Sunday, June 28, 2020

Stand-up's dirty secret

Stand-up, Kiri Pritchard-McLean has noted, is "having a calling it out moment". She labels it a "moment" quite deliberately, because it's sadly likely to be a passing fad, "forgotten as soon as the next Twitter hashtag challenge comes along". Evidently, however, a sustained outing and condemnation of entrenched sexist and misogynistic attitudes and behaviours (and the comics who express and enact them) is required.

The fact that the comedy circuit is "a Takeshi's Castle of pervery" and that sexual harassment and exploitation have been rife on the comedy circuit for so long is not because women have failed to speak up - female comics have had their own "whisper network" for sharing information. In any case, the onus shouldn't be on the victims to publicise the problem and take steps to solve it. On the contrary, things will only improve if men start to take the issue - and women's testimonies - seriously by scrutinising their own behaviour and calling out the misdemeanours of their male colleagues rather than refusing to believe ill of their friends, closing ranks and branding courageous whistleblowers like Pritchard-McLean as difficult troublemakers.

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