Life’s Too Short – and comfortable

Mr Gervais’s new comedy is not very funny.

But it made me uncomfortable only because I am not sure it is proper to let Ricky Gervais pull my chain.

I like politically incorrect comedy only when it is really offensive. Gervais says, I think, that his work is kind, intelligent and PC: it challenges our inner racism, sexism, sizism or whatever. I am happy to have these challenged, but I don’t want them toyed with.  I don’t want to be told in an ambivalent way that if I am somehow the right sort person – in the right sort of know – I have licence from Gervais to laugh at his material because it is only offensive to those who are not in the gnostic secret.

I don’t think one can be faux-unPC; or joke-unPC, or safely unPC. It should be a dangerous business or nothing.

In short, midget comedy ought to outrage all right-minded people. If it did, it might be funny. Its being a guilty pleasure is just what some comedy has to be.

Larry David is better at this: Curb Your Enthusiasm is about a man who is not exactly bad, but he rattles with prejudices and has that dash of Tourettes that ensures the worst of him is always on display. As noted here, The Guard was also good: here was a man who just couldn’t stand political correctness: it offended him. He had the balls to put himself on the line for this peculiar bit of prejudice, which amounted almost to principle.

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Publication date

11 November 2011