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Ricky Gervais doesn’t punch down Gender ideologues are the real bullies

Ricky Gervais is laughing at you. Credit: SuperNature/Netflix

Ricky Gervais is laughing at you. Credit: SuperNature/Netflix


May 27, 2022   5 mins

The curse of the literal-minded strikes again. This time it’s Ricky Gervais’s new stand-up special SuperNature which has sent the congenitally humourless into conniptions. Predictably, Pink News led the charge with a report that disapprovingly quotes the most offending lines. The effect is not dissimilar to Mary Whitehouse reading aloud the contents of an erotic novel; few are likely to be aroused.

“Ricky Gervais’ new Netflix special is nothing more than an anti-trans garbage fire,” bawls the headline. Apparently, “Gervais ‘jokes’ at the LGBTQ+ community’s expense throughout the show” and “spends much of the special punching down at trans people”. Of course, framing the word “jokes” in inverted commas is a form of criticism as criminally unoriginally as doing so with the word “comedian”, but when it comes to sophisticated analysis from Pink News, one’s expectations are invariably low.

Other activists have been hastily competing to see who can denounce the show in the most histrionic terms. The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) issued a statement in which they refer to Gervais as a “so-called comedian” (another clichĂ©) and claimed that SuperNature is “full of graphic, dangerous, anti-trans rants masquerading as jokes”, “anti-gay rhetoric” and assured us that Netflix would “be held accountable” for content that is “designed to incite hate or violence”.

None of these characterisations of the show is remotely close to the truth, but they do offer us an insight into how comedy is routinely misconstrued in the strange and moiling clamour of the culture wars. Far from “punching down”, Gervais exposes the increasingly unhinged ideology of the ruling class: the sanctification of gender identity.

We live in a time where the most prominent gay charity in the UK is promoting the homophobic myth that lesbians are the equivalent of racists if they exclude men from their dating pool. All major cultural, political, corporate and educational institutions (including the NHS, the BBC and the College of Policing) are in thrall to the new orthodoxy, while policymakers throughout the private and public sectors are urging employees to conform to the quasi-religious notion that we each have an innate gender identity. Are we seriously to believe that mocking this hugely powerful, regressive, and bullying movement is a form of “punching down”?

Gervais has been explicit in his support for equal rights for trans people. This ought to be a given, but such is the determination of these latter-day puritans to take jokes at face-value that it has become necessary for comedians to provide these caveats. “My target wasn’t trans folk,” Gervais explained, “but trans activist ideology. I’ve always confronted dogma that oppresses people and limits freedom of expression.”

Many of the criticisms levelled at Gervais have inevitably taken the form of straw men. One critic described Gervais’s “core demographic” as being the “sizeable brigade who believe ‘you can’t say anything anymore’”, even though finding anyone who sincerely makes this claim is a near-impossible task. Others have claimed that Gervais’s fans are opposed to free speech because they are responding to those who have taken issue with his special. But criticism is not the same as censorship; just as Gervais’s detractors are free to express their misgivings, so too are those who disagree. As Gervais puts it, “You can joke about whatever the fuck you like. And some people won’t like it and they will tell you they don’t like it. And then it’s up to you whether you give a fuck or not. And so on. It’s a good system.”

It’s true that a comedy show which does not stimulate laughter feels more like a lecture, and so it might be natural for those who watch Gervais without breaking a smile to reclassify it according to their tastes: a form of “hate speech”. But it takes quite a degree of narcissism to assume that one’s own view of what is and isn’t amusing should be the benchmark for all of humanity. To say “I don’t find that funny” is irrefutable and fair, given that humour is inherently subjective. To say “That’s not funny” is the most useless of criticisms because it is objectively false; anything can be funny to somebody.

More persuasive is the accusation that humour can be used as a form of bullying. Anyone who was ever bullied at school will be aware that the standard get-out clause is “it was only a joke!” I have seen a number of unscrupulous people libel others online, only to backtrack with the claim that they “were only joking”. Similarly, we are all aware of jokes that operate on the grim assumption that minority groups are inferior or ought to be treated with derision. Such jokes were popular many decades ago, but you would be hard-pushed to find a professional comedian who peddles such material today.

Yet activists are determined to interpret certain forms of comedy as manifestations of this outdated fashion for “punching down”. Largely, this originates in a lack of familiarity with the contemporary comedy circuit. We know this because whenever commentators claim that “Right-wing comedy” is racist, homophobic or sexist, they invariably cite examples of long-dead comics such as Bernard Manning.  But “Right-wing comedy” is a delicate shapeshifter; as a classification it beyond useless because it so often is applied indiscriminately; I was branded a “Right-wing comedian” in an article for Byline Times this week, even though my political views are largely more in accordance with the traditional Left.

Cenk Uygur, for example, claimed that Gervais was only making his jokes about gender identity to “get Right-wing love” and a “lucrative special”, as though Netflix’s commission was in any way dependent on the topics he chose to lampoon. But Gervais is not Right-wing, and it is laughable to suggest that he is attempting to woo a specific political demographic. Moreover, the most determined push-back against the pseudo-religion of gender identity has come from the Left; most notably feminists and gay activists who are rightly concerned about an ideology that is so explicitly hostile towards them.

Uygur’s attempt at mind-reading is par for the course. Much of the criticism levelled at Gervais, and subversive comedians more generally, tends to take the form of cod-psychological analysis. Musician Steve Albini launched into an extended variation on the genre, in which he explained that Gervais has morphed into his “boorish, selfish, unaware” comedy persona because “indulging the pretence eventually becomes so comfortable that it fuses with the person underneath”. What is actually happening is that Albini is making wild speculations about a total stranger’s artistic choices on the basis of his own misinterpretations.  In all such cases, the sheer certainty of these amateur psychoanalysts and mind-readers is striking.

Gervais is the latest in a long tradition of comedians successfully puncturing the pretensions of the powerful; he fulfils a similar role to the child in Hans Christian Andersen’s story, innocently observing that the emperor is naked when everyone else is too cowardly to do so. We have seen recently how many of our elected representatives are willing to nod along with the lie that the word “woman” cannot be satisfactorily defined. At times like these, we need the jester more than ever, for the jangling bells of his coxcomb to break the earnest silence of the court.


Andrew Doyle is a comedian and creator of the Twitter persona Titania McGrath

andrewdoyle_com

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Oliver Barclay
Oliver Barclay
1 year ago

I’m still waiting for “science” (because I trust The Science TM) to prove the existence of a gendered soul. When this happens, I’ll change my view that gender identity is a fantasy, created to explain a form of mental illness and to give narcissists a cause to rally around.

Until then, long live Andrew Doyle, Ricky Gervaise and of course, Titania McGrath.

Charles Lewis
Charles Lewis
1 year ago
Reply to  Oliver Barclay

Mental illness? Yes, yes, yes! That is the root of gender dysphoria, however much the activists try to hide it. Do we usually collude with a mental illness? Do we usually urge an anorexic to eat less or a self-harmer to carry on regardless? I think not.

AGA Johanna
AGA Johanna
1 year ago
Reply to  Charles Lewis

actually, Gender dysphoria is not synonymous with being transgender, it’s a symptom caused by social anxiety.
Also, being Transgender is not a mental illness, it’s not listed in the current DSM-V or the previous DSM-IV

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
1 year ago
Reply to  Oliver Barclay
David Simpson
David Simpson
1 year ago
Reply to  Justin Clark

I can’t believe this hasn’t been overdubbed – either that or Monty Python are far more prescient than I thought

John Montague
John Montague
1 year ago
Reply to  David Simpson

it’s genius isn’t it.. .and no, no overdubbing, written like that in 1979, 43 years ago. The crazed fundamentals of this ridiculous ideology have been around for a long time. it’s only in the last 8 – 10 years that it’s taken root and spread outward from some very awry and eccentric activist academic departments. I blame Steve Jobs.

Mark Hawkins
Mark Hawkins
1 year ago
Reply to  John Montague

Just look at how much Soros & co have pumped into scholarships the last 4 decades!
It’s a CCP ‘capture’ strategy, finance the college’s, universities et al so along with lobbying the professors & educators of finance,law, education,politics etc are promoting a specific ideology, indoctrination is what we are experiencing.

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
1 year ago
Reply to  John Montague

At the time we laughed out loud!
Little knowing this sh*te would one day take root!

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
1 year ago
Reply to  David Simpson

Not to mention “WHAT DID THE ROMANS EVER DO FOR US?”
Epic!

Diane Merriam
Diane Merriam
1 year ago
Reply to  Justin Clark

It’s been so long that I’d forgotten that clip. Hilarious 🙂

Mark McKee
Mark McKee
1 year ago
Reply to  Oliver Barclay

The idea of a gendered soul also constitutes a belief in the immaterial, which is logically inconsistent with atheism and a nihilistic worldview, so I am with you on this. Until these activist zealots get a life and move on from their childish, unfounded, misinformed contradictions we just have to keep pushing back at their madness!

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago
Reply to  Oliver Barclay

Surely if we have a soul it is by definition disembodied, i.e. not gendered?

AGA Johanna
AGA Johanna
1 year ago
Reply to  Oliver Barclay

well, there is no such thing as a soul of any kind, so there’s that…
But, Science, has discovered for decades now, that males and females have physically different brain structures, mainly in areas of grey matter.
Since about 2010, neuroscience has discovered that Transgender individuals, who have yet to start Hormone replacement therapy, have brains that are more closely matched physically to the sex they identify with. Likewise, other studies with the same findings have also found that Transgender brains also function in specific areas associated with male or female thought and emotional processes, to be precisely like the sex they identify with.
If you want to liken the brain, its physicality and thought process to a soul, knock yourself out

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago

What’s so worrying about this, is not that publications like Pink News negatively critique Ricky Gervais, but how all left-wing publications march in lock-step with each other to condemn entertainment that they do not like. It’s almost like there’s a centralized leadership layer telling them all what to say. Surely, when this occurs, news is no longer news, but merely propaganda?

Mark McKee
Mark McKee
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

You sound like you are ready to take that red pill, Julian! As of March 2021, News UK, Daily Mail Group and Reach dominated 90% of the UK national newspaper market (up from 71% in 2015)*. That is just the UK, so you can see how News UK (part of the Murdoch empire) is dominant worldwide too. James Bond movies don’t seem so outlandish anymore.
*Source: https://www.mediareform.org.uk/media-ownership/who-owns-the-uk-media

Last edited 1 year ago by Mark McKee
Ted Ditchburn
Ted Ditchburn
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark McKee

Quantify the size of the National newspaper market these days. Sales figures.
And then quantify the content of the Daily mail online, and then.. or tbh, don’t bother.
The point is that the National newspapers are a shadow of the things they once were and the new orthodoxy has been supported by new establishment that includes figures on TikTok, Insta and in Broadcast TV, Netfilx and so on, which is where the true reach of influential media is found these days.
Banging on about newspapers, that now sell less than ten percent of what they sold a decade or two ago, is becoming pointless.
Of course legacy news media have a place in the media world, they sit in what is a quite dysfuntional, and often toxic feedback loop with social media.
But to carry on if newspapers are as central as they were in 1980 or 1990 or even 2005, in directing opinion and influencing attitudes, is missing a very big point about the evolution of media in our society and culture over the last decade.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

I’ve recently come to the conclusion that our entire world these days has devolved into a negative feedback loop:

  1. A fringe group, somewhere, forms a coalition around a stupid or silly idea.
  2. The fringe group marches in the street to express themselves.
  3. A comedian, somewhere, pokes fun at the stupid idea.
  4. The fringe group feigns being offended and becomes vociferous.
  5. The media writes articles about the comedians and the offended fringe group.
  6. A crisis emerges.
  7. The average bloke thinks the world is going bonkers and soaks up the news about the crisis.
  8. Rinse and repeat.
Penny Adrian
Penny Adrian
1 year ago

The person I love most in the world is transgender: my son, who is a trans man. And I absolutely ADORE Ricky Gervais. Why? One reason is that he ridicules one of the groups I most despise: trans activists.
Why do I despise these people?
Because they make my kind, funny, open-minded, self aware son look like a petty science denying lunatic.
My son is far from humorless about his situation. He makes jokes like “You’ve got to be secure about your masculinity to walk around with a vagina.”
Like Gervais, he adores animals and wants to be a veterinarian one day. He is a science nerd and has zero problem acknowledging that he is genetically female. As he’s said before “How can a trans man not be genetically female? It isn’t possible.”
He would like to foster-adopt a child or children one day, but the trans activists don’t care about practical matters like helping trans people to adopt if they want to.
Nope.
Trans activists want to shove Lady Peens down everyone’s throat and make us mindlessly recite whatever new pronouns they come up with.
Trans activism is the WORST thing that could have happened to trans people, most of whom just want to live their lives discreetly without flipping all of society on its head.
Thank You for defending the brilliant Mr. Gervais.

Last edited 1 year ago by Penny Adrian
Ron Bo
Ron Bo
1 year ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

A lovely post Penny.
Why can’t we all live and let live?

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Excellent post, and interesting how what you say about trans people versus activists holds true for gay people vs gay activists as well.

Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

“You’ve got to be secure about your masculinity to walk around with a vagina” – I adore this! The more people like you and your son who say this the less people will listen to the TRAs. They absolutely do not serve genuine trans people, and I believe are dangerous to them (and women, but that’s a given)

Mikis Hasson
Mikis Hasson
1 year ago

Fanatics in general are devoid of all sense of humor, especially regarding the field of their passionate beliefs. Protecting humor should be the objective of anyone that wishes to remain outside the herd. Bravo Ricky Gervais!

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago

One element of comedy is the mocking of taboo subjects. The court jester could mock the king where his courtiers dared not. The left have elevated a whole raft of subjects to the level of serious things that should not be mocked so naturally provide an open goal for comedians who are unconstrained by the taboo. Long may they take advantage. Mocking Trump for example is not taboo so has no true comedic element.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

It’s gotten to the point where the only groups they are allowed to mock are straight Christian men.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

hear hear

Paul O
Paul O
1 year ago

Loved Ricky Gervais when he first appeared on the scene in the 11 O’clock Show with the excellent Daisy Donovan and Sacha Baron Cohen. Then he seemed to go through a few years where he was a bit up up himself. I suppose massive fame can do that to you. But now he has returned to that ‘who cares’ , dangerous form of comedy, at which he is so awesome at. I reckon he would make an awesome dinner guest. He seems like a really nice chap.

Charles Lewis
Charles Lewis
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul O

To me, he seems a snide little bu–er (just my personal opinion, of course)

Aldo Maccione
Aldo Maccione
1 year ago

Remember when comedy was about laughing ? And not about message, topics, themes and demographics ?

Robert Quark
Robert Quark
1 year ago
Reply to  Aldo Maccione

It’s true that a comedy show which does not stimulate laughter feels more like a lecture

See: most comedy on BBC2, BBC3 or stand-up comedy on Radio 4; faddish new comics such as the risible Hannah Gadsby; or all comics who self-importantly pile-on to any other comic who says anything they do not feel appropriate.

Robert Quark
Robert Quark
1 year ago
Reply to  Robert Quark

PS and as a side point, for those who grew up knowing Steve Albini as an arch and snarky (frequently hilarious) commenter, not to mention outrageously talented and actually edgy musician and music recorder. It is a terrifically sad indictment of our times and the man himself to now see him as some kind of self-appointed naysayer of anything or anyone who does not strictly adhere to the mindless orthodoxy he would have spat at only a couple of years ago.

Christian
Christian
1 year ago
Reply to  Robert Quark

‘Risible’ is what I look for in a comedian.

Malcolm Ripley
Malcolm Ripley
1 year ago

Well the outrage is going to make Ricky Gervais and Netflix a fortune ! Not only are these woke fanatics humourless they are also mind numbingly stupid. They have just provided far better and far cheaper advertising for this new show than any amount of MSM advertising could achieve.
I think it’s about time to drop this left-right assessment of politics and attitudes. I’m left, pretty much in alignment with Russell Brand and we all know he his ruffling many left/woke feathers right now. IMHO politics has shifted from a left-right paradigm to a centralised or not. The centralised wing have large corp thinking, big state, global solutions, NWO (!!), intellectual superiority complex etc. On the other side we have those speaking out about the centralisation, corruption and control of the current system and wish to promote local solutions, small business, self governing small communities etc. Is there a name for all of this. Ok folks behave yourself and don’t call one side “facism”…..although it’s pretty close.
I think we are now in a centralism vs localism world and all the centralists are in switzerland right now!

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Malcolm Ripley

It may have become the sole purpose of these “outrages.”

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

You could make a case that all the cliches in quotes are thought-terminating cliches.
“so-called comedian”
“anti-gay rhetoric”
“punching down”
“hate speech”
“Right-wing comedy”
Assertions intended to end consideration or further debate. Ask someone using such a cliche ‘How bad was that hate speech on a scale of 1 to 10?’ – they will probably be stuck on’10’ no matter what.
Thought-terminating cliches are also common in cults where individual thoughts are discouraged.

Mark McKee
Mark McKee
1 year ago

Andrew, love it! I find it hilarious when you point out Gervais’s detractors are labelling him a “so-called comedian”. One only has to do a quick search to find that poor Ricky only has a net worth of about $140 million. Clearly not much of a comedian, so he must have gotten his money from selling the Big Issue! Keep up the good work of lampooning the histrionics brigade!

Vince B
Vince B
1 year ago

“But it takes quite a degree of narcissism…”
Narcissism. That is the most striking feature of radical trans activism. A tiny minority of the human population demands that the rest of humanity turn itself inside out to accomodate them. We must twist our language into knots, our basic understanding of sex and biology, allow unfair sports competition, teach our children ascientific nonsense as part of sex education, etc., all so they can feel better about themselves.
It would be akin to me traveling to central Botswana and becoming enraged that nobody speaks perfect American English, then calling all Botswanans hateful bigots for failing to do so.

Nick Wade
Nick Wade
1 year ago

Thank God for the likes of Gervais and Co. Who else will speak up, when the leading politicians of the land are incapable of explaining to their electorate what a woman is? If that’s a measure of their intellectual gifts, and moral courage, how are they to solve the real problems hurtling towards us?

I thought Super Nature was great. I didn’t laugh at everything, but it made me laugh more than most things on TV these days. I don’t think he can ever top his story in “Humanity” of transitioning to be a chimp though.

Last edited 1 year ago by Nick Wade
Earl King
Earl King
1 year ago

If you cannot laugh at people what will you do? Laugh at hyenas or baboons? “Hey did you hear about the Praying Manits, the Ant and slug that went in to the bar”? Humans and human behavior is funny.
No, men cannot have babies, or abortions or breast feed. To feed in to this mental illness is certainly wrong on a science level, on an emotional lever it is a societal level it is suicide. Transgenders do not have a high suicide rate because of how society treats them. It is the gender dysphoria they live with. I believe they believe they are living in a body they do not belong in. It must be horrible. On the other hand you are born with XX or XY and generally that is your sex. It is one thing to want to live as another sex and if you are willing to do so feel free….but do not expect me to believe that if are XY Chromosome you can have a baby

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

Thank f*** for Ricky Gervais.

Don Holden
Don Holden
1 year ago

Cenk Uyghur, Steve Albini, never bloody heard of them !

David Bullard
David Bullard
1 year ago
Reply to  Don Holden

Aren’t the Uyghurs being persecuted by the Chinese? Or is that the other side of the family?

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Don Holden

I’d never read the word “moiling” before, and as usual, it’s perfect in its aptness. Such words deserve to be kept in parlance, thanks Andrew!

Andy O'Gorman
Andy O'Gorman
1 year ago
Reply to  Don Holden

I’ve heard of Cenk and if Stevie is anything like Cenk – I will give him a wide birth!

Steve Elliott
Steve Elliott
1 year ago

It says in the article
“Gervais has been explicit in his support for equal rights for trans people.”
But I’m a little hazy about what that actually means. Isn’t it set in law that everyone in this country (UK) has equal rights so the statement doesn’t really have to be said. The usual way of putting it is more like this – “I stand up for trans rights” which is not quite the same thing because it seems to imply that trans people should have special rights separate from the rights everyone has. Or am I misunderstanding?

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago

There have been humorless finger wagging zealots who can’t take a joke in every era. They used to thump Bibles or Korans, but now they thump critical race theory textbooks and LGBTQ+ pamphlets. Their failure to appreciate humor and their zealotry spring from the same source, namely their inability to consider any point of view beyond their own. Humor requires a certain amount of flexibility in thinking. It requires looking at familiar things in a new way, changing your perspective. The zealot cannot do this, and so his only recourse is to ridicule, complain, censor, and cancel that which does not reaffirm his fixed, immovable view of the world.

Mark Hawkins
Mark Hawkins
1 year ago

We should probably be ready for the ‘identity’ mathematics push!?, Only 2-9 can be used, one & zero triggers the ‘non-binary’, & all computers will be burnt on a pyre for reinforcement of binary is dominant for effective processes!?
😉

David Bullard
David Bullard
1 year ago

For a ‘so called comedian’ young Ricky has done rather well for himself. And who on earth is this Steve Albini? (presumably an Albino with a split personality—–pronouns they/them?)

Andy O'Gorman
Andy O'Gorman
1 year ago
Reply to  David Bullard

Hello DB.

Andy O'Gorman
Andy O'Gorman
1 year ago
Reply to  David Bullard

Why are you not contributing here? I’m sure you would have good time doing so.

Sarah Tonin
Sarah Tonin
1 year ago

I often encounter disavowels of conservative sympathies when reading pieces which criticize current leftist aberrations. In fact it’s become a sort of game with me to find the predictable disclaimer. Here it is in this piece:”…I was branded a “Right-wing comedian” in an article for Byline Times this week, even though my political views are largely more in accordance with the traditional Left.”
Other commenters here in the U.S. such as Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi, and Bill Maher routinely proclaim their liberal bona fides while eviserating leftwing lunacy. Why is it necessary to do this? Will they be canceled in their trendy social circles or somehow black balled in their professions? They all have attained a state of clarity but still insisist upon maintaining membership in a political group they find fault in. What gives?

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Sarah Tonin

Not sure why you see a problem. Reflection & criticism of self, own country, tribe etc is a sign of maturity. Keep your own house in order, let those without sin…., those in glass houses etc. Further, Maher & others are very clear on why they do so – they think the current GOP is contemptible, beyond saving; all that can be done is strengthen the centre.

Andy O'Gorman
Andy O'Gorman
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

And where is that center now? I personally think the Democrats are certifiably insane – even those who call themselves ‘moderates’. As for the existing Republicans with all the RINO’s, it has just become Democrat light in that they have acquiesced to the left for far too long. The cesspool that is Washington is the prevailing problem.

Trump was right about one thing and that was the swamp people control America.

Tony Sandy
Tony Sandy
1 year ago

All censorship is murder of the mind. If you find anything written or spoken offensive, it is simply because there is something in your life you are not looking at and don’t want to know about yourself. In other words you are defending a lie you are telling yourself about yourself. These lot are paranoid bullies, trying to hide the truth by projecting their fear of being found out as pretentious idiots, on other people. This is a defensive stance, not an open, innocent one of self-expression. In the words of a song I once wrote, now lost in the mists of time ‘Conform, conform! Do what I say. Conform, conform! Do things my way.’

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Sandy

I fully agree with your first sentence, and completely disagree with your second. Mature adults can make that distinction and behave accordingly. Voltaire had a little something to say on the subject.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

who gives a damn about all this woke nonsense anyway? well done RG

Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre
1 year ago

Everyone should but not in the way they want us to. Weve got to give a damn because at best it’s propping up dangerous stereotypes at worst it’s phydicslly dangerous for kids, for women and for genuine trans people.

James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago

Ricky Gervais goes up in my estimation lately but, with $140m in the bank, he can afford to upset people. In the left right horns of the horseshoe, right and left are nigh on meeting and neither have a sense of humour. If the gender folk think whatever they are doing makes them happpy and the rest unhappy, scornful or indifferent then they are obviously misguided. Respect is earned not demanded as if by a spoilt child. We should all know what goes round comes round.

Paul Hughes
Paul Hughes
1 year ago

When I first read Titania I laughed out loud. But with apologies to Bob Monkhouse: I’m not laughing now.
On a recent reread it sounds more like a hitch hikers guide to standard 21st century orthodoxy.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paul Hughes
Julian Pellatt
Julian Pellatt
1 year ago

Go Ricky!

Ingrid Nozahic
Ingrid Nozahic
1 year ago

I’m waiting for Titania to comment but I don’t think she would read Unherd.

Anna Lowenstein
Anna Lowenstein
1 year ago

So what did he actually say? I’m curious, but I can’t find it in the article.

Hendrik Mentz
Hendrik Mentz
1 year ago

Salient. Why did the author not link to at least one offending clip?

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

Because it’s all about selling the show.

Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

Copyright law? The Netflix official clip is his introduction to irony.

Al M
Al M
1 year ago

For those asking (I can’t seem to post a reply) Steve Albini is a fairly notable musician and producer in the realm of US hardcore punk. Some of it is pretty good. Not averse to controversy himself with one early band having the delightful name of R @ pÂŁman. Named after a Japanese comic character, apparently. There you go.

neil pryke
neil pryke
1 year ago

Never apologise, never explain…

Satirical Scene
Satirical Scene
1 year ago

Comedians’ role was always to play the “holy fool”, to turn things onto their heads and look askance at social “truths” as an emergency responder, a front-line worker whose job is to get out of line. But you’ve got to be wise to play the fool, especially around pandemics within a society already in the throes of indigi-queer de-centering anti-ablist anti-colonialist antagonisms … and such.
As a first responder you’re looking for the funny side of things, but you keep finding hidden sides of miserable things. Life is funny that way. … SatiricalScene: The Comic in Tragic Times

Lord Rochester
Lord Rochester
1 year ago

Vanity Fair has a very, very patronising article full of inverted commas on just this subject, too.

Ron Bo
Ron Bo
1 year ago

Trans women are women!War is peace, diversity is our strength and so on……….

Andy O'Gorman
Andy O'Gorman
1 year ago

Thanks for the honest and enjoyable article.
With so much to read and see, as a necessity, I have placed comedy right at the back of my to-do scheduling.
But having read this I will make concerted effort to watch Gervais on Netflix as soon as I have an hour or two to spare.
It’s crazy that in retirement one can be so busy!

Andy O'Gorman
Andy O'Gorman
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy O'Gorman

Just watched this show of Ricky’s now and had a great laugh, which is a good way to start any day.

Aye, cats, dogs and…

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
1 year ago

The labelling was (intentionally?) wrong in the first place.
A man who thinks he wants to transition to a woman is not a trans women but a trans(itioning) man.
A woman who thinks she wants to transition to a man is a trans(itioning) woman.
As assigned at birth.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

FANTASTIC… Keep taking the mickey, Ricky!!!

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Of course the great Indian comedians in ” Goodness Gracious me” mercilessly take the P out of… Indians, and look at the famous Jewish American comedians, latterly Larry David, who do the same to Jewish people, Peter Cooke, who mocked his own class….. I suggest that certain ” minorities” take note?
……

arthur brogard
arthur brogard
1 year ago

I think the idea that we all have gender identity are wrong but close to a truth. Because I believe we are essentially kinda immortal ‘spirits’ that inhabit human bodies.
Hence really we are sexless and genderless.
Your physical sex being a function of the genes in your body – and some few bodies have unusual mixes and bodies can be male and female at once.
And your gender being a psychological attribute intimately involved with your perception of bodies and your nurture to believe them to be ‘you’.
So I’d go along with ‘I am not my body’ but I won’t go along with ‘I am female in a male body’ or any permutation of that.
And my contention is that we simply for convenience sort people according to physical body type and we should be able to do that without any fuss and commotion, it generally serves us very well.
And the claiming of actually being of a different ‘gender’ is maybe a psychological aberration, maybe even an effect of a physical chemical aberration, maybe a memory of a past life – who knows? But not relevant to the sorting of human bodies according to their sex.
The only thing that needs ‘allowance’ is to cater for those caught in a body with these genealogical mixups. It should be recognised it can happen. Is it well recognised in the field of pornography but it seems almost entirely unknown to the population at large despite their supposed fixation on porn.
It must be quite a strain for such people in some circumstances and we should grow up and provide for them.
We should grow up.
Now there’s pissing into the wind for you…

Ron Bo
Ron Bo
1 year ago

War is peace,diversity is our strength and trans women are women.

Alana Clarke
Alana Clarke
1 year ago

Sadly such confusion and lack of understanding of the difference between sex and gender.

Alana Clarke
Alana Clarke
1 year ago

Sadly such confusion and lack of understanding of the difference between sex and gender.

Victor T
Victor T
1 year ago

I was with you until this

Gervais is the latest in a long tradition of comedians successfully puncturing the pretensions of the powerful;

Trans folks are powerful now? Man, how thin skinned do you have to be to take criticisms from a marginalized community as being an attack from the ‘powerful’?

harry storm
harry storm
1 year ago
Reply to  Victor T

Trans “folks” may not be powerful but trans activists and their lobby certainly are, given their near monopoly on determining what people in government, media, schools, NGOs etc. are allowed to say. So yes, punching up.

Rupert Steel
Rupert Steel
1 year ago

We started watching this on Netflix but turned it off after Gervais said ‘c**t’ for no reason at all and the audience laughed. This was right at the beginning, and it seemed like the start of a very dull session.

Andy O'Gorman
Andy O'Gorman
1 year ago
Reply to  Rupert Steel

Rupert, I have a few friends whose vocabulary is top notch and they would walk circles around you without having to resort to one scatological word. However, you would probably not be able to follow the conversation and so they too use vulgarities to keep their audience awake. As someone mentioned this is not a lecture on morals! And i would have tuned out if he had somehow become all PC. At 68 I have acquired all the morality I need taught to me by my parents.

But that is the the beauty of freedom of choice is that you are quite entitled not to watch!

Last edited 1 year ago by Andy O'Gorman
Chris Bredge
Chris Bredge
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy O'Gorman

I think that c**t is more gynaecological than scatological but agree with your final sentence 😉

Don Lightband
Don Lightband
1 year ago

I for one find it troubling that a court jester as active as Gervais cannot yet tackle the even bigger, more totalitarian social reality, which is basically that of the UK’s reinvention of ‘Satan’ as ‘Savile’, and the thousands of imaginary ‘nonces’ who are fed to this ceaselessly fattened image every day…

Last edited 1 year ago by Don Lightband