop human shit on them, “and give them time to think about it.” Maybe we wouldn’t be in our current troubles if we did.

Jerry’s controversial style of humor has also influenced a generation of comedians, or “imitators” as he refers to them. Comedians who now use his style of humor include, Frankie Boyle, Jim Jeffries, Jimmy Carr, Roy Chubby brown and Ricky Gervais. Speaking on his “imitators”, he said that “I’m sorry I’ve given some very nasty people a good living.”

Sadowitz’s on-stage misanthropy certainly doesn’t seem faked. In a recent interview with the Guardian he remarked “My stuff comes from the fact that my life has been miserable. I now don’t believe I have the capacity to be happy. I would settle for peace of mind. I’d give anything for that. But it’s been a completely wasted life. Completely and utterly wasted. Everything just seems to get worse and worse. I can’t see that much great stuff going on in the world, you know? I would rather be happy and have no act. Some would say I’m unhappy and still have no act,” At the end of which he managed a smile.

This writer just recently had a chance to meet with Jerry and he turned out (that day) to be an affable, accommodating, generous and charming man. I hope he does achieve a level of happiness. The world would be a much blander and less hilariously thrilling place without him.

I have no monologues or clips I can advise you watch here to find out more about Jerry’s work. He fiercely monitors and unsolicited examples appearing on the net. So Instead I’ve provided a link to his website, where you can find out his current tour dates. I couldn’t recommend enough to any comedy aficionados getting out there and experiencing his unique and masterly talents first hand.

http://www.jerrysadowitz.com/pages/main.htm

Comedy Outlaws No. 3 Derek and Clive.

Peter Cook (1937-1995) is now seen as an icon of British comedy. Ten years after his death, Cook was ranked at number one in the Comedians’ Comedian, a poll of 300 comics, comedy writers, producers and directors. In a varied career he was seen as the prime mover in the 60’s satire boom and of anti-establishment comedy. He has been described as “the funniest man who ever drew breath” even though large chunks of his work could be considered controversial.  I consider him to be such a comedy demagogue for the common man that his death should have been celebrated by burning down the Houses of Parliament and replacing them with a large pyramid in which he could have lain in state.

But it’s with his partnership with Dudley Moore that he’s probably going to be most remembered. A fact that may grate with Cook at times, as that relationship could be a strained one. However it was through the professional and artistic jealousies of the pair that their greatest and downright dirtiest works and dialogues were brought to us, under the guise of the now infamous…Derek and Clive.

Between 1973 and 1978 Derek (Dudley Moore) and Clive (Peter Cook) recorded three albums and one film of unscripted comedy dialogue that were not only breathtakingly obscene but also disconcertingly erudite and blisteringly funny. There were no taboos. Their material plumed depths that no other mainstream popular celebrities have ever dared to go near since. Typical routines involve aggressive and frequent use of the verboten C word combined with brilliantly surreal imagery and subject matters. The chosen subjects could move from the cleaning out of Joan Crawford’s nether regions, which Cook declares “A fucking disaster zone full of ships and light aircraft” to brilliant parodies of northern entertainers or the Scots obsession with farting. And that’s them only getting warmed up.

Still considered controversial today the sketches performed on their three LPs and documented in the movie Derek and Clive Get The Horn primarily took the form of bizarre, sometime drunken streams of consciousness led by Cook, with interjections from Moore. In a few sketches the pair are so trousered you can hear them slurring their words. However it is a misconception that all material was recorded under the influence of alcohol. In the “Horn” documentary they can clearly be seen drinking coffee and water. But in no way does that dilute the venom in some of the sketches. If anything it may have put Cook on a sharper footing.

It has been generally believed that the first of the recordings of Derek and Clive emerged due to the boredom of touring their review show Good Evening in Broadway. But recent unearthed scripts may suggest the idea for Derek and Clive being conceived earlier in England.

The characters of Derek and Clive are supposed to be those of two toilet attendants. They are to all intents and purposes a revamped and turned up to number 11 version of Cook and Moore’s Pete and Dud personas, made famous in their TV show Not Only but Also.

The first recordings were never intended for commercial release but to be circulated among showbiz friends. But they grew in popularity in boot leg format. Eventually Cook felt they might as well be released commercially and money be made. Moore was initially reluctant as he was now pursuing a successful Hollywood career and was concerned the vulgar content may undermine his progress. It was once he realized that his Hollywood contemporaries were actually fans that he agreed for the first recordings to hit the public domain.

Two more records were made. But these were less like dialogues and more like vindictive attacks on the increasingly successful Moore by Cook, whose career had stalled somewhat in comparison. One such merciless assault was in a cancer themed diatribe and song. Cook at the time was fully aware that Moore had recently lost his father to the disease. The same love-hate relationship between them is evident in the Get the Horn movie. At times the viciousness of Cooks assaults can make for uncomfortable listening. It’s a good job they’re so bloody funny.

The film Get The Horn is a documentary covering the recording of the Ad Nauseam LP. The film was intended for cinematic release, but in October 1980 the British Board of Film Classification rejected it outright on the grounds of its sustained and excessive use of bad language and blasphemy. Blasphemy we hear you ask? Err…yes well in one routine Cook remarks about the recently deceased Pope who was that week lying in state, “That there Pope all lying there prostrate…That gives me the Horn.” Are you starting to get the idea of how far boundaries were being pushed? The film was eventually granted an 18 certificate and released in 1993.

Get The Horn was actually produced by a certain Richard Branson who can be seen in the movie. At one point Branson decided to stage a “prank” involving the recording being invaded by the police who then began to search the ashtrays for illegal substances. Moore and Cook look genuinely disconcerted as the scene unfolds. One can only guess that Branson was lucky Cook was sober. Had he had a tipple he might have found himself on the end of a tongue lashing that would’ve prevented the Virgin Empire from ever coming into existence.

There are softer Derek and Clive routines that I could publish here. But where would be the fun in that? Instead I urge you to go out and find the recordings, (they’re probably hidden among your dads porn collection) have a drink to fortify your sensitivities and let a music festivals worth of outdoor latrine filth wash over you. As a wee taste of their “vibe” I’ve included here the sleeve notes for Derek and Clive Go live. And The full Ad Nauseum LP.

Derek and Clive Go Live.

Peter Cook and Dudley Moore were appearing on Broadway in the show “Good Evening” when they first happened upon two brilliant new talents. Derek and Clive were working at the time in the toilets of the British Trade Centre. Cook and Moore were quick to see that they had made a major discovery and after much persuasion, including a packet of Craven A and a bottle of Tizer, Derek and Clive agreed to perform at the Electric Lady Studios. With growing assurance they appeared in front of a small, invited audience (Dudley Moore). The record you have bought is a mixture of the two evenings. Once they had mastered which end of the microphone to talk into, Derek and Clive gained enormously in confidence. Their method is basically a stream of unconsciousness, a mixture of Dylan Thomas and Mae West, with overtones of Goethe. At a time when British influence is declining throughout the world, Derek and Clive represent welcome evidence of what this great country could be. They are a ray of hope on a darkening horizon. Their philosophy is both an inspiration to youth and hope for the senile. On this record they discuss fully and frankly the major problems confronting a confused world. Not since Isaac Newton sat in a bath and discovered that apples could stun Archimedes, has such a fully fledged Weltanschauung emerged. Since the recording, Derek and Clive have been besieged by offers, Vegas, The London Palladium, Fiji but they prefer the simple, natural life of the toilets. “There’s a certain rhythm there”, says Derek. “You know where you stand”, states Clive. One cannot but sympathise with them. The seemingly glittering world of ‘Show business’ with its broken marriages, drugs and enormous rewards leaves them uninterested. We can only admire their straightforward point of view. Poets? satirists? philosophers? comedians? social commentators? Derek and Clive sum it up more succinctly. “Just a couple of cxxts” is their frank self-appraisal.”

Comedy Outlaws No. 2. George Carlin 7 words you can’t say on television.

George Denis Patrick Carlin (1937 to 2008) was a, if not the, giant of American counter culture stand up. Although it’s fair to say you could stop almost any non-comedy fan on the streets of the UK and they wouldn’t know who he was. He chose never to grace these shores with his extraordinary talent.

In his life long career he won 5 Grammy Awards for his comedy albums, completed 14 HBO specials, was placed second on Comedy Central’s list of 100 Greatest Comedians of all time and stared in hit movies such as Bill And Teds Excellent Adventure and Cars. He was posthumously awarded the Mark Twain award for American humor a few months after his death.

His solo career began after a brief period in a double act with fellow comic Jack Burns. It was in the early 1970’s that the fully formed style of the George Carlin we came to know and love began to emerge. Straight off the bat audiences could see there was something new about Carlin just by the way he dressed. His stage image of hipster renegade, featuring faded jeans, long hair and earrings was unusual for an American comic of the time. They would normally portray themselves with a cleaner cut suit and tie image. As is much the trend today. Carlin however, looked like he belonged more at Woodstock than on The Ed Sullivan Show where he regularly appeared.

Carlin’s material fell into three categories which he himself described as “The little world” (observational humor), “The big world” (Social commentary) and the peculiarities of the English language (Euphemisms, double speak etc.)

But it’s with one routine in particular that he is famous for above all. 7 words you can never say on television. It fits neatly that this article should follow a path from Lenny Bruce to George Carlin as on separate occasions they were both arrested for use of the same seven words in their live act.

In 1966 Lenny Bruce was arrested for using a list of profane words in his act. In Lenny’s routine he said them in alphabetical order. If you’re of a Church of England deposition it’s probably best you close your eyes now. These words were. “Balls, cocksucker, cunt, fuck, motherfucker, piss, shit, tits.”

Carlin decided to raise the baton from Lenny’s routine, but he dropped the “balls” (pun intended) and reduced the list to seven words. The routine was released on Carlin’s album Class Clown. The main thrust of his diatribe being that he was amazed you can’t use these words regardless of context. When he performed the routine at Summer Fest Milwaukee he was promptly arrested and charged with disturbing the peace.

In 1973 radio station WBAI-FM broadcast an updated version of the routine. It was this fateful broadcast that moved the routine from cult favourite into mainstream America’s media arena.

John Douglas, an active member of Morality in the Media claimed that he heard the broadcast while driving with his then 15-year-old son and complained to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that the material was inappropriate for the time of day.

Following the lodging of the complaint, the FCC proceeded to ask Pacifica Radio (who broadcast the routine) for a response, and then issued an order upholding the complaint. . WBAI appealed this decision, which they won by a 2 – 1 decision on the grounds that the FCC’s definition of “indecency” was overbroad and vague and thus violated the First Amendment’s guaranty of freedom of speech.

After this initial defeat the FCC decided to take the case to the Supreme Court. It was eventually ruled that the FCC’s definition of indecency may not be too broad, but WBAI were never prosecuted or fined due to issues pertaining to freedom of speech.

However, the case did cause new regulations to be ushered in regarding broadcast material. And it’s here that Lenny and then George scored a back handed victory. Prior to the case the seven words of the routine were considered unfit for broadcast at any time on TV or radio. After the case the Supreme Court established the Safe Harbor provision that grants broadcasters the right to broadcast indecent (but not obscene) material between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am, when it is presumed many children will be asleep.

I personally have no problem whatsoever with such regulation. Delicate ears should be protected until they reach a level of maturity able to absorb such dialogues in the context they are intended. So if you’re under 18 and its way before bedtime DO NOT CLICK THE LINK BELOW….

7 words you can’t say on television.

Comedy Outlaws No. 1 Lenny Bruce takes the power from the racist.

When it comes to causing moral outrage it’s a fickle old world we live in. As a society we can at times be very selective over what can cause us to drop a knitting stich. You’re average tabloid leaps at the chance to splash its front page with headlines of sexual deviance run amok almost on a daily basis, while at the same time trying to cram the inside of the same publication with as many photographs of topless young women as is acceptable around the family breakfast table.

 Turning from the breakfast table you can pop on the news and find stories of gross inequalities. Homelessness, poverty, famine, genocide, illegal wars and you’ll hardly raise an eyebrow as you gulp down the last of your Coco Pops and head off to the office.

So why is it we can get so outraged by what a comedian says? Whether it be a prank phone call or a “throwaway” line about the holocaust, we seem as a society at the moment to be on a hair trigger of knee jerk indignity at the slightest of slights.

Perhaps it’s the fact we now live in a culture of 24 hour rolling news and endless social media. Our outrage can be quickly packaged, turned up to number 10 and fed in concise little bites of affronted acerbity to the masses.

Whatever the reason. This new need for all commentary to be filtered and diluted until it’s fit for consumption by a 99 year old member of your local women’s guild while she has the clergy around for nibbles is not (in the humble opinion of this commentator) a healthy way to process the quirkiness, scatology, polemic and really naughty words of the fine art of stand up.

So rather than pander to any potential Daily Mail readers who may have wandered in here by accident I’d like here to celebrate not castigate those comedians who have ruffled the feathers of conformity. Some of them to such an extent that the conformity bird has ended up crushed to a bloody pulp on the boot of their punch lines. Whether it be a lightning in a bottle moment, a career dedicated to dissent and non-agreement or on a really good day forcing the law to be changed. Let us salute the bone pickers, agitators and violators.

 

Lenny Bruce Takes the Power From the Racist…

 Jewish American comedian Lenny Bruce (1925 to 1966) was the Big Bang for outspoken comedians, the ground zero of boundary pushers and the spark that lit a fire of comedic combative belligerence. On his own he practically invented the template for the outspoken stand ups that followed in his wake, paving the way for many that came after him. In 2004 comedy Central named him number three on a list of the 100 Greatest Stand Ups of all Time, placing him above George Carlin and Woody Allen.

 In his short but blazing career he was among other things arrested for impersonating a priest and embezzling funds, drug possession and on several occasions for breaking obscenity laws. One such arrest being in Sydney Australia where he walked on stage and announced “what a fucking wonderful audience.” only then to have his mike cut and be escorted from the theatre. Surely a record for shortest gig ever! He died of a heroin overdose aged 40. As you can probably tell from this introduction he wasn’t cut from the same cloth as a McIntyre or a Bishop.

 Bruce honed his craft working as the master of ceremonies in strip clubs in the San Fernando Valley, where he would work his routines into the gaps between introducing the strippers. It sounds seedy and low because that’s exactly what it was. But it also provided a perfect environment for him to develop his routines, freeing him from the inhibitions of a more mainstream audience and more importantly club owners who may have become anxious about content.

 The main thrust of Bruce’s routines covered politics, religion and sex. But in a style that still sounds provocative now. You can but imagine the impact that would have on the far more conservative ears of the late 50’s and early 60’s.

As mentioned Bruce was arrested several times on obscenity charges. The last couple of times were In April 1964, when he appeared twice at the Café Au Go Go in that most bohemian of quarters Greenwich Village. On the first arrest you could maybe forgive Lenny for being caught out by the undercover detectives who were in the audience that night. They arrested and charged him on his use of various obscenities. A lesson learned? Nope. He then went straight back out the next night and repeated all the offending obscenities. This again resulting in him being arrested on the same charge. Belligerence or a dignified stance against censorship you can make up your own mind. But posthumously it would be Lenny who had the last laugh.

 The convictions were announced and despite a large petition from various writers and artists including Woody Allen, Bob Dylan and Norman Mailer, Lenny was found guilty on December 21st 1964. He was sentenced to four months in a workhouse. After the trial he was set free on bail, but the events bankrupted him and may have contributed to a decline in health and lifestyle. He died in 1966 before the appeal was decided and his conviction was never stricken…

Until… on December 23, 2003, 37 years after his death, New York Governor George Pataki granted Bruce a posthumous pardon for his obscenity conviction. They might have won the battles, but in the end Lenny won the war.

As you’ve maybe noted this segment is titled “Lenny Bruce Takes the Power from The Racist.” This is in reference to a famous routine of his in which he attempts to disempower the language of racism. Although this would later be tackled by others such as Richard Pryor and in 80’s Hip Hop culture it’s an interesting historical footnote that he was never arrested for the words used in this routine, yet was arrested for saying shmuck, a Jewish reference to penis.

 I’ve decided to print the routine in full. 1. To show an example of the power of his work. 2. To see if I can get arrested.

 Lenny Bruce on Racist language.

 “Are there any niggers here tonight? Could you turn on the house lights, please, and could the waiters and waitresses just stop serving, just for a second? And turn off this spot. Now what did he say? “Are there any niggers here tonight?” I know there’s one nigger, because I see him back there working. Let’s see, there’s two niggers. And between those two niggers sits a kyke. And there’s another kyke— that’s two kykes and three niggers. And there’s a spic. Right? Hmm? There’s another spic. Ooh, there’s a wop; there’s a polack; and, oh, a couple of greaseballs. And there’s three lace-curtain Irish micks. And there’s one, hip, thick, hunky, funky, boogie. Boogie boogie. Mm-hmm. I got three kykes here, do I hear five kykes? I got five kykes, do I hear six spics, I got six spics, do I hear seven niggers? I got seven niggers. Sold American. I pass with seven niggers, six spics, five micks, four kykes, three guineas, and one wop.

 

Well, I was just trying to make a point, and that is that it’s the suppression of the word that gives it the power, the violence, the viciousness. Dig: if President Kennedy would just go on television, and say, “I would like to introduce you to all the niggers in my cabinet,” and if he’d just say “nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger” to every nigger he saw, “boogie boogie boogie boogie boogie,” “nigger nigger nigger nigger nigger” ’til nigger didn’t mean anything anymore, then you could never make some six-year-old black kid cry because somebody called him a nigger at school.”

 

Lawrence Vs Brand.

I think the thing I’ve found most interesting on this here comedians crucible of what we can and cannot express within our jobs/opinions/lives is the amount of comics in the same week who went out their way to savage Russell Brand for saying “nice” things while not defending his freedom of speech, while passionately defending Andrew Lawrences freedom of speech to say “not so nice” things, while being quite accepting of what was being said.

These are interesting times. Obviously I find much of what Andrew Lawrence said pretty abhorrent. Of course I do. I’m one of the leftie/liberal hacks he’s targeting. But I’m also an advocate of free speech and I’m delighted he’s said it. I can think of a couple of other folk I work with that have exactly the same views but not so high a profile. Do I refuse to work alongside them? I do not.

So let’s look at Mr Brand first. I can’t ever really say I was huge fan. But that changed last year when he did the editorial of the New Statesman. It was informed, eloquent and raised some great points. Yes he got it wrong with the “don’t vote” thing. Especially because that’s what everybody decided to leap on and completely ignore the main thrust of his polemic. The one thing I’ve personally taken from the whole shebang is I’ve read the New Statesman ever since and I feel I’m better informed because of it. I really am bamboozled as to why such a good looking, opinionated millionaire manages to attract such disdain from the community.

I haven’t seen Mr Brands latest News Night appearance or read his book. I’m of absolutely no doubt that some of what he says is ill informed or total pie in the sky thinking. Here’s why I like him. It was actually his involvement that put me on to reading the New Statesman. More shame me for letting celebs influence my tastes.  So maybe the good thing about him is he raises the profile of important humanitarian issues and then we go look at more informed sources for the real solutions. This is a good debate we’ve all had about him this week and the points he airs. But we are having it BECAUSE OF Russell Brand. Here ends the defence.

And so the prosecution. It may come as a surprise but like Andrew I am also anti Europe. The main reason I have for this is I think it is a gang master for moving about cheap labour and exploiting workers. And there’s the difference. In saying this I’m attacking the cause not the symptom.

It’s Andrews language and targets of attack that so concern me in his initial diatribe. But can I first take a wee look at the type of comedian he attacks. He describes, “Out of touch, smug, superannuated, overpaid TV comics with their cosy lives in their west-London ivory towers taking a supercilious, moralising tone, pandering to the ever-creeping militant political correctness of the BBC with their frankly surreal diversity targets.”

For anybody that knows me and the lack of impact I’ve made on the comedy business there’s no way I can fit into this bracket. Jings how I wish. In fact in reply I would say Andrew fits this description much more than me. I accuse him of being a smug, overpaid TV comic living in an ivory tower, because from my career perspective that is what he is. It’s not only Andrew that everything didn’t come up roses for but he’s had a way better kick of the ball than I ever did. So why the hatred? I’m frustrated too but it does not manifest in attacks on minority groups.

I do wonder if he’s actually ever had to watch 300 EDL marching past his house chanting vile hatreds on Islam and anything else their bile gets directed at that day from his London hole. I somehow think probably not.

Then there was the comment on “liberal back-slapping on panel shows like Mock The Week where aging, balding, fat men, ethnic comedians and women-posing-as-comedians, sit” If this was intended to sound like the language of a bigot then he did a no bad job. I’m just glad I’ve still got my hair. I don’t think we need pour over those words too much. Others justifiably already have.

The bit that really concerned me was in the comment(s) “for every person that comes here and contributes to our culture there are those benefit tourists, criminals and those that refuse to assimilate.” I feel here he’s laying the blame for our economic woes squarely at the foot not just of the immigrant but also at the underclass. But hey he’s a right wing comic. That is his (new) job.

How terrible it is that everybody moving around the various bits of the planet does not walk along the great and the goods corridors that Andrew feels he strides. For shame that not all of us can reach the same salient heights of human endeavour that Andrew so clearly must feel he has.

I’ve mentioned further back what I feel the problem with Europe is. I’d rather we kick up the way than down. But that’s the fundamental difference in our thinking.

Overpopulation isn’t just a British problem it’s global. And yes I feel it needs addressed. But I advise great caution in the language we use when addressing such issues. Otherwise somebody somewhere will shoulder the brunt of the blame. If you’re going to shout, shout to the top.

Does any of this mean I’m opposed to Andrew expressing his views? Absolutely not. But if the gloves come off we should be allowed to take a swing back. I actually quietly respect his…er…gall. But I also fiercely defend my/our right to be equally as galling.