Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The Jimmy Carr Cartoon


I said I might stick my caricature up here so here it is in it's inept glory.

It doesn’t surprise me that Jimmy Carr’s been avoiding paying tax and in many ways I don’t blame him. I tend to think that governments always find more imaginative ways of wasting money. Yet what astonishes me about wealth is that few people seem to reach a point at which they no longer think it necessary to dodge the taxman. Would I be any different had I earned £3.3 million in a year? Until it happens, I suppose I don’t have the right to judge. I would hope, however, that I would only be too pleased to pay tax, realising that to earn even a hundredth of that would make me deliriously happy.

Yet if I can’t judge the man’s actions according to my own moral compass, I can judge the man and his material. To say he’s one of my least favourite comedians is to over simplify my attitude towards Carr, a gifted comedian with a sharp wit who seems genuinely interested in the theory of comedy if we are to judge from the book he co-authored a year or so ago. However, there is also a deeply repellent side to his humour which values jokes at the expense of the weak and vulnerable. Comedy is a powerful force when directed at the rich and powerful. Directed towards others, it has a blunt force that does nothing but harm. It’s a point that Steve Coogan has previously made in reference to 'Top Gear' but I’d say that it equally applies to Carr. And Carr does certainly hurt, even if he does it with a certain lopsided smirk as if to highlight that his postmodern irony is irony at its most ironic.

Bad taste jokes are usually funny and, for that reason, they are an easy crowd pleaser. To tell them on stage, prefacing the jokes with warnings, doesn’t make the telling of them any less cheap, snide, or immoral. And by the same score: cheating the taxman in legal ways does not make it easy to condone. He cheats the taxman and though his lopsided grin reminds us that it’s all done legally, it shouldn’t be a surprise. His comedy has always been at our expense and we have paid him handsomely to now mock us with his off shore bank accounts. None of this surprises me and all of it reminds me why I watch so little British comedy.

Tonight, I'm going to give 'Wilfred' a try. It's am American comedy based on an Australian show, about a man's relationship with a neighbour's dog, who only he sees as a man in a dog suit. How I missed this when it was shown on the BBC, I don't know but I have high hopes for it. It's a grown mad in a dog suit! How can it not be funny? Right?

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