Politically Correct comedians are just not funny. It’s more amusing watching North Korean propaganda films.
The sneering left-wing hatred of today’s so-called comics for ordinary people is no laughing matter
Remember when comedians were all about making us laugh?
Nowadays they seem more interested in making us feel like morons or trying to convince us that if we do not all adore and love the EU or we do not think that mass immigration is a good idea then we are all racists, fascists and nazis.
They don’t so much crack jokes as crack our heads together, like schoolteachers ticked off with their silly pupils.
Watching Britain’s top-flight comics often feels like being ranted at by a drunk polytechnic lecturer.
They’re far more adept at spouting politically correct left-wing platitudes and garbage than they are at making good gags.
Consider David Mitchell.
The sitcom that made him a household name — Peep Show — Channel 4.
It’s a clever, often hilarious, study of how men live and think in an era when our gender is apparently surplus to requirements, our old roles as breadwinners and father-figures having been consigned to the shredding machine of history.
How deliciously apt, therefore, that Mitchell himself has fared much worse than the show that made him famous.
In the 12 years since Peep Show first hit our screens, he’s turned from a wry, witty observer of the oddities of 21st-century life into a finger-wagging nagger of the public — especially the plebs — about what we eat, how we vote, how we treat the environment and so on.
He’s now omnipresent on those TV and radio comedy panel shows which, in truth, are light on comedy and heavy on the chattering-class orthodoxies.
Whether it’s Mock The Week, Have I Got News For You or The Big Fat Quiz Of The Year, you pretty well know what every guest is going to say before they’ve even opened their mouths.
Inevitably, they’ll maul the Tories, bash the bankers, rage against Ukip and launch a full-on war of words against anyone who has the temerity to criticise the BBC, which is the closest thing these largely godless comics have to a church.
When Mitchell started his comedy career, he had a practised awkward air, making a virtue of being a plummy middle-class man unsure of his place in the world. Now, he’s stern and unforgiving, dispensing moaning monologues rather than giving us any proper laughs.
He makes fittingly named ‘Soapbox’ videos for The Guardian website, in which he sits on a stool, stares at the camera, and hectors for three minutes about whatever grated his dinner-party circuit that week.
Whether he’s haranguing Americans over the stupid way they speak or attacking climate-change deniers (all ‘reasonable and intelligent’ people know climate change is happening, he sermonises), he’s more headmaster than humorist.
His column for The Observer reads like an almanac of the prejudices of the middle-of-the-road, right-on set.
For instance, he says that junk food makes people stupid (‘consuming c**p is actively enthickifying’).
The BBC is the best thing since sliced bread (it’s an ‘institution of genius’ and we must resist ‘the plot to destroy it’). Rupert Murdoch is evil (the media magnate’s ‘a monstrous a***hole who wants to ruin everything for everyone’).
And on it goes, the repetition of every bland belief of that strata of society that cannot fathom why people eat hamburgers or vote for Nigel Farage.
It’s less comedy and more anthropology, a raised eyebrow at those tribes who dare to think, speak and vote differently to the great and the good of the new comedy hierarchy.
It’s telling that, over the past decade, as his fame has grown, Mitchell’s early, rather sweet comedy of uncertainty has been flattened into the staid use of humour to reinforce the mindset of his liberal, metropolitan elite.
What this reveals is that the cultural establishment, especially the BBC, for which Mitchell often works, is a highly conformist outfit.
It attracts bright, ambitious types but turns them into identikit purveyors of a very narrow way of thinking.
It’s hard to think of any panel‑show or BBC-promoted comedian who doesn’t now share this arch middle-class cynicism towards anything considered Tory or tabloid or — horror of horrors — just plain ‘ordinary’.
Sandi Toksvig, the darling of these Radio 4 left-wing PC luvvies, has made a career from telling lame jokes about the Tories (Michael Gove looks like a ‘foetus in a jar’) or Ukip (she compares Nigel Farage to Hitler).
Now she’s set to take the helm of BBC2’s QI quiz show from Stephen Fry.
Stewart Lee, BBC2’s house comic, mocks those who loved Only Fools And Horses (about wheeler-dealer brothers Del Boy and Rodney Trotter) and rails against those who vote Tory or Ukip. Crassly, he calls these viewers the ‘millions of nuance-resistant voters’.
The subtext, naturally, is why can’t they enjoy sophisticated comedy like his own. Of course, all this is an unsubtle way of saying they’re stupid.
For his part, Robert Webb, Mitchell’s co-star in Peep Show, has gone from being a pretty decent comic actor to writing excruciatingly dull essays for the New Statesman, the house journal of the Left.
His targets are manly men and ‘the Right-wing establishment’, naturally.
But he saves his sharpest barbs for the ill-educated little people, ridiculing those who comment on the websites of Right-leaning newspapers for having an ‘assumption of intellectual superiority, cruelly undermined by a vulnerability to cliche and an inability to spell’.
Then there’s Marcus Brigstocke, who rails against ‘moronic’ motorists and often spits bile at the working classes, mocking ‘overweight women who tuck a copy of a women’s magazine under the pizza in their shopping trolleys’ and lazy builders who ‘need eight gallons of tea every five minutes’.
Such insults betray the weirdly aristocratic streak of viciousness to the supposedly PC new comedy.
Meanwhile, Steve Coogan, a great comic voice in the 1990s, now spends most of his time demanding State regulation of what he views as the low-class, nasty, red-top press.
Even more rough-and-tumble, less right-on comedians, such as Frankie Boyle and Jimmy Carr (co-host of Channel 4’s mercifully short-lived comedy politics show 10 O’Clock Live), haven’t escaped the pressure to conform to the cultural establishment.
Boyle now writes for The Guardian, the most painfully chattering-class activity anyone can ever do, where he rants against the inhumane Tories and tears a strip off Americans (anti-Americanism is a core belief of the snobby funnyman set).
Of course, it was Jimmy Carr who had to make a grovelling apology after he was exposed for benefiting from a controversial off-shore tax-avoidance scheme.
He confessed to a ‘terrible error of judgment’ — ploughing £3.3 million into a Jersey-based scheme from his TV appearances, DVD sales and live shows.
The scheme helped members shelter millions of pounds from the taxman, cutting bills to just 1 per cent. How exquisitely liberal!
Of course, there are still comics who appeal to, rather than mock, the masses. One of the best-loved is Michael McIntyre.
Guess what the comedy snobs think of them?
Stewart Lee says his rival ‘spoonfeeds his audience’ effluent — an attack on both McIntyre’s routine and the supposed nodding-dog idiocy of his followers. Yes, yet more bashing of Middle England.
Such people have turned diversity into one of the buzzwords of our age, especially among the politically-correct set.
Yet it’s hard to think of any industry less diverse than the PC comedy establishment.
They all say and hate the same things.
But there’s a dark irony to their hatefulness.
While these guys pose as oh‑so-superior to the ‘bad’ old stand-ups such as Bernard Manning and Jim Davidson, who came up through the working men’s club circuit before the PC age and who they claim promoted prejudice, the Mitchells, Brigstockes and Lees stir up prejudice, too.
For them, it’s against targets that they think are fair game: fatties who eat junk, people who vote Conservative and those who apparently can’t think in a suitably ‘nuanced’ way.
The result is that this ‘new comedy’ is uglier and more cruel than anything Bernard Manning came out with.
They ruin people’s lives.