Wednesday, 29 July 2009

More on comedians and journalists.

Did you see this article in the Guardian the other day?

One Brian Logan has taken it upon himself to wade into the murky waters of what is or isn't offensive from the mouth of a comedian. And guess what- he's utterly fucked it up. I mean, spectacularly. It seems he interviewed both Richard Herring and Brendan Burns, among others, on the topic- one which, I would imagine, has exercised anyone who ever dared to write a joke- then filleted their replies, and misrepresented their responses into lowest common denominator soundbites which gave the impression that they were at best thick and at worst actual racists.

Herring- here, and Burns here have made their cases in response, and very eloquently too. Read what they had to say, compare it back to the original article, and make your own decision.

My only contribution to matters (apart from saying in passing that a sidebar took a pretty unnecessary swipe at the show I work on) is to mention that I have been greatly enjoying quoting Brian Logan for years. It all dates back to the time when he reviewed Rob and David's 2001 Edinburgh show, 'The Mitchell and Webb Clones' and began with the immortal line (ok, I'm paraphrasing, but Bri doesn't seem to have a problem with that) 'Human cloning is a very serious issue, but you wouldn't think it to watch this show'. The critic- the COMEDY critic- was, apparently, shocked that they'd decided to concentrate on, you know, jokes. I probably would have forgotten all about this, but swipe me down if he didn't repeat the same trick a while later when reviewing Victoria Wood's one woman show at the Albert Hall. This time, his hackles rose when (again I paraphrase; you know the deal) Wood talked about her hysterectomy in the second half, and despite what a harrowing experience it must have been, seemed only to concentrate on the funny side of it.

Now, never mind that this is the rankest idiocy, ('stabbing a police chief is actually a very serious crime, but Puccini only seems to care about making it into an opera') and let's even be charitable enough to forgive him for utterly missing the point not once, but twice. The reason I dredge up these ancient reviews is to ask the question 'What right has someone who doesn't seem to understand the basics, to impugn the motives of anyone?' I wouldn't trust the man to tell me how to breathe in and out, never mind to guide anyone's thinking on what is actually quite a complicated and sensitive issue, which deserves so much better than the cheap sensationalism of Logan's article. The irony is, of course, that Herring and Burns treat the issue with a great deal more intelligence, and purity of purpose, than their accuser.

I saw Goody Herring with the devil. I saw Goody Burns with the devil*

*That's a reference to The Crucible, Brian love. It's a play.

1 comment:

Alan said...

I read the article having seen both Burns and Herring's previous shows. When I read Herring's quotes, it obviously didn't ring true to anyone who had ever seen him or watched anything of his of the last 5 years. The same with Burns' yes he is offensive, but he does so with a knowledge that he is far more intellgent than the aussie shocker he is so obviously playing with for the majority of his hour long show,

Herring's show. was so obviously out of place that it would've sent alarm bells racing off, amongst every other comedian who has seen him, audiences and most obviously in this case OTHER COMEDY REVIEWERS! Surely, Logan was aware that he was going to have Kate Copstick et al ripping his idiocy apart in seconds for so obviously defaming one of the most liberal and thinking of Edinburgh's stalwarts. Don't get me wrong, I don't see Herring as a constant 5* legend nor Burns for that matter.

As an example of how wide of the mark, Logan is, Herring has been instrumental in giving support to the whimsical new front of Josie Long, Robin Ince and David O'Doherty. Not the sort of acts you see saying Hitler was an alright bloke, really

Logan was obviously press-ganged into writing a sensationalist article for G2's comedy issue (yeah an issue, as they constantly fucking ignore it for the rest of the year) Sadly, instead of doing something highly interesting like the year in the life of creating a fringe show, a profile of the new whimsical front, a investigation into the free or £5 fringes, or the schism created by the Edinburgh Comedy Festival from the big 4 venues, he decided to do a lazy, misleading and frankly crap article.

oh well, shame he gets a press pass, when others work off their arses to get one