Monday, March 05, 2018

Right turn?

"Are we set for a resurgence in right-wing comedy?" asked a recent New Statesman article. The evidence presented to support such an assertion was rather flimsy: the rising star of two unashamedly right-of-centre comics, Geoff Norcott and Leo Kearse. Two swallows do not a summer make.

Nevertheless, one person who might welcome such a development is Caroline Raphael, who, when she was BBC Radio 4's commissioning editor for comedy, bemoaned the lack of right-wing comics on the grounds that it made striking the required/expected political balance extremely difficult. Stewart Lee subsequently offered an astute analysis of the reasons behind this absence.

When one such comic, Andrew Lawrence, did stick his head above the parapet four years ago, he was swiftly shot down by Lee and Dara O'Briain, among others. Perhaps they might be more positively inclined towards Norcott and Kearse - not least because they haven't come to prominence by mouthing off bitterly and giving vent to a laughable persecution complex.

On a side note, it's interesting to note the BBC's apparent concern to find balance within their comedy output; in view of Nigel Farage's repeated appearances on Question Time, and the comparable absence of (for instance) representatives from the Green Party, there seems to be less commitment to political balance on a programme that's explicitly about politics...

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