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Israel and British comedy

Started by lauraxsynthesis, November 10, 2023, 08:27:49 PM

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lauraxsynthesis

Been seeing this Spitting Image sketch from 1989 on TikTok and elsewhere this week - Yitzhak Shamir on Mastermind.

Yay Chris Barrie's voice.

And rewatching The Young Ones - Boring the other day there's this onscreen for awhile


I'm trying to think of the last time I saw even the mildest rebuke of Israel's government in comedy on broadcast TV. Probably Frankie Boyle at some point in the last few years?

Stand up comedians have been slow to show solidarity for the Palestinians, knowing of course they can lose work for doing so, but I've seen more coming forward in the last couple of weeks including Asim Chaudhry. I genuinely worry for comedians who speak out. He hasn't confirmed it, but I'm 90% certain it was perfectly reasonable tweets about the Palestinians that led to  Guz Khan getting sacked from Our Flag Means Death. Imran Yusuf told Alexei Sayle on his podcast that actors have donated to MAP anonymously and told him they're afraid to go public with their support.

Lots of folks are taking a risk though by doing benefits for MAP in the coming months.
https://www.thestand.co.uk/news/benefit-for-medical-aid-for-palestinians
Quantum Leopard are doing a benefit for MAP on the 30th on their Twitch channel.

I wish I could find a video of the terrific online Stand Up for Palestine MAP benefit gig Yusuf organised in July 2021. The most memorable bit for me was Richard Vranch's set in which he wore a jumper that seemed to have geometric designs on it but it was actually the names of Palestinian villages that were destroyed during the Nakba. He was gifted it decades before when visiting Palestine with a theatre project.

Kankurette

Does Mark Thomas count? He mentioned Palestine when I saw him, although that was years ago.

Noodle Lizard

Frankie Boyle's the only notable one I can think of, perhaps Sadowitz on an offbeat. Rob Delaney may be considered an honourary British comedian, and he's been admirably vocal about it.

I've checked up on a few British comics who are at least somewhat political and have been disappointed to see that, instead of addressing it at all, they're leaning entirely into whimsical self-promotion. Even Stewart Lee; four Guardian articles since October 7th, nothing: https://www.theguardian.com/profile/stewart-lee

I understand them wanting to keep their jobs, or perhaps genuinely feeling as though it's not their place to comment on it, and nobody's expecting Michael McIntyre to pop his head in to condemn the IDF, but it would be mighty nice if a few overtly political comedians and satirists would pipe up to say "this genocide isn't good". Maybe Iannucci will throw a biting line about it into one of his films 10 years from now.

Petey Pate

Doesn't really count as it was a deleted scene, but the Otto character intended for Life of Brian.


tribalfusion

Quote from: Kankurette on November 10, 2023, 11:37:02 PMDoes Mark Thomas count? He mentioned Palestine when I saw him, although that was years ago.


Mark Thomas definitely counts as does Lee Camp in the US who has also discussed it.

There are Palestinian comics like Amer Zahr, Mo Amer and Jennifer Jujeh as well.

Liberal to slightly left comedians generally won't touch it. It's in situations like these that we see the limits of someone like Stewart Lee, as much as I appreciate him for other things

Somewhat ironically, Dave Chappelle who has been a schmuck on many other issues did bring it up at a recent gig as well.




tribalfusion

#5
I wonder if Rob Newman will do any stand-up about Palestine like his History of Oil. Of course Rob isn't doing as much stand-up as he used to.

Alexei Sayle has been discussing Palestine recently in his podcast as well.

I'd be curious to see what Muslim and Arab comics in the UK end up doing as well.


CaledonianGonzo

Mark Thomas did a full show and wrote a book about walking the wall (Extreme Rambling). It's worth a read:

https://amzn.eu/d/8D0ptWM

He also did a tour with two Palestinean stand up comics a few years back after organising a comedy gala in a Refugee Camp in the West Bank (Showtime From The Frontline)

More recently Josie Long has been tweeting about it in recent days and is organising a benefit in Glasgow (where she lives now)

https://twitter.com/JosieLong/status/1722375967111262347?t=wFHCjurazej3qMKyok6jgw&s=19

Ivor Dembina used to organise fundraisers for Palestine at the Fringe- I've definitely seen Stewart Lee, Daniel Kitson, Marks Steele and Thomas all do sets at them.

notjosh

I've seen a couple of comedians mention it live recently.

Nish Kumar, a couple of weeks ago at Up the Creek in Greenwich, did a short bit criticising people who have an aggressively one-sided view of the conflict without acknowledging that innocent people suffer on both sides.

Vittorio Angelone, a comedian I'd not seen before, did an excellent set at Live at the Chapel in Islington last week which included about 5-10 minutes on it. His style is a little dark - sort of Anthony Jeselnik or early Frankie Boyle - with some stuff that definitely made the audience uncomfortable, but despite being very joke-based it did seem to be coming from a pretty genuine alarm at the Palestinian situation.

I imagine most comedians with a political inclination would be looking at cost v benefit and decide not to touch it unless they have some very strong material on it.

KennyMonster

Quote from: notjosh on November 11, 2023, 08:11:08 AMVittorio Angelone, a comedian I'd not seen before, did an excellent set at Live at the Chapel in Islington last week which included about 5-10 minutes on it. His style is a little dark - sort of Anthony Jeselnik or early Frankie Boyle - with some stuff that definitely made the audience uncomfortable, but despite being very joke-based it did seem to be coming from a pretty genuine alarm at the Palestinian situation.


Was this the guy I saw doing the warm ups at a Taskmaster recording recently?

Northern Irish/Italian?

If its who I'm thinking of then his roots might mean he's got a better insight than a lot of us.
(although he's probably disgustingly young- -didn't live through the worst of the troubles but grew up knowing many who did). 

C_Larence

Quote from: notjosh on November 11, 2023, 08:11:08 AMNish Kumar, a couple of weeks ago at Up the Creek in Greenwich, did a short bit criticising people who have an aggressively one-sided view of the conflict without acknowledging that innocent people suffer on both sides.

Sounds hilarious.

Quote from: C_Larence on November 11, 2023, 02:02:37 PMSounds hilarious.

Why on earth would comedians want to avoid this topic? It's baffling!

Tombola

In an early episode of Peep Show (20 years ago), Jeremy says "Mark likes Israel, I'm Palestine. Makes it much more interesting if you pick sides."

Although Mark is clearly an arsehole, he is generally presented as the sensible one, in contrast to the naivety of Jeremy.

He also didn't necessarily think money or Tony Blair were a bad thing.

MortSahlFan

Quote from: Tombola on November 11, 2023, 03:35:54 PMIn an early episode of Peep Show (20 years ago), Jeremy says "Mark likes Israel, I'm Palestine. Makes it much more interesting if you pick sides."

Although Mark is clearly an arsehole, he is generally presented as the sensible one, in contrast to the naivety of Jeremy.

He also didn't necessarily think money or Tony Blair were a bad thing.

Great show.

I think many are waiting for the winds.. Ironic how the right-wingers who fashioned themselves as free speech warriors 5 weeks ago do a complete 180. It's all about the Benjamin Netanyahoos

Red82

Quote from: Tombola on November 11, 2023, 03:35:54 PMIn an early episode of Peep Show (20 years ago), Jeremy says "Mark likes Israel, I'm Palestine. Makes it much more interesting if you pick sides."

Although Mark is clearly an arsehole, he is generally presented as the sensible one, in contrast to the naivety of Jeremy.

He also didn't necessarily think money or Tony Blair were a bad thing.





My reading of the Mark character is that he was a classic moderate Tory.  Remember the episode where Mark tries to build a friendship with that guy who is even more right wing than he is?  He ends up disowning his new friend and his politics.

Consignia

Quote from: Tombola on November 11, 2023, 03:35:54 PMIn an early episode of Peep Show (20 years ago), Jeremy says "Mark likes Israel, I'm Palestine. Makes it much more interesting if you pick sides."

Although Mark is clearly an arsehole, he is generally presented as the sensible one, in contrast to the naivety of Jeremy.

He also didn't necessarily think money or Tony Blair were a bad thing.

And from the last series as well (10? years ago)


Small Man Big Horse

Quote from: tribalfusion on November 11, 2023, 05:26:47 AMI wonder if Rob Newman will do any stand-up about Palestine like his History of Oil. Of course Rob isn't doing as much stand-up as he used to.

Newman's doing a whole bunch of work in progress shows at 2Northdown in December, I was going to go as I caught him there in February 2022 and really enjoyed it, but it's almost £17 a ticket which for an unfinished hour is a bit rich for my blood.

neveragain

Partridge makes reference to the Middle East (human rights stuff) here and there. Possibly not what you're after but wanted to pop it in the box anyway.

madhair60

not british, i don't care but i always enjoyed Drawn Together's I.S.R.A.E.L bit


i always enjoyed DT in general

idunnosomename

Quote from: Tombola on November 11, 2023, 03:35:54 PMIn an early episode of Peep Show (20 years ago), Jeremy says "Mark likes Israel, I'm Palestine. Makes it much more interesting if you pick sides."

Although Mark is clearly an arsehole, he is generally presented as the sensible one, in contrast to the naivety of Jeremy.

He also didn't necessarily think money or Tony Blair were a bad thing.
always thought the joke there was they make watching the news into a game, and that Jeremy doesnt understand the asymmetry of the conflict which means hes basically going to be losing all the time. It's childish but just another thing Mark can best Jez at

Senior Baiano

I thought that joke was about how often people adopt their political sympathies according to temperament and tribalism rather than any real consideration or knowledge of issues- like of course Jeremy would be Palestine and Mark Israel, it could hardly be the other way round. And while most people will never admit this, even to themselves, Jeremy is guileless enough to pretty much say it straight out

Don't see the asymmetry of the conflict- or any comment on it really- being part of the joke

Senior Baiano


Senior Baiano

Although tbh I find the media circus around the big conflicts a bit wearing, I'm more into lower league conflicts these days, I like to go and watch Polisario, you can stand and have a beer while watching the fighting, it's much more fun

Enzo


ollyboro

#23
...

tribalfusion

Some more time has passed; has anyone seen any comics deal with Palestine/Israel recently?

madhair60

this week's Minnie the Minx was a decently even-handed take on the appalling situation.

Red82

Stewart Lee mentioned it in his Observer article earlier this week.

tribalfusion

Quote from: Red82 on November 25, 2023, 03:41:46 PMStewart Lee mentioned it in his Observer article earlier this week.


Stew does reference it though really somewhat in passing as the column deals with the Tories more than anything else.

Red82

#28
Quote from: tribalfusion on November 25, 2023, 03:58:09 PMStew does reference it though really somewhat in passing as the column deals with the Tories more than anything else.

Yes it mainly dealt with the protests and the Tory reaction to them rather than the conflict itself.

I don't see as much live standup as a I used to, so I don't know who's mentioned it on stage? If anyone??

Quote from: Noodle Lizard on November 11, 2023, 12:38:46 AMFrankie Boyle's the only notable one I can think of.

Has anyone seen Frankie Boyle's current Lap of Shame show? I'm thinking of getting a ticket for Cardiff in Feb, but I'd prefer stuff about the recent news, rather than a solely set routine. Is there room in the show for him to mix it up much?