Column: No surprises that I am not in favour of cancelling comedians

Guest columnist Steve N Allen is a comedian and writer. (Photo: Submitted)
Guest columnist Steve N Allen is a comedian and writer. (Photo: Submitted)

Week one was all about small audiences. We had an actress who posted a crying selfie after getting an audience of one.

She went viral and sold out her shows. If I get an audience of one, I’m more likely to get a picture of that audience member crying, so I probably won’t post it.

Now the Edinburgh Fringe news moves on to cancellations of comedians.

Last year it was Jerry Sadowitz who had his show pulled by the venue because of the content.

This year Comedy Unleashed had their show cancelled after the venue realised that one of the performers would be Father Ted creator Graham Linehan, because of his position on trans issues.

I am not in favour of cancelling comedians and my argument isn’t about what they would say.

I don’t have to agree with someone to think they should be able to say it. Everyone has the right to disagree with my opinions, or as I phrase it, there’s no law against being wrong.

What if the tide of popular opinion changes and the world becomes a bit more Handmaid’s Tale? It would be the progressive comedians being cancelled because the precedent was set.

A debate sprung up about Frankie Boyle who has been performing at the Fringe because of a harsh joke he does about Holly Willoughby. I imagine the debate would have been fiercer back when we still liked This Morning.

I trust audiences. They have the right to not see his show. Everyone in that room must know what kind of comedy he does. No one is expecting light, fluffy jokes about aeroplane food.

You knew what you getting into when you went to see that show. It’s why I would never do the kind of edgy joke I do on stage in a column like this or on radio. In print or broadcast I have come into your home so I’ll behave appropriately.

If you come to see my show, you’ve opted in to whatever I want to say.

If you take a risk on a Fringe performer that you have never heard of before it was your risk to take. If they do jokes about don’t like, your risk didn’t pay off, but I don’t think that means the performer shouldn’t be allowed to have a show.

I’m biased. As a stand-up comedian I don’t want to ever have my shows cancelled.

Imagine how much that would cheer up the one member of the audience.

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