Mel Brooks and political correctness

Mel Brooks popped up on Radio 4’s Today programme to talk comedy, and his comments have hit the usual outrage. Essentially his point is this;

“Comedy is the lecherous little elf whispering in the king’s ear, always telling the truth about human behaviour.”

What that means is that anything is up for grabs in comedy, as it should be and even he draws a line, as it should be.

The director said he could find comedy in almost everything but conceded there were areas even he would not mine for material.

“I personally would never touch gas chambers or the death of children or Jews at the hands of the Nazis,” he told the BBC’s Radio 4’s Today programme.

“Everything else is ok.”

These should be uncontroversial comments but this is 2017 and saying that anything is up for grabs means people will react in a way to prove Brooks point. Now remember, Brooks has been alive a very long time, and has fought actual real Nazis as well as breaking down barriers with material like this.

Yet in stepped members of the modern mainstream left who decided having a pop at Brooks rather than actually grasping what he said was the thing to do.

Well, that’s a question; when did he do anything worthwhile? I mean it isn’t as if he fought Nazis in WW2, reshaped the world of comedy in the 60’s, made some of the finest comedy films of all time in the shape of The Producers, Blazing Saddles, High Anxiety, Young Frankenstein, not to mention producing The Elephant Man and hiring David Lynch, not to mention producing David Cronenberg’s version of The Fly. His C.V. is beyond impressive and in recent years he’s been semi-retired which anyone shouldn’t begrudge him.

But no, rather than deal with the point that everything is up for grabs in comedy the supposed ‘liberal left’ rail against Brooks based not upon what he’s done, but based on their own identity politics. And Brooks has a point. Can you imagine a major Hollywood studio letting this into a major film in 2017?

Me neither, but deconstruct that scene and it’s clearly attacking racism by using language which isn’t ‘politically correct’ which is a phrase that’s moved on from the Stewart Lee definition.

Essentially it is depressing to see the left adopt the same knee-jerk rhetoric and intolerance as the right. There’s a lot of comedy out there which is nice, safe and bland but for those of us who don’t want to endure Michael McIntyre we want to have the ability to offend and attack those people, attitudes and institutions that comedy should. What’s hypocritical about many of those attacking Brooks is they’re ageist which shows how pathetic some of them are.

Comedy should point out truths and when it can, punch up at everyone and although intent is also key (which is why Bernard Manning was a bigot as he never dared punch up) Nobody should get a pass because it might sound offensive to someone, regardless of their politics. Otherwise we’re crossing into a censorious society where the powerful can potentially escape because it doesn’t fit one’s politics to attack them.

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Stewart Lee talks to Alan Moore about Brexit, Scottish Independence and dead cats

Stewart Lee has a new book out titled Content Provider, a collection of his columns for the Observer and Guardian over the last five or so years. In this interview with writer Alan Moore, he discusses what he’s doing with these columns, the ridiculously inane phrase ‘content provider’, Brexit, his regret over a column he did during the Scottish independence campaign, and a dead cat.

It’s a cracking quarter of an hour or so. Have a look.

A small word about Jeremy Clarkson

Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended by the BBC after attempting to punch a producer and the next episodes of Top Gear has been cancelled. There’s a campaign on social media to bring back Clarkson, but these people are the sort of people that thinks Ched Evans is an ok bloke and that Bernard Manning got a bad reputation.

So this is a perfect time to remind these people and the public at large of this Stewart Lee sketch…

And yeah, fuck Jeremy Clarkson and his moronic defenders.

The Guardian discovers ‘The Last Alan Moore interview?’

Today’s Guardian runs a piece about the recent ‘Last Alan Moore interview?’ that journalist Pádraig Ó Méalóid conducted with Moore in December. Now, the Guardian doesn’t actually add anything to the somewhat frantic, and often daft response to this interview that’s burst online over the last few weeks but it’s a fairer summary of the interview than most, though the lack of any mention of Moore’s comments in regards Grant Morrison, Laura Sneddon or the ‘Batman scholar’ is probably something to do with wanting to keep out of an argument and nothing to do with all three being Guardian contributors in some shape or form.

There’s also no mention of Moore’s apology over his comments regarding Gordon Brown, which were scarily close to Jeremy Clarkson’s comments about Brown.

Though these comments were the subject of a glorious routine by Stewart Lee.

It’s amazingly interesting to watch the reaction blossom out like some great fireball (which I’ve contributed to in my own small way here) that’s enveloping modern culture, but also how so many people reacting to this interview think Moore’s some sort of lunatic because he doesn’t want to be part of the machine in the same way other artists like say, Grant Morrison, clearly does. There’s an incredulity about Moore’s position in that he surely is in it for the publicity or the money?

Clearly he isn’t. This isn’t to say he’s not a comfortable man financially but he’s worked for it, but by refusing to play the usual game in our modern capitalist society where money and glamour mean more than knowledge or creativity he’s set himself outside most artists operating in popular culture. That annoys people brought up on a diet of Thatcherism, and are currently sucking the shiny plastic cock of Cameronism, and this makes me warm inside that Moore’s position fucks people off. It’s simply wonderful and it makes me glad people like Moore are around refusing to play the game.