Julie Burchill Julie Burchill

Who killed comedy?

Credit: Getty Images

Wading into the Sadiq Khan #HaveAWord brouhaha, Laurence Fox had a pop at Khan’s ally Romesh Ranganathan thus: ‘You are not a “comedian” #Maaate’. The dig came after Ranganathan teamed up with the London mayor in his campaign urging men to challenge their mates on their behaviour towards women. Fox had a point; when is a droll not a droll, but principally a state-sanctioned lapdog with a few lame gags on the side? Far too often in recent times.

One of the most striking things about our modern culture is the lack of creativity, even amongst those who work in the actual creative industries. Writers are now routinely sensitivity-read, censored and cancelled by the very people who should be encouraging them to be as bold as possible: their publishers.

The singer Sam Smith can say ‘I hate reading’ and also claim that ‘when people mess up a pronoun or something…it kind of ruins conversations…it’s going to take time. We’re changing a language here.’

Presumptuous buffoon; you hate reading yet you dare utter the words ‘we’re changing a language’ of the tongue which Shakespeare, Dickens and Jackie Collins wrote in? Changing your stylist might be a more achievable ambition, especially in the light of that recent ill-advised tennis dress.

Because of this we’ve come to think of the left – even the trade unions are buying into gender woo-woo – as envious lemon-suckers keen to raze the cultural landscape so they won’t be made to feel bad about not having anything to contribute culturally. A lot of the rage directed at JK Rowling seems to come from feeble minds who were intoxicated by her creativity as children, but who were unable to grasp that magical creations and magical thinking are two different things. They cannot comprehend that real life is grounded in biology rather than wizardry.

Far from needing guts, comedy is now the tamest trade in town

It wasn’t always so.

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