Comedian Phil Evans is from Ammanford. He is known as the man who puts the ‘cwtsh’ into comedy. Website – www.philevans.co.uk
Boris Johnson recently got into hot water (his hair needed washing) accused of making a racist joke.
But, from an objective viewpoint, it wasn’t really a ‘joke’ in the accepted sense.
(Trust me; I’m a comedian and I know a thing or two about jokes)
It was more of a throwaway comment or off-hand remark.
We occasionally get told things about ourselves that we disagree with, but most of us brush them off and move on.
That Boris’s comment offended so many, shows certain sections of society are very sensitive.
But . . . that wasn’t always the case . . .
I watched a Channel Five programme last year that featured a bunch of ‘experts’ viewing clips from 1970s TV comedy shows.
Looking ‘shocked’ and ‘appalled’ they said things like “Did people reallywatch this 40 years ago?” and “When do I get my fee for pretending to be shocked and appalled?”
Being just a lad when “Love Thy Neighbour”, “Mind Your Language” and “It Ain’t ‘Alf Hot Mum” entertained millions, I don’t know whether people were more tolerant in the 70s or less choosy about what they watched.
Although those shows are considered too non-P.C. to repeat, “Are You Being Served?” which features John Inman’s outrageously camp Mr Humphries and constant references to Mrs. Slocombe’s pussy, is being repeated on one of the digital channels during daytime – and nobody’s complained!
In 2018, people – not just the ‘professionally offended’ who demand their five minutes of airtime to complain about whatever’s got up their nose that morning – appear more sensitive, not only regarding what’s said about them,but about other people.
Which makes a comedian’s job doubly difficult.
Audiences expect comedians to be edgy (and funny, too!) but that doesn’t mean they’ll accept every line you throw at them.
An audience is both one unit andseveral individuals.
Upset too many individuals and the unit will fall apart.
A bit like society in general.
Having just returned from what has been described as the biggest street party in Europe, I’m pleased to report that I still have the time and energy to fill this newspaper column.
Although, I must admit, I only just made the deadline.
At the start of August, the greatest show on earth geared up for its 70thanniversary and the streets of Edinburgh came alive with performers and tourists from the four corners of the world.
For a whole month, the city doesn’t sleep, while more than 3,000 shows take place, with something to suit everyone.
In a few weeks’ time, many of the shows that appeared in Edinburgh will be traveling the length and breadth of the UK to perform.
I have already noticed that Swansea, Llanelli and Carmarthen have pre-booked Edinburgh shows – and you can take it from me that the standard is exceptionally high.
The performing arts and live shows help our economy and instil a feeling of wellbeing among both artists and the audience members.
Creative arts are part of the joy of humanity.
But they can so often be overlooked in our current education system in favour of more ‘useful’ subjects such as science and maths.
Undoubtedly, there is increasing pressure on young children and schools to achieve outstanding exam results, but, unfortunately, only a few schools see the value of creativity.
Somehow, we need to get the message out there, and to start with, we could all support live entertainment, in all its forms.
You can follow Phil Evans on Twitter @philevanswales and www.philevans.co.uk
Please again include www.philevans.co.uk