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Thursday, June 26, 2008

The "Comedy Police" is Not Amused

Kudos and a rim-shot for my old colleague Terry O'Neill who noticed below the woes that comedian Guy Earle is having at the hands of the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal. In the Province's version  of the story, though, Mr.  Earle is getting no help from someone who should be an ally:

But Mark Dennison, a longstanding Vancouver comedian and instructor at Langara College's stand-up comedy clinic, said there is a fine line between comedy and outright discrimination.

And from what he's heard, he said, the material Earle supposedly used was "mean-spirited" and a "pointed attack" based on "completely wrong assumptions."

"Comedy is inclusive. We laugh because we see commonality," he said.

"I don't think anything is off-limits as long as it is handled in a way that shows us what makes us the same."

I can imagine Mr. Earle being punished on the grounds that his comedy is not *inclusive* enough, thanks to Mr. Dennison's opinions.

I can also imagine U.S. late night comics like Leno, Letterman and Ferguson having a lot of fun with this. I can see Gordon Campbell being Photoshopped into the uniform of the "Comedy Police", raising gales of laughter across the United States. Well, if Mr. Campbell won't listen to reasoned arguments about how silly the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal can be, perhaps ridicule might work.

Posted by Rick Hiebert on June 26, 2008 in Humour | Permalink


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"And from what he's heard, he said, the material Earle supposedly used was "mean-spirited" and a "pointed attack" based on "completely wrong assumptions."

Sounds like Mark Dennison could actually get a job with the BCHRC. He "heard" something about the event and is now able to make a comprehensive evaluation. Hmmm. Kinda like the Ezra Levant case. The HRC people didn't even read his article before determining that he should be tried.

"Comedy is inclusive. We laugh because we see commonality," he said.

"I don't think anything is off-limits as long as it is handled in a way that shows us what makes us the same."

So he defines comedy and thus we all must adhere to what he thinks it should be. He's a candidate for an HRC adjudicator alright. Making people think the way he wants.

Posted by: Jim | 2008-06-26 1:25:00 PM

re: Joke police - this was published in The Province in 2006

The election of Quebec City radio host Andre is a blow for freedom 
Michael Tripper, Special to The Province
Published: Tuesday, January 31, 2006
The world's most dangerous idea is alive and well in Canada.
Prestigious think-tanks recently asked leading intellectuals, scientists and politicians what was their most dangerous idea. I think I can save them a lot of trouble by just pointing them to Canada and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.
The CRTC, an "independent agency" that just happens to report to the heritage minister and is subject to cabinet orders, was set up in 1968 to make sure we have a wide variety of Canadian shows on TV and cheap phones coast to coast. The CRTC takes that to mean it can censor ideas and people whom Ottawa bureaucrats don't like.
The most dangerous idea of them all is the idea that the government has the sole authority to decide what ideas you are allowed to hear.
You don't have to take my word for it, just ask U.S. shock jock Howard Stern or Quebec City radio host Andre Arthur.
Stern was kicked off the Canadian airwaves in 2001 because he made some jokes about French Canadians. That's it -- you're banished, get lost.
Andre's Arthur's crime? On his Choi-FM show, he made "offensive" comments about everything from immigration to politics.
"The station's hosts were relentless in their use of the public airwaves to insult and ridicule people," the CRTC said. So, in 2004, it closed the station down. Every host, every show, the receptionist, the janitors and the listeners were all gone because Ottawa didn't like their jokes and point of view.
But what are the CRTC, the joke police? If they don't like a joke, off with your head! Just like North Korea, Turkey and China.
Now that Stern is on satellite, Sirius is too scared to wake the CRTC beast and has chosen not to offer him here.
But people are voting with their feet -- by taking a quick hop over the border and signing up with Sirius in America or by signing an online petition calling for Stern to be set free here in Canada.
It was through Stern that I heard about 9/11 first-hand, what it was like to be there live and unedited at that moment in history.
It was Stern who made the first of my seven years in Toronto liveable.
I was in Toronto because I had lost everything in my native Montreal when I dared to write about English rights in the Concordia University student handbook.
I defended what you take for granted here in English Canada, and was rewarded with censorship and ostracization. I lost my career, friends, family and health.
As a professor told me at the time: "Michael, everything you wrote is true, you just can't say it in Quebec."
It is only now, almost 20 years later, that my life is finally being put back together.
The people, though, they want to hear these ideas that Ottawa deems too dangerous. They saw their precious freedom slipping away and voted last week to elect Andre Arthur to parliament as an independent member.
Who's laughing now?
Contact Michael Tripper at www.weeklyedit.com
© The Vancouver Province 2006

Posted by: Michael T | 2008-06-26 4:06:32 PM

I find it interesting how a LOT of people are making evaluations based on behalf of one person...the 'comedian' who, although he admits to being in a foul mood and 'half drunk' in a podcast interview last November, says "They started it."
Hmmmm. Coming in at THE END of the show...because the patio was closing, and they were DIRECTED to the table by the waitresses (I spoke with Direct witnesses)...the ladies decided to kiss? SO WHAT.
But for the 'comedian' on stage, this is disrespectful.
They 'flipped him the bird', for what reason? They were into each other, not him nor his show...unless they reacted to something, like his slagging them.
That would not constitute 'heckling', but rather reacting to an attack.
Why did he go to ONLY their table...twice? I am of the opinion, that it was to physically intimidate. Big Bad Guy, charges Lil' Lorna = cool your 'jets' with a 'drink'...oh, Lorna was drinking WATER? Drunk on WATER!?
In my opinion, some time in the past, someone told Guy Earle he was funny and should be a comedian...AND HE BELIEVED IT!!! Even now I think sarcasm escapes the poor boy.

Posted by: Mark | 2008-07-08 12:47:18 AM

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