Is Comedy Too Cruel

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Is comedy getting too cruel? Was Ricky Gervais's Golden Globes turn funny, or just mean? Is comedy getting too cruel? Comedians Steve Punt and Shappi Khorsandi debate what is a joke too far Depending on your sensitivity level (and, more likely, your nationality) Ricky Gervais either bombed or did brilliantly when he hosted the Golden Globes last weekend. Meanwhile, some newspapers continued their campaign this week to have the controversial comedian Frankie Boyle purged from our screens for ever, and even suggested he has been snubbed by the British Comedy awards tonight. Are comedians really more offensive than ever? One of tonight's nominees, Shappi Khorsandi, and fellow comedian Steve Punt discuss new trends in comedy. But first, Emine Saner asks, why all the fuss about Gervais? Steve Punt: The thing that seems odd is that America has this vituperative political culture where there are news channels, radio stations and websites devoted to all-out assaults on politicians, but if you make jokes about Hollywood actors, people throw their hands up in horror. I think he fell foul of that cultural entitlement thing that says Jewish comics can do Jewish jokes and if you're not Jewish, you can't. There was a sense that a British comedian can't come over here . . . British comedians are supposed to make ditzy observations about what's strange about America, but they're not supposed to insult A-listers. The jokes didn't seem any harsher than the ones Billy Crystal did at the Oscars, but Crystal isn't from Reading. It becomes a question of basic guest etiquette. If you go as a guest for dinner, you're not supposed to insult their wallpaper. Shappi Khorsandi: They knew who they were getting. He wasn't criticising average, minimum-wage, nine-to-fivers, he was making jokes about the most privileged people. Having made it in America, he could have so easily fallen into

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