As you may have heard by now, there has been public upset and outrage (apparently) about a bawdy joke told on last week’s broadcast of Big Fat Quiz of the Year. Comedians Jack Whitehall and James Corden made crude jokes about the Queen and Prince Philip while watching footage of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations from earlier this year, prompting about 80 complaints to Ofcom according to The Times.
Really? Really? Various news outlets are describing the joke as ‘lewd’ and ‘obscene’, declaring that it has caused ‘public outcry’. This occurrence made front page news in the Daily Mail. Front page! You know what? I’m not buying it.
The entire ‘outcry’ smacks of oversensitivity following the 2008 Sachs-gate debacle, where Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand left off-colour messages on Andrew Sachs’ answer machine. Reporters are definitely trying to shoehorn in Ross wherever possible, simply because he was in the studio at the same time. News Tank claim that Corden and Whitehall were ‘assisted’ by Ross, although having watched the show, I can’t remember him ‘assisting’ in any way apart from, you know, laughing at the joke.
Also, I’m not sure much ‘public outcry’ there can be if there were only 80 complaints. To compare, Big Brother (yeah, that’s still going apparently) received over 1000 Ofcom complaints according to the Daily Mail last year. Big Fat Quiz is massively popular TV show, if only 80 of its viewers were offended, then surely the producers count this as a success? After all, there will always be people who are ready to be offended by whatever they see on screen.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not condoning the comments that were made. They were crude, after all, and you’d hope that comedy could rise above what is essentially toilet humour. However, the joke was relatively benign compared to other comments that have been broadcast on TV. How about Frankie Boyle’s comments on Olympic athlete Rebecca Adlington’s appearance? Or some of the downright awful jokes used in Comedy Central’s celebrity roasts? Somehow, I don’t think the Queen is too worried about some silly, badly thought out comments from two TV comedians.
Perhaps in future, rather than taking part in public hand wringing whenever things like this occur, the news media could perhaps get back to reporting, you know, the news. I’m sure much more important things are happening that we need to know about.
Image via Channel4.com