In defence of Stewart Lee

A comedian took the piss out of someone's name. Calm down, everyone.

Brendan O'Neill
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Topics Free Speech UK

As spiked has been arguing for years now – much to the fury of both hard-right haters and Zio-obsessed lefties – anti-Semitism has returned with a vengeance. Anyone who has received emails from far-right fanatics accusing them of being slaves to the Jewish agenda (as I have), or who has witnessed the rebirth of the Socialism of Fools among lefties who call Israelis Nazis and who make quips about the ‘Holocaust Industry’ and ‘Shoah-business’, will know that the world’s oldest hatred hasn’t gone away.

And it’s precisely because of the seriousness of anti-Jewish racism, of this malicious scourge, that everyone really needs to calm down about Stewart Lee’s Observer column.

Lee is the one-time funnyman turned dull-as-shit Remoaner (Remainerism laid to waste so much of the cultural talent in this country). He’s in hot water over his column for the Observer, and amazingly not because it is an increasingly unreadable half-arsed effort at Milliganesque satire and surrealism in which a dreamlike style is deployed to disguise the fact that all his columns contain the same incurious, formulaic, anti-masses talking points disguised as ideas that you will find in virtually every Guardian / Observer op-ed.

No, it’s because his column in this weekend’s paper took the piss out of someone’s name and was apparently anti-Semitic.

Lee targeted Tom Tugendhat, a Conservative MP of Jewish heritage. He made fun of the foreignness of Tugendhat’s name. He openly contrasted it to plainer, more understandable English names. ‘Many names – Fisher, Cook, Smith – derive from ancient trades. But “Tugendhat” is just different words put together, like Waspcupfinger, Appendixhospitalwool, Abortionmaqaquesymptom.’

The first thing to note about this is that it isn’t very funny. In my view. I’m sure in the view of Lee’s middle-class fanbase – who unironically use phrases like ‘anti-comedy’ and think anyone who laughs at Only Fools and Horses is proof of the uneven nature of human evolution – it is hilarious. The second thing to note is that it is never big and clever to mock foreign-sounding names. But that’s okay – there’s no requirement of people to be big and clever.

And the third thing to note – both in the column itself and in the response – is the double standards. As many people have asked, would Lee have made fun of a Muslim-origin name or a Caribbean name? Oh no – he’s writing a 45-minute monologue for BBC Two at this very minute on people who ask questions like that, isn’t he? We probably deserve it.

There’s so much hypocrisy, I know. Lee himself once defended political correctness on the basis that it is just ‘institutionalised politeness’ and that the left are not ‘killjoys’ for worrying about how minority groups are ‘represented’. Maybe that doesn’t apply to Jews? Just other minority groups? Now this is funny: Lee calls anyone who doesn’t agree with his Crouch End coffee-house views ‘alt-right’, yet he and the alt-right seem to have a shared interest in flagging up the foreignness of folks with Jewish names.

The double standard can also be seen in the defences of Lee coming from leftish circles. From the kind of people who went all-out to destroy Danny Baker’s career when, shortly after Meghan Markle gave birth to her son, he tweeted a photo of a well-dressed couple walking a chimpanzee in a suit and said: ‘Royal baby leaves hospital.’ That Baker was being anti-monarchy rather than racist, and that he swiftly deleted the tweet and apologised, didn’t matter. He had to be cast out. Innocence was no defence. But for Stewart Lee it is. How interesting.

Is that because Lee is a clever comic much loved by the national broadcaster and whose audiences are 100 per cent Remainer, while Baker is ‘just’ a cheeky radio host? Or is it because mocking black people (which Baker wasn’t actually doing) is somehow worse than mocking Jews (which Lee wasn’t actually doing)? Someone will answer this soon, I have no doubt…

But forget the double standards. Just because the purveyors of the new censoriousness that gets dolled up as ‘institutionalised politeness’ have double standards, that doesn’t mean the rest of us have to. We should defend Lee’s right to make lame jokes just as much as we would (or should) Danny Baker’s, Count Dankula’s, Roy Chubby Brown’s, and even Jack Whitehall’s, whose inoffensiveness is genuinely offensive. Lee was making a joke. He wasn’t being racist. Calm down, everyone.

When it comes to racism, intention matters. If we remove intention, if we say people can be racist without intending to be, then we will reduce racism to just a lapse in manners, an unwitting social faux pas, which I think drains racism of its wicked, conscious hatefulness. Seeing racism everywhere really isn’t very helpful. It’s a crying-wolf situation. If we get so obsessed with the ‘racism’ of a white celeb wearing her hair in cornrows, or a friendly student making conversation by asking a black student where he comes from, or Lee observing that Tug End and Hat are three different words put together, then we will miss real racism when it appears. To call Lee’s column anti-Semitic is to downplay what anti-Semitism means.

The snowflakes on the right are as bad as the snowflakes on the left. They pose as the defenders of liberty and the right to be offensive in today’s culture-war clashes, yet as soon as a Beeb luvvie like Lee makes an off-colour comment they are reaching for the smelling salts and writing to IPSO. Freedom of speech is indivisible, people. Do you really think Stewart Lee hates Jews? If so, I think you’re an idiot. If not, relax. Go for a walk. Forget about it. It’s just a newspaper column.

Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked and host of the spiked podcast, The Brendan O’Neill Show. Subscribe to the podcast here. And find Brendan on Instagram: @burntoakboy

Picture by: YouTube.

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Comments

Anne Fagit

10th July 2020 at 4:10 pm

I love Stewart Lee, he is one of my favorite comics ever. He really really resonates with me across both his life and mine (we’re gay!) but…
Those “Stewart Lee” FaceBook groups can go fuck themselves.
They probably fuck kids.
They definitely don’t have a sense of humour.
They spend all year sucking Corbyn’s dicks (one of which is Dianne Abbott – that fat ugly CUNT).

Hugh Bryant

22nd May 2020 at 10:34 pm

“Lee was making a joke.”

Stewart Lee hasn’t ‘made a joke’ for at least ten years. The zeitgeist has moved on, I’m afraid. The kind of comedy that Lee wants to express depends for laughs on unpredictability. Lee is predictable. His ‘insights’ might once have been insightful. Now they’re just banal.

Ivor D

22nd May 2020 at 6:18 pm

Lee is NPC

:7|

Jerry Owen

19th May 2020 at 5:12 pm

Well little Jonnie.. where are you?
Time to admit you have changed your name a few times in the past!

ZENOBIA PALMYRA

19th May 2020 at 7:56 pm

Jerry Owen the obsessed nutter.

Jerry Owen

19th May 2020 at 8:26 pm

ZP the fake.
Who thinks we voted to join the EU.

Jonnie Henly

20th May 2020 at 3:04 am

Wrong again Jerry!

What have I changed it from? Exactly, no answer! Stop lying.

Jerry Owen

20th May 2020 at 12:24 pm

Little Jonnie
I didn’t say you had an anonymous account, I said you are anonymous in that you have changed your name as I have already mentioned .. do keep up.

Jonnie Henly

20th May 2020 at 4:57 pm

“I didn’t say you had an anonymous account, I said you are anonymous”

Wow, Jerry contradicts himself in the space of 1 sentence!

You mentioned nothing about me changing my name, you said I was anonymous and that I hid behind it.

Wrong!

Jonnie Henly

20th May 2020 at 3:12 am

Jerry, how have I hidden behind an anonymous account?

Jon or Jonnie isn’t anonymous. So when have I done that, as you claimed I did?

Another lie from you!

And you’ve run away!

In Negative

19th May 2020 at 9:55 am

In Negative

19th May 2020 at 9:56 am

Bah, that should have read ‘Stewart Lee mocking a Muslim’

Anne Fagit

19th May 2020 at 6:47 am

Responding to: “Lee is a clever comic much loved by the national broadcaster and whose audiences are 100 per cent Remainer”.

Not quite true.
I own all of Stewart Lee’s DVDs, the only other comedian I can say that about is Chris Morris.
I am a huge Stewart Lee fan, have been since the 90’s.
I’ve also voted for UKIP twice. And leave in Brexit. And for Anne Widdecombe as an MEP.

Additionally, I am one of many Stewart Lee fans who has been thrown out of Lee themed FB groups (etc) for expressing non-Corbyn compliant views.

Jerry Owen

19th May 2020 at 7:48 am

Ann
Your last sentence kind of endorses Brendan’s article.

Jerry Owen

19th May 2020 at 7:49 am

‘Anne’ !

Anthony Christie

18th May 2020 at 11:22 pm

In my opinion, Stewart Lee is a complete end-hat tugger.

Mike Coops

18th May 2020 at 10:39 pm

Some people have lost their sense of humour and the left are prime candidates,very sad.

Paul Donaldson

18th May 2020 at 8:07 pm

Comedy is like fashion, Kevin Bridges is the new look. Stewart Lee is like Ben Elton, David Baddiel, Franky Boyle et al, funny as f..k for a while, but like a song you no longer listen to very often, just not the same appeal any more.

Jonnie Henly

18th May 2020 at 7:32 pm

“The double standard can also be seen in the defences of Lee coming from leftish circles.”

Erm….. such as? And don’t say: ‘this random nobody on twitter’.

Anni jhone

18th May 2020 at 7:17 pm

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Al Wilson

18th May 2020 at 8:12 pm

Is that a Stewart Lee routine ?

Jonathan Marshall

18th May 2020 at 9:48 pm

Certainly sounds like one!

David Graham

18th May 2020 at 6:20 pm

Perhaps part of the game nowadays is playing people at their own game, or perceived as such. It’s probably counterproductive or not worth it. Similar to defending someone who might not be worth defending? Reading too much into everything for unconscious or conscious bias or malicious intent also does seem to be common too. That seems to be a deliberate strategy for some as well. It’s difficult to say on social media, or even MSM.

Andrew-Paul Shakespeare

18th May 2020 at 6:15 pm

“or a friendly student making conversation by asking a black student where he comes from”

Now, here’s a point. I recently started a new job, and one of my new colleagues was clearly eastern European. Because I’m too old to give a toss about this new, walking-on-eggshells, exhausting PC of today, and because we were getting along well, I asked where he was from. ” I figure you’re either Czech or Polish, ” I added, “but I’m not sure which.”

A couple of other workers, part-timers from Cardiff University, one of our woker institutions which banned Germaine Greer for being too right wing, stiffened, but my interlocutor cheerfully confirmed that he was Polish.

He then proceeded to reminisce about the beauties and joys of Poland for the next twenty minutes. It was clear that he is rather homesick, and he was delighted to be given the opportunity to wax lyrical about home. We’ve been firm friends ever since. Not a trace of offence taken. The precise opposite, actually.

It’s the same for me, too. As a Welshman, I’m always pleased when somebody else takes an interest in my origins. Why wouldn’t I be honoured to have somebody who wants to learn about a country that is so much a part of me?

Am I ashamed to be a Welshman? It’s my colleague ashamed to be Polish? Of course not! So why would we take offence at somebody being interested in something we’re proud of?

George Orwell

18th May 2020 at 7:27 pm

I fully agree.
The PC imperative is to somehow ignore interesting differences whereas I like to note and celebrate them.
As a half Jew half Methodist I had no problem with a chap who was clearly anti-semitic due to his sad experience of Jewish terrorists in the Palestinian Mandate prior to the creation of Israel. Nonetheless we got on well and I was made an executor to his estate when he passed away.
Tolerance and a sense of humour go a long way but political correctness seeks to suppress both.

jessica christon

18th May 2020 at 5:57 pm

‘But “Tugendhat” is just different words put together, like Waspcupfinger, Appendixhospitalwool, Abortionmaqaquesymptom.’

Speak for yourself, I thought that was quite good, lol!

Eric Praline

18th May 2020 at 6:41 pm

Ditto. I voted leave but I think his stand-up material is generally pretty funny, a juxtaposition many seem to find incomprehensible.

ZENOBIA PALMYRA

19th May 2020 at 7:56 pm

PRALINE:

‘a smooth, sweet substance made by boiling nuts in sugar and grinding the mixture, used especially as a filling for chocolates.’

KATHLEEN CARR

18th May 2020 at 5:20 pm

I used to find Stewart Lee ( with his Chinese sounding surname ) funny when he was partnered with Richard Herring. I didn’t realize his column in the Observer was supposed to be funny, I just thought that together with most BBC/Radio 4/’left-wing’ comedy nowadays that the hatred expressed to anyone not of their cliche makes them only comedic to a tiny minority, as its basically a party political broadcast-and we all know how hilarious they are.

Eric Praline

18th May 2020 at 6:14 pm

Do you only find people funny if you agree with them politically?

KATHLEEN CARR

18th May 2020 at 7:08 pm

No but since the 1980’s a comedian will suddenly make a gratutiously rude remark against a tory to show their credentials. Perhaps this is necessary for them to gain work-as the world seems to have moved from comedy like Morecambe and Wise who I have no idea what their politics were . I don’t have any political views-I despise all politicians equally.

ZENOBIA PALMYRA

19th May 2020 at 7:57 pm

PRALINE:

‘a smooth, sweet substance made by boiling nuts in sugar and grinding the mixture, used especially as a filling for chocolates.’

Gordon Y Gopher

18th May 2020 at 5:09 pm

I’m not sure you can really compare Stewart Lee’s treatment to Danny Baker’s. Bakers is pretty successful and wealthy, I doubt Lee is. So the bigger you are the harder you fall. No double standards in that.

I agree what you say about ‘racism’ though. It’s a bit like the word cunt. If you call everyone a cunt then what do you call the really cunty people? Cunt really needs to be saved for special occasions, otherwise you take away cunt’s power. So please stop overusing cunt. Ok? Cunt

Mike Oliver

18th May 2020 at 4:33 pm

Headline: In defence of Stewart Lee
First sentence: Lee is the one-time funnyman turned dull-as-shit Remoaner

Brendan, if I ever get myself in trouble, please don’t defend me. Thanks

Graham Southern

18th May 2020 at 5:52 pm

He aint wrong though. Enjoy that prison cell!

Gary Coop

18th May 2020 at 4:11 pm

‘Lee calls anyone who doesn’t agree with his Crouch End coffee-house views ‘alt-right’,”

Does he though?

Does he REALLY?

Did he ever?

I do get tired of this kind of lazy “journalism”, Brendan. Less words from you and more truth might be nice.

Stick to the truth?

When writing about other people make an effort to stick to the truth?

Lee is an English comedian with a vast back catalogue of writings, observations and speech.

Given what we know about his persona/career he is almost certainly never going to have claimed that the only people who could possibly disagree with “his crouch end coffee house views” are “THE ALT RIGHT – THEY’RE THE ONLY ONES. EVERYONE WHO DOESN’T LAUGH ALONG WITH ME AT THE UKIPS IS ALT RIGHT AND DISGUSTING”

Credit Stewart Lee with the intelligence, skills, modes of thought, behaviour patterns, characteristics traits, worries and introspection of a fairly decent, sane, average and normal English man.

We can guess he doesn’t spend his evenings eating pigs bladders while screaming at his wife and children that “Everyone who lives in Kent is a racist. A RACIST. Pass me another pig bladder. Fish and chips is for Brexit voters only. ONLY THEM. NO ONE ELSE LIKES FISH AND CHIPS’

I have never met Bradley Walsh but I’ll hazard two guesses, based purely on watching him in Corrie and presenting The Chase:

1. He has said something he regrets.
2. He has never once told his wife and son that “The only people who disagree with my views are the alt-right.”

I make these two guesses based on limited knowledge of Bradley Walsh in particular but with plenty of experience of mixing with men and women in England.

We all understand that Bradley Walsh is likely to say something funny at a funeral while also having the social skills to not have everyone at said funeral threatening to kill him. He sits somewhere on a spectrum of “normal”. As does Stewart Lee.

As a general rule of thumb, the following phrase never crops up in conversations amongst English adults:

‘My views are 100 percent correct and the only people who disagree with me are the alt-right”

Most English adults have never even used the word “alt right”. Millions would have no idea what it means and rare indeed is the comedian, artist, poet, union leader, feminist art student, hospital porter or geography teacher who would tell his/her grandmother that ‘everyone who disagrees with my views on the bedroom tax is alt-right filth, gran. That’s all they are.”

I have never met Stewart Lee, Bradley Walsh or David Mitchell but I hazard a guess all 3 can sit in a pub with me and understand nuance and have at least basic abilities to reason. David Mitchell is hardly going to accuse Walsh of being alt-right following a 47 second argument about post-Brexit farming policy.

Al Wilson

18th May 2020 at 4:10 pm

People look for offence too often. Pretty certain Stewart Lee isn’t racist, just as Danny Baker wasn’t when he posted the monkey pic. Also too much labelling – ordinary people love Lee just as Only Fools and Horses can be funny – at the doctors Del behind the screen the doctor says ‘Do you smoke Mr Trotter ?’ ‘ Not now doctor, thanks’ and having been told to strip to the waist, the female doctor quickly emerges and says ‘ I meant from the waist up Mr Trotter’. Working class people like comedy.

James Conner

18th May 2020 at 4:55 pm

Danny Baker’s monkey clip ‘was’ racist, and it was funny as hell. Pity he hadn’t got the balls to admit it.

Al Wilson

18th May 2020 at 5:16 pm

It was funny, but I think people who thought it racist are either hypersensitive, or they want it to be racist. Funnier still was his retort to the BBC controller who told him he was fired -Fuck you and fuck off. He only missed out on Millwall !

James Conner

23rd May 2020 at 5:58 am

“Funnier still was his retort to the BBC controller who told him he was fired”

But even funnier still was his grovelling apology: “..of it.
“I would like once and for all to apologise to every single person who, quite naturally, took the awful connection at face value. I understand that and all of the clamour and opprobrium I have faced since. I am not feeling sorry for myself. I f****d up. Badly.

“But it was a genuine, naive and catastrophic mistake. …

“I am now paying the price for this crass and regrettable blunder and rightly so. Probably even this final word from me will extend the mania. (‘Dog whistle’ anyone?) I would like to thank friends on here for their kinder words and once again – I am so, so sorry.”

Highland Fleet Lute

18th May 2020 at 9:57 pm

Al Wilson? The soul singer?

Wow!

And there was me thinking you died on April 21, 2008, of kidney failure, in Fontana, California, at the age of 68.

Al Wilson

19th May 2020 at 7:44 am

” The Snake” ! Brilliant tune

Gordon Y Gopher

18th May 2020 at 3:37 pm

Stan Lee…. I mean Stewart Lee is one of those comedians who gets far more attention than his comedy deserves.

A bit like Owen Jones. But at least Owen Jones doesn’t pretend to be a comedian.

Gordon Y Gopher

18th May 2020 at 3:43 pm

And before you ask …. yes I know Stan, I mean Stewart Lee doesn’t get much attention. But it’s still far more than his comedy deserves.

Gordon Y Gopher

18th May 2020 at 3:49 pm

What is quite funny about Stewart Lee is how much he hates successful comedians like Michael MacIntyre who also isn’t funny but at least MacIntyre laughs at the bits he finds funny so we know when to laugh with him.

I’ve no idea when I’m supposed to laugh at Lee. In fact I only know I’m supposed to laugh because it says on the tin that he’s a comedian.

Jerry Owen

18th May 2020 at 4:22 pm

Owen Jones is a comedian, he just doesn’t know it.

Ivor Million

18th May 2020 at 6:04 pm

The same applies to the moron Jerry Owen.

Jerry Owen

18th May 2020 at 8:37 pm

Ivor Million
Despite all your claims of being the font of all things medical.. you haven’t shared any yet ..I wonder why!!

Gary Coop

18th May 2020 at 5:11 pm

‘I’ve no idea what bit I’m supposed to laugh at with Lee”

Well it’s the bits we’re he does jokes, made up and very shaggy dog stories, daft observations, hurls faux-insults at his audience, pulls funny faces, plays up to a persona, breaks the fourth wall etc.

It helps to have an understanding of stand up in general and some knowledge of the English language, established comedy tropes, rhetorical devices.

Not everyone in my family likes watching Penn and Teller but no one is stupid enough to claim they don’t understand why the audience regularly breaks out in applause when a magic trick performed by either or both reaches its climax.

If you really needed help understanding when their magic tricks have ended and are puzzled why the audience is clapping at certain points it could be a failing on your part rather than a newly discovered, globally shared insight that Penn and Teller are absolute rubbish only fools would pay good money to see.

Gordon Y Gopher

18th May 2020 at 6:55 pm

You realise on TV the audience are told when to clap and laugh?

In Negative

18th May 2020 at 3:17 pm

I love Only Fools and Horses, I think Lee is wrong in his approach to Brexit, but I think he remains probably one of the greatest comedians this country’s ever produced. I think his style is genuinely ground-breaking and exactly right for the age. He has a knack of making you a part of the joke – not only that, but often the joke will work as a joke before then making you a part of it. There is a lot going on at once in a Stewart Lee performance. He seems aware of himself in an era of immersion and has tried to create the closest thing I’ve yet seen to a complete comedy of immersion. A good egg is Stewart.

In Negative

18th May 2020 at 3:57 pm

Call me naive, but it’s also worth a ponder if some folks would rather be talking about name calling than talking about things like this:

‘Stay alert! Former environment secretary and Brexiter Owen Paterson will be rushing back to work, as his consultancy client Randox Laboratories has just been awarded the government’s £133m virus testing contract, unopposed.’

Furthermore, It might be better to talk about Stewart Lee as an elitist middle-class name caller too than talk about this:

‘in the 2012 book Britannia Unchained, The secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs, Dominic Skeletor Raab, said of British workers, they “prefer a lie-in to hard work”

I mean, it might start to look like Tories are a bunch of working class hating elitists and given their new vote share, that would never do.

But again, what would I know… Name calling can be very hurtful, even when you’re a baron. Maybe The Conservative MP for Tonbridge is currently seeing someone over the various symptoms of PTSD Mr. Lee’s name calling caused him.

Retarded.

Gary Coop

18th May 2020 at 3:12 pm

What is the correct term to describe grown men in the U.K. who make a big show of their disdain/contempt for Stewart Lee along with the much repeated argument that only the middle class find him funny?

How did it come to this? That the baseless opinion “Only the middle class could find boring Lee funny” is deemed worthy of sharing?

As a working class man I get much pleasure from the comedy output of Mr Lee, just as I can enjoy watching Jolly Boys Outing on Netflix for the millionth time or Lee Mack or Bob Mortimer on Would I Lie to You or a million other funny/mildly amusing/laugh out loud things.

The idea that I couldn’t possibly find Mr Lee’s routines funny because I am working class is to imagine that people like me do not exist – it is quite a pitiful idea and needs calling out.

I voted remain, I earn very little money, I watch pornography, I never do drugs, I have no interest in sport, I sometimes watch BBC 4 but equally I sometimes slump in front of repeats of The Chase while eating my way through a bag of Starburst.

Millions of us voted remain in Britain. Some of us have a very well developed sense of humour. We laugh when Frankie Boyle, for example, says something funny with no need to do the “Only remainer ponces in London could possibly find Boyle’s scathing put downs of Americans and Boris Johnson at all funny”.

Stewart Lee’s column in The Guardian often makes me chuckle, as do Crace’s and Hyde’s political sketches. To pretend that only the middle class could find such things funny is as weird as a claim that only the working class could possibly laugh out loud when Trigger calls Rodney “Dave”.

I do appreciate that some people voted Brexit and like to mouth off but I sure as hell don’t want any one of the 17 million leavers confidently – and incorrectly – telling me that Johnathan Pie is never funny “unless you’re a remain voting middle class twat” or that “No one watches Sky Arts apart from the remain voting woke filth”.

Write something funny and put it on YouTube, Brendan. Like Stewart Lee and Frankie Boyle and a million other comedians. If it’s got so,d good gags in it, I’ll enjoy a chuckle.

I’m working class, not stupid.

In Negative

18th May 2020 at 4:02 pm

+1

Starting to tire of people telling me who me and my class are too.

Mike Oliver

18th May 2020 at 4:29 pm

“I voted remain, I earn very little money, I watch pornography, I never do drugs, I have no interest in sport, I sometimes watch BBC 4 but equally I sometimes slump in front of repeats of The Chase while eating my way through a bag of Starburst.”

Is that you, Stewart?

Zammo McTrotsky

18th May 2020 at 2:47 pm

And “Calm down everyone!” Who? There isn’t any sort of public outcry over this, just one stupid and self-righteous article in the JC and an opportunistic tweet by Tugendhat. What a media avalanche! Thank goodness Spiked! are here to moderate this mad wave of hysteria!

Graham Southern

18th May 2020 at 2:32 pm

Only one thing I would argue with here, I’ve never met, heard or read anything by a right-wing snowflake. Brendan seems to be mistaking the gleeful turning the enemies ammunition back onto them for genuine outrage.

Gary Coop

18th May 2020 at 3:35 pm

How are you defining “right wing” and “snowflake”?

Theory: no one in the north east of England has a good sense of humour.

Problem with theory:

Nobody knows where exactly I mean by “north east of England” nor how many people I have tested for a sense of humour nor what I criteria I use to define a sense of humour.

My theory is as unprovable and stupid as your claim that right wing snowflakes don’t exist.

For all we know, you’re married to the biggest right wing snowflake on the planet but she’s so good looking that you have an inability to honestly evaluate her more negative traits. A man who meets her might think of her as “Graham’s overly-sensitive, woke other half, the woman who refuses to have a good laugh at my mildly off colour jokes. I hate her pathetic, PC guts, to be honest”.

Your opinion that no one in Britain could ever possibly have experience of right wing snowflakes is of the same value of the opinion of a woman in Wales who confidently declares that she has never heard of a Swedish man being good at oil painting. Her lack of contact with or knowledge of Swedish oil painters means nothing to everyone else. She should get out more or just stay indoors and google to see if any Swedish men use oil paints with the same skill as women in Finland.

Right wing ‘“snowflakes” – stupid term that it is – are ten a penny.

Graham Southern

18th May 2020 at 7:19 pm

I didn’t say a right-wing snowflake didn’t or couldn’t exist, i said I’d never come across one. People on the right tend to be self-sufficient and not easily moved to tears when someone says something mean.
That’s all. Not a theory, just an observation – free to disagree and provide some examples to convince me if you can.

Jonnie Henly

18th May 2020 at 7:41 pm

“Brendan seems to be mistaking the gleeful turning the enemies ammunition back onto them for genuine outrage.”

That would be sheer hypocrisy then.

And as to your previous sentence, did you miss the outrage over a few NFL players kneeling? Or when they got the Hunt banned?

Or when the right got upset because Corbyn didn’t bow his head by a sufficient number of degrees?

Zammo McTrotsky

18th May 2020 at 2:28 pm

This is funnier than Lee’s column entirely by accident. “Where are the jokes!” ” Oh it’s surreal, is it? I expect he thinks he’s clever!” “It hasn’t got c*cks or a funny Irishman, it’s not proper comedy!” And My favourite “Danny Baker and Stewart Lee represent a double standard in the minds of someone – I don’t know who – but someone who is left wing and there’s thousands of them, and they all did this to Danny Baker – The Hypocrites!” Priceless. Definitely funnier than Andrew Doyle.

Graham Southern

18th May 2020 at 3:01 pm

Cocks and Irishmen can certainly be funny, but you’d have to find something original, biting and at least slightly true about them. This is what Stuart Lee seems to have lost. He’s become a CINO; a comedian in name only.

Highland Fleet Lute

18th May 2020 at 2:01 pm

Q: What do you call an Indian cloakroom attendant?

A: Mahatma Coat.

Q: What do you call a Scottish cloakroom attendant?

A: Angus MacCoatup.

Q: Did you hear about the two gay Irishmen?

A: Michael Fitzpatrick and Patrick Fitzmichael.

This guy runs for a bus. The bus pulls to a stop.

Indian bus driver: “Sorry mate, I’m ramjam full.”

Guy: “I don’t care what your name is, I’m getting on anyway”.

Q: What do you call a punch drunk Japanese guy with an incontinent father?

A: A slap-happy Jappy with a crap-happy pappy.

Eric Praline

18th May 2020 at 6:32 pm

Do you know any jokes?

ZENOBIA PALMYRA

18th May 2020 at 9:37 pm

PRALINE:

‘a smooth, sweet substance made by boiling nuts in sugar and grinding the mixture, used especially as a filling for chocolates.’

Highland Fleet Lute

18th May 2020 at 11:07 pm

Oh yeah, I do as it goes…

This woman walks into her bosses office, and says to her boss…

“Excuse me, can I use your dictaphone?”

And her boss says….

“No. Use your finger like everyone else.”

Dominic Straiton

18th May 2020 at 1:49 pm

Hahahaha. Abu Bakr.hahaha, Adil Khan what stupid sounding names. They almost sound like they must belong to people who are inbred.Hahahahaha. They are names that dont even belong to a race hahahahaha, gingers can take one up.hahahahahahaha.

Jonathan Palmer

18th May 2020 at 1:39 pm

has a left-winger ever defended a right-winger. remember Jo Brand and Carol Thatcher. it’s not the worst thing in the world but what an unfunny self-righteous loathsome individual Mr Lee is.

Gary Coop

18th May 2020 at 4:26 pm

Has a left winger ever defended a right winger?

How are you defining British people with these terms?

Do you want to focus solely on “left wing” writers? So, for example, has any “left wing” man who earns a full time living as a writer ever ‘defended” a “right wing” person, for example?

Do you ever mix with other British adults? If so, you will have experience of adults holding views from across the political spectrum and attacking/defending the same people in the same evening.

Has any “left wing” man chuckled at a one liner/gag during an episode of Jim Davidson’s Big Break? Yes.

Has any ‘left wing” teenager ever stolen money from her mother and used it to buy her boyfriend class A drugs? Given the size of the population since 1959 we can say with some degree of confidence that somewhere in the U.K. is a “left wing” woman who has memories of stealing money from her mum in the 1990s or 2000s while in a relationship with a drug using boyfriend.

Do “right wing” men ever steal from Sussex antique shops?

I know of a man who fiddled my gran out of her 1960s record collection. It is statistically likely he has at least once voted Conservative and he either voted remain or leave, assuming he voted in 2016.

Left wingers in Britain are often very much like their right wing spouses or parents. We can accuse them of all sorts but must admit that they are not unique. A left wing woman who enjoys watching Emmerdale 5 nights a week has much in common with a Tory voter who hates the French. Indeed, they stare the same bed 7 nights a week and both agree that their teenage son seems to be drifting.

Jonathan Palmer

18th May 2020 at 5:40 pm

You could have saved all this writing if you’d given just ONE example.

Graham Southern

18th May 2020 at 5:57 pm

LOL. Your right Jonathan. He probably thinks he’s convinced someone besides himself.

Jerry Owen

18th May 2020 at 4:26 pm

Brendan defended Brand over her acid attack ‘joke’ on Farage.
Brendan was wrong on that one, and he got a lot of flack for it

Jonnie Henly

18th May 2020 at 7:39 pm

Has a right winger ever defended a left winger?

Ivor Million

18th May 2020 at 1:13 pm

“….it’s never big and clever to mock foreign sounding names….”. Why not O’Neill?

Ben Shirley

18th May 2020 at 1:10 pm

I think Stewart Lee’s the funniest thing since Peter Cook, or at least Fry & Laurie, personally. Part of what I think is testament to his comic ability is the fact the he’s wrong about nearly everything he says but still makes me laugh. Either he is very good or I’ve got a strange sense of humour.

Graham Southern

18th May 2020 at 2:35 pm

You say you’ve got a sense of humour. Right.

Eric Praline

18th May 2020 at 6:17 pm

The right doesn’t do humour.

Graham Southern

19th May 2020 at 6:12 am

I think you’ve confused ‘humour’ which the left don’t understand with ‘performance art’ which the left specialise in.

Jerry Owen

18th May 2020 at 1:07 pm

I have never heard of Stewart Lee…it seems I’ve missed nowt.
As for ‘fools and horses’, that was written by a genius John Sullivan, a sad loss for observational comedy.
‘Alt right’, I’ve not really ever got what that means but BON regularly uses the phrase when he wants to attack both left and right in equal measure with one swoop. The only anti Semitism I have seen in recent years is in the labour party, nowhere else.

Ivor Million

18th May 2020 at 1:18 pm

“Nowt”??
Why shouldn’t we be anti-semitic, or anti-islamic or anti-christian or anti-hindu? These are all illogical superstitions, to ne deprecated by anyone of intelligence. Before you quote superstitious people you imagine to be intelligent, the answer is they are usually brainwashed from birth.

Jerry Owen

18th May 2020 at 3:27 pm

If your happy to be a bigot that’s your choice. You’re clearly an odious fake named liar.
But then like ZP and Jon Hen, people like you hide behind anonymity as it gives you Dutch courage and avoid responsibility for what you say.
You are really a weedy little man.

Ivor Million

18th May 2020 at 5:58 pm

“Jerry Owen”, you’re a loud-mouthed fool of low intelligence and no one gives a hoot what you think.
Keep posting the rubbish you churn out daily and imagine someone cares.

Jonnie Henly

18th May 2020 at 7:36 pm

Since when have I hidden behind anonymity Jerry?

Another stupid lie from you, and no doubt you will hide away from this thread having been called out on it.

Jerry Owen

18th May 2020 at 8:39 pm

Jonnie Henley
Alias
Jon Hen
Jonnie Hen
Jon Henley…I guess it’s one of those!

Jerry Owen

18th May 2020 at 8:51 pm

Little Jonnie
Got you again, if you tell porkies best remember them, or they catch up with you and bite you in the arse !

Jonnie Henly

20th May 2020 at 3:08 am

Jerry you can’t even spell my name right when it’s written on the screen in front of you!

So I don’t hind behind any fake names do I? Thanks for admitting that.

Or are you too stupid to work out that Jon is a shortened version of Jonnie?

More lies and stupidity from you!

Jonnie Henly

20th May 2020 at 3:09 am

“if you tell porkies best remember them, or they catch up with you and bite you in the arse !”

Yep! Jerry gets caught out for lying again, not to mention huge stupidity!

Another fail from you!

Now watch Jerry run away like a coward.

ZENOBIA PALMYRA

18th May 2020 at 1:23 pm

‘I have never heard of Stewart Lee’ — this sentence encapsulates everything we need to know about ‘Jerry Owen’, a man who lives on a quiet suburban street in the 1950s.

Graham Southern

18th May 2020 at 2:40 pm

But let’s face it ZP, he hasn’t exactly missed out on much, has he?

Jerry Owen

18th May 2020 at 3:19 pm

ZP
I wasn’t even around then. I don’t follow the liberal left media much that will explain why.
Any chance of having the guts to use your real name. Or are you happy to be completely anonymous for all time?

Ivor Million

18th May 2020 at 6:01 pm

JO —more rubbish from you, you foul creature. No one is interested in your “opinions”—-surely it’s dawned even on your dim alleged “brain”?

Jerry Owen

18th May 2020 at 8:41 pm

Ivor Million
You are a hoot!

Jonnie Henly

18th May 2020 at 7:37 pm

“The only anti Semitism I have seen in recent years is in the labour party, nowhere else.”

That says more about you than anyone else Jerry. Go hide behind your vegetables and stop talking nonsense.

Jerry Owen

18th May 2020 at 9:14 pm

Little Jonnie
The labour party is the only party under investigation for anti Semitism…it’s organised anti Semitism. Keep up.

Jonnie Henly

20th May 2020 at 3:05 am

Oh dear Jerry. There have been many instances of antisemitism inside the Tory party in recent years.

Keep up!

Jerry Owen

20th May 2020 at 12:25 pm

Little Jonnie
How many convictions?

Jonnie Henly

20th May 2020 at 4:57 pm

In which party Jerry?

Brandy Cluster

18th May 2020 at 12:50 pm

No, Brendan, there are NO snowflakes on the right. Stop trying to pretend there are just because the Left has them in abundance. There can be no ‘balancing’ of these insane books. No conservative in their right mind would behave like the Left.

Take the Ellen Degeneres case. She was seen at a sporting event with George W. Bush, defended him as a friend and since then all hell has broken loose. Here’s “The Guardian” trying to PRETEND it’s something about Coronavirus – but there is no disguising the Left is turning on its own; a luvvie in deep excrement for daring to be friendly with a Republican. Now the Left controls WHO YOU CAN HAVE AS A FRIEND. For years Ellen was successful and now the Left is trying to invent petty reasons she’s fall out of favour; we all know the reason. GEORGE W. BUSH. It’s even written here in this vicious piece:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/18/ellen-degeneres-be-kind-what-that-means

Welcome to the terrifying and dictatorial left; you will be destroyed if you reject the Dogma. So, no good trying to heap that onto the Right, Brendan. This just won’t do.

Eric Praline

18th May 2020 at 6:15 pm

It’s been well documented at Spiked, time you faced up to it.

Ray Diator

18th May 2020 at 12:50 pm

Genuine hard core piss-taking would be classed as a “hate crime” nowadays….it’s no surprise modern comedians are crap

Walter Mitty

18th May 2020 at 12:21 pm

I tend to agree with this.

Although I’ve never really been a Stewart Lee fan he’s just another comedian turned left-wing mouthpiece like Frankie Boyle.

I did find the latter funny but since he’s become rich and fat it’s coincided with him being completely unfunny and sanctimonious beyond belief.

Andrew Mawdsley

18th May 2020 at 12:17 pm

Good article BoN. It was nice to note that it doesn’t disguise or gloss over the fact that Stewart Lee is a dull as dishwater has been, supposedly edgy comic. He has certainly had his moments, but is now much like the rest of the piss poor so called comedic talent that permeates the circuit – utter crap.

ZENOBIA PALMYRA

18th May 2020 at 1:25 pm

The best comedy is now being delivered by Messrs. Johnson, Shapps and Hancock whose outrageous slapstick and bungling never ceases to amaze.

Jonathan Marshall

18th May 2020 at 1:43 pm

Couldn’t agree more. I don’t read the Observer so I clicked on the link to Lee’s column. Good grief – is that what passes for comedy in Leftist circles? No wonder they’re such a bunch of po-faced miserable so-and-sos.

Mor Vir

18th May 2020 at 12:11 pm

Yawn

ZENOBIA PALMYRA

18th May 2020 at 1:23 pm

You need to get more sleep.

Mor Vir

18th May 2020 at 2:19 pm

You need to mind your own.

Gordon Y Gopher

18th May 2020 at 4:53 pm

You both need to get a room

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