Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Joke is on Carr over wounded soldiers’ jibe

Jimmy Carr's landed in hot water after a sick joke about troops blown up serving their country.

Minutes from the end of performance in Manchester, the weirdly smooth faced Carr cracked: “Say what you like about these servicemen amputees from Iraq and Afghanistan, but we’re going to have a ******* good Paralympic team in 2012.”

Good one, eh? Carr has since apologised. But the bizarre thing about it all is that he is a frequent visitor to Selly Oak military hospital in Birmingham and the Headley Court rehabilitation centre in Surrey, to entertain the very same heroes he ‘jokes' about in Manchester.

I don't think Carr really meant to offend the amputees but, sadly, Carr's slip up is just a symptom of a humour industry which constantly defines its worth by bad taste, by being ‘edgy', by — as a point of honour — compulsively pushing the envelope. Carr just simply pushed a bit too hard.

What, to use that quaintly old-fashioned phrase, alternative comedians like Carr have to learn is that merely walking a thin line between being funny and shocking is not, in itself, entertainment.

Eric and Ernie, Harry Worth, the Two Ronnies, Eric Sykes — they never set out to upset people. Maybe that's why they are still as loved today.

Even now, the popular funnyman in Britain isn't Carr or one of his stripe, but the somewhat traditional Peter Kay.

Something for Carr to ponder on as he considers the next target worthy of his ‘wit'. (Well, rhymes with ‘wit' anyway).