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Israel and British comedy

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

Previous topic - Next topic

teabone

Quote from: lauraxsynthesis on November 27, 2023, 11:40:20 AMLast year I saw a fella at Andrew O'Neill's comedy club. I can't seem to find his name anywhere. He started out getting the audience to throw grapes which he caught in his mouth and he also did some Spanish guitar stuff. When he finally spoke, one of the first things he said was, "I'm Palestinian! I'm not anti-semitic."

I've not seen this set, but that sounds a lot like Jody Kamali.

lauraxsynthesis

Quote from: teabone on February 07, 2024, 06:23:08 PMI've not seen this set, but that sounds a lot like Jody Kamali.

I've figured it out now. It's Sami Abu Wardeh https://www.instagram.com/samiabuwardehcomedy/

The Culture Bunker

Quote from: Mr Banlon on February 01, 2024, 04:26:34 PMThere was an episode from the original run of Spitting Image in the mid-80s with a sketch where they were talking about a country with worst human-rights abuses in the World. The insinuation was they were talking about the (then) South African apartheid government. The 'switcheroo' at the end was that they were actually talking about Israel.
I did recently see a SI clip where I think it was the then Israel PM on 'Mastermind' being asked questions on his specialist subject, 'Human Rights Abuses'. He answered every question with "South Africa" only for the answer to be "Israel".

Then the final question was "Which country makes the best oranges?" "Ah, Israel!" "Incorrect - South Africa".

MortSahlFan

To answer an earlier question, here is why. These guys aren't British, though
The Celebrity-Industrial Complex | Out For Smokes #153 | Mike Recine, Sean McCarthy, Scott Chaplain

lauraxsynthesis

At least one comedian has some pro-Palestine (alongside pro-Ukraine) stuff in his show, and it's led to an incident that reflects badly on him and on Chortle.
https://www.chortle.co.uk/news/2024/02/12/54978/paul_currie_in_antisemitism_storm?rss

Currie fucked up massively if the incident went down as described. Chortle has chosen a clickbait tweet description that portrays it as the audience member being targeted for being Jewish. Does Chortle have form for being shit in this area?  Then they quote GB News' Josh fucking Howie who's taking the opportunity to make it about himself.

Wouldn't be surprised if this leads BBC news in 2 days' time.

Steve Faeces

This is such a weird addition to the end of that Chortle article.

QuoteSoho Theatre is built on the Dean Street site where the West End Great Synagogue used to stand, and still displays a mizrach – the plaque traditionally placed on the east wall of a Jewish building – commemorating that history.

I mean, how is this relevant in any way?


lazybones

#66
I was there on Saturday night. Will be forthcoming with my bias and say that I love Paul Currie and his act. I've seen him about five times over the last decade.

In this show, Schtoom, he doesn't say a single word during the hour.

The bit with the Palestine flag came towards the end of the show. He pulls out the Ukrainian flag from his prop suit case, to cheers from the audience. And then a Palestinian flag to further cheers. I can't remember what the song being played in the background was but it was something up standing up and not staying silent. He them mimes sitting down in front of the tv clicking through the channels at which the point the music switches off. He then mimed gestures to the effect of 'that's you that is', 'makes you think', and 'mind blown.' I know I don't need to explain how comedy works on this forum but it's clearly a bit about how people will display support through slogans but do nothing and forget about it in their day to day life.

If you've seen him before you'll know he essentially acts a like conductor for the audience, getting us to ooh and aah and applause and whoop and boo.

At the end, he urges everyone into a standing ovation using this tactic. Some people in the front row didn't stand, which is fair enough. He asked them why they didn't, if they didn't enjoy the show. I guess this could be considered goading, but it's what he's been doing all night. For example, pointing at people and miming their blank expressions and folded arms and asking them to smile and laugh. Or it could be genuine ask for feedback, you know like most comics do at the end of a gig in a "did you enjoy the show" sort of way.

Now I didn't hear what was said, obviously the audience isn't miced up. But it was something a long the lines of that they did until he showed the Palestinian flag, or they didn't and especially after he showed the flag.

Paul was a bit confused and rattled by it, as was the audience. He wasn't sure if they were being sarcastic or not so he asked them to explain. Again, I didn't hear the explanation. But it did make him angry.

That's when he told them that if they didn't like they can get the fuck out of his show. And for anyone who didn't like it to also get out. A group of people did.

As they were leaving, Paul said they had no idea what they were on about. Paul grew up in Belfast, he understands terrorism and bombing. He's lived through the troubles. Clear emphasis on 'lived' - if there wasn't a ceasefire, he wouldn't here.

I think one other audience member may have also shouted fuck off. But it definitely wasn't 200 people shouting get out. Or free Palestine. People at the back of the room wouldn't have even known entirely what had happened.

I think the audience was a bit confused, I was on row C (though Downstairs at Soho Is set up like cabaret so it's round tables rather than theatre seating). We weren't sure if it was or wasn't a bit. But when he spoke about NI people cheered for him. When he chanted ceasefire now, some of the audience also did.

Also important to say that he condemn Hamas and say he hates terrorism, all terrorism.

He was angry. Of course his is. He's showing solidarity for Palestinian artists, performers and clowns. That we wouldn't have enjoyed his performance if there wasn't a ceasefire because he literally wouldn't have been here.

Also important to say that not once did he say anything about Jewish people or Israel. All he did was show the Palestine flag, and the Ukrainian flag, to mock people who say they care about a cause but do nothing. To be honest, he was mocking me.

He asked to call it what it was. A genocide.

What's really tedious about this is that it takes a quick look at his Instagram to see where his stance lies. I can't imagine paying upwards of £15 to see anyone without looking them up first, and especially to sit on the front row. But maybe that's just me.

This has nothing to do with Soho. Paul has done this show for the three or four day run without incident.

We left soon after so I didn't stay at the bar at the end, not sure if anything happened there.

I wouldn't usually post here but I think it's so important to actually explain what happened, and the context of the actual joke that caused all this. Rather than people on twitter piling on something they don't know anything about.

It's a pretty wild experience to have been part of an audience that is getting all this attention. Really clear to see how all this hate and misinformation spreads.

Also, it's majestic to see that many of the people who are piling on, and one of the Twitter accounts that first posted about this is, are online Terfs. Tells you everything you need to know really.

Paul Currie is sweet clown and must be protected at all costs.

lauraxsynthesis

Thanks @lazybones I was hoping someone would be able to provide more context and it's great you were there and I agree comedians need protecting. There's been so much blacklisting and piling on from genocide enablers even before this.

I think there are a couple of typos you might want to check? eg "Also important to say that once did he saying about Jewish people or Israel."


lazybones

Quote from: lauraxsynthesis on February 12, 2024, 03:39:16 PMThanks @lazybones I was hoping someone would be able to provide more context and it's great you were there and I agree comedians need protecting. There's been so much blacklisting and piling on from genocide enablers even before this.

I think there are a couple of typos you might want to check? eg "Also important to say that once did he saying about Jewish people or Israel."



Thanks! Fixed (hopefully all) the typos.

Pdine

Surprised not to see a mention of Jeremy Hardy, who constantly brought the oppression of the Palestinian people to the attention of his audience, and indeed made documentaries about it. He didn't really do material about it, but as you'll see from the links below, he didn't find it that funny.

Jeremy Hardy vs The Israeli Army Trailer

JH speech on Palestine + more on that documentary

Health Under Occupation documentary

Five years now since he died. RIP JH.

phantom_power

With that Paul Currie thing, surely it can't be classed as anti-Semitic if he didn't know the person was Jewish? He was saying they should leave if they didn't like the show. Even if he was saying they should leave because they didn't support Palestine it doesn't follow that they were Jewish. Unless they stated they were, which I don't think that article reports, then how would he know and therefore how could it be anti-Semitic.

Snrub

Quote from: Steve Faeces on February 12, 2024, 02:11:14 PMThis is such a weird addition to the end of that Chortle article.

I mean, how is this relevant in any way?



At the risk of sounding like my Dad talking about anything sort of modern, the state of "journalism" on Chortle is absolute dogshit at times. They frequently add these snide bits of detail that other sites wouldn't because they can't keep their opinions to themselves.

If you want to post your irrelevant opinions on what's happening in comedy join a forum like the rest of us, don't put it in your news articles.

Thanks @lazybones for your really detailed and thoughtful update too

neveragain

Not to pile on in any way, as that's obviously awful and unnecessary, but doesn't it ruin the effect of a silent performance if you start shouting at the audience to fuck off?

Actually it could be quite effective, dramatically. Comment withdrawn.

lazybones

Quote from: Snrub on February 12, 2024, 11:26:57 PMAt the risk of sounding like my Dad talking about anything sort of modern, the state of "journalism" on Chortle is absolute dogshit at times. They frequently add these snide bits of detail that other sites wouldn't because they can't keep their opinions to themselves.

If you want to post your irrelevant opinions on what's happening in comedy join a forum like the rest of us, don't put it in your news articles.

Thanks @lazybones for your really detailed and thoughtful update too

I think this has been picked up by media outlets, and lots of Twitter users, from this tweet

https://x.com/nice_cuppa/status/1756825770872250876?s=20

But The Guardian has trumped Chortle by adding on a story about death threats a Jewish chaplain is getting in Leeds to their Paul Currie piece, as though the two things are in anyway comparable.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2024/feb/12/soho-theatre-apologises-after-comedian-abused-jewish-audience-member


Mobbd

#74
I don't like Paul Currie. He really laid into my friend in a show once. He came to her for a high five or something but she was confused by it and didn't do the right thing. He went insane and tried to kick her out, screaming about how she doesn't have to stay if she doesn't like his show.

It was really unpleasant, shouting right into her face with full eye contact rather than peformatively to the room. The show had been going okay but the audience was lukewarm and there'd been some annoying charitable laughter from a table of local comics at the front. I think this had put him in a bad mood and he took it out on an audience member.

I'm cool with audience participation and confrontational comics but I didn't like how personal it felt and how he tried to own/preempt what he sensed could be a walkout, which is the only power a freaked-out audience member has really. It would have ruined our night but some nice goths from the back of the room gave her a big hug at the end.

I don't want him to be ruined for antisemetism if that's not what happened but it doesn't sound like reasonable behaviour to me and I've seen firsthand that he has it in him to be a horrible prick.

Quote from: lauraxsynthesis on February 12, 2024, 02:03:17 PMAt least one comedian has some pro-Palestine (alongside pro-Ukraine) stuff in his show, and it's led to an incident that reflects badly on him and on Chortle.
https://www.chortle.co.uk/news/2024/02/12/54978/paul_currie_in_antisemitism_storm?rss

Currie fucked up massively if the incident went down as described. Chortle has chosen a clickbait tweet description that portrays it as the audience member being targeted for being Jewish. Does Chortle have form for being shit in this area?  Then they quote GB News' Josh fucking Howie who's taking the opportunity to make it about himself.

Wouldn't be surprised if this leads BBC news in 2 days' time.

I went to see Shtoom at the Fringe last year. Currie was more unhinged than normal, actively goading and upsetting audience members for much of it. My massive hangvoer probably didn't help, but I was happy when it ended. Normally love Paul Currie shows.

tribalfusion

It's pretty amazing that thousands of Palestinians continue to be mowed down with a giant dose of official western bullshit for a chaser and people who speak for a living, who can read throughout their day and can supposedly have a go at virtually anyone, can't manage to even find a few barbs for those responsible for this constant stream of atrocities.

The exceptions are so very rare but it should be the other way around.

I'll always have a very soft spot for Mark Thomas and Alexei Sayle but it's very disappointing where so many of the rest are concerned in the UK.

I can think of some US based comics who speak out and the situation is a lot more oppressive for them at the center of the empire.




edwardfog

Quote from: lazybones on February 12, 2024, 03:09:07 PMPaul Currie is sweet clown and must be protected at all costs.

This is not altogether material to the current discussion but to echo @Mobbd and @SereneMackeral , Paul Currie is definitely not necessarily sweet clown. He's an antivaxer with a history of sketchy and aggressive behaviour towards women


lauraxsynthesis

#79
Yes, some folks had pointed out that the original 2 articles were probably libelous. The new version is a big improvement and the 2 extensive accounts at the end from the 2 punters were excellent. I hope Chortle has learned to be less shit with their news articles from this.

Mobbd

Quote from: Bobloblawslawbomb on February 13, 2024, 01:12:53 PMhttps://www.chortle.co.uk/news/2024/02/13/54990/audience_members_back_paul_currie_in_antisemitism_storm

Seems like the original chortle article has been hastily amended.

That's much better. Good witness accounts to supplement lazybones' one above.

The one thing I'd say to temper the defence a little is that the statements don't seem to be from Jews. They can't know how it feels to live as Jew and what that shouting must have felt like; it sounds horrible even in the non-exaggerated versions. "Ceasefire now" must never, ever be used in that way.

Also, it doesn't sound like the Israeli audience member wanted to complain or cause a scene. He didn't heckle. Paul went to him, not the other way around. The guy just refused to conform to 200 others and stand/applaud for a flag.

Displaying the Palestine flag in the current context is increasingly about peace and ceasefire and I'm sure that was Paul's intention, but there's a history of antisemites deploying it with an eye to disguising their hate with moral high ground and as a way to perpetuate the West's wet dream of "Jews and Muslims hate each other." It's complicated and I don't blame the guy for not being pleased to see the flag. I'm an anti-Zionist but I don't always feel comfortable with public displays of the flag or confident enough in its symbolism to deploy it myself even though I'm disgusted by the genocide and desperately want a ceasefire.

Small Man Big Horse

There's a new Chortle news story where the Soho Theatre have now banned Currie from performing again: https://www.chortle.co.uk/news/2024/02/13/54994/soho_theatre_bans_paul_currie_over_antisemitic_outburst

I of course don't know what happened, but if that is true it's pretty horrifying. And if it's not true, would it not be a good time for Currie to speak out about what happened? Ahhhh, I don't know what to think, and it's probably best for the dust to settle and hear from all involved before I even begin to think about it.

lauraxsynthesis

Chortle and Soho Theatre now happy to just go ahead and call Currie antisemitic. This is scary stuff.
https://x.com/sohotheatre/status/1757495584586649721?s=20

Once you start caving in to an organisation like CAA, they don't walk away happily, they keep pushing. If anyone mentions Palestine in future shows, they'll be the next target. Soho Theatre won't want repeated stories of "venue caught up in antisemitism row again". This is going to lead to self-censorship and more people not being allowed to work at the venue. Not that it'll be limited to shows there of course. It's going to be open season on anyone who doesn't keep their head down.

Also comes on the same day as the Arts Council's new policy on political statements.
https://x.com/ArtsPro/status/1757371540474089695?s=20

Small Man Big Horse

I really don't want to say anything more about Currie as I wasn't there to witness it, but the Arts Council's new policy is fucking horrendous, the threat that a venue could lose funding because of something that they had no idea might take place is beyond appalling.

lazybones

#84
Thanks for sharing your experiences of seeing Paul live @Mobbd, @SereneMackeral and @edwardfog. I've never witnessed anything like this - from my experience he seems to leave people alone who don't want to take part and join him on stage (as he did on Saturday funnily enough). I've not heard anything about the antivax stuff and sketchy behaviour towards women but will look into it.

Thanks for your comment about what the Palestinian flag can signify @Mobbd.

I still think that within the context of the joke in which the flag was used, the target was the general audience who don't pretend to care about conflicts but in actuality do nothing to help. It's being reported as though he took it out to make a political point at the end of the show. He did take out again as the group of people left. But he didn't make anyone stand up to applaud the flag.

I don't know if makes a difference, but the guy who made a point of objecting and walked out describes himself as 'proud Zionist' on his Instagram and lists his previous roles as a 'Team Leader' and 'Software Engineer' at the IDF on LinkedIn. He's also speaking to Mike Graham on Talk TV tomorrow night. Not posting the links here because I don't want to encourage any form of pile ons, but it's easy enough to find.

lazybones

#85
Quote from: Small Man Big Horse on February 13, 2024, 10:52:46 PMI really don't want to say anything more about Currie as I wasn't there to witness it, but the Arts Council's new policy is fucking horrendous, the threat that a venue could lose funding because of something that they had no idea might take place is beyond appalling.

I work for an ACE funded org (a National Portfolio Organisation) and am a Trustee for another. The way ACE are excusing this is by saying that the organisation or associated staff making political beliefs known could cause a risk to an organisation's reputation and if they willfully let that happen then they will have breached their funding agreement.

I'm sure this is a result of organisations receiving of orchestrated complaints and not knowing how to respond.

I'd say that this has always been implicitly understood by employees - I would never on an open or public forum where my name can be seen make any political statement, unless it's related to the arts/culture. Last year, the organisation I'm a Trustee for got a lot of bad press from the usual right wing media  and we were subsequently trolled with encouragement from Laurence Fox with horrible racist crap. Trustees were told that we weren't allowed to engage and shouldn't say anything publicly because the Charities Commission discourages them from getting into online arguments around contentious issues. Again, it's about not putting the organisation's reputation at risk.

Soho's response shows that they fear risking their reputation, and therefore funding, so want to put a stop all the bad press as soon as possible. At this point with how fast and far a false version of the story has spread it's easier for them to take this step to protect themselves as quickly as possible rather than make a full statement of events once they've done a full consultation with their staff and audience. I'm disappointed but not surprised.

To be honest, the way the entire arts and wider cultural and charity sector (apart from some obvious humanitarian ones) has responded to this since October 7th has been abysmal. It's not been talked about at all. So when something that hits the news like this happens, they have no idea what to do.

Small Man Big Horse

Thanks for the detailed reply, it's fascinating and bleak to hear about it all. Perhaps this is worth starting another thread for but I wonder what will happen to Jerry Sadowitz this year when he tours in February, March and April...

Blinder Data

Quote from: lauraxsynthesis on February 13, 2024, 10:45:50 PMChortle and Soho Theatre now happy to just go ahead and call Currie antisemitic. This is scary stuff.
https://x.com/sohotheatre/status/1757495584586649721?s=20

they don't call him antisemitic exactly, they say they won't allow acts of antisemitism (among other things) at their venue. I'm not trying to split hairs - I think the wording is important for legal reasons!

obvs I wasn't there or know the guy's act, but it sounds like a threatening and unacceptable reaction to an audience member. to do this because they did not behave like the artist wanted him isn't on. also it was presumptuous of him to assume the people he was shouting at had no lived experience of conflict.

if you scream blue murder at people unreasonably and demand that they leave the venue, then you can expect consequences from audience members and the venue. if they're talking or being abusive that's different!

Buelligan

Sorry, I know I don't normally post on this board but just saw the Currie story on the BBC website, and, as is my way, did a brief bit of research.  Don't know how true this tweet is, have to go to bed and don't have time to check it, but thought it was worth adding into the conversation -

QuoteLiahav Eitan spent 6-yrs in Unit 8200 responsible for blackmailing, surveillance & assisting assassinations of Palestinians before he moved to London 5-yrs ago.

https://twitter.com/HolyLandRed1/status/1757800261513363480

Steve Faeces

Whether or not he was in the IDF and is an appalling human being, he was there as a punter just like anyone else.

It sounds, from other audience members, like a situation that got out of hand and was dealt with poorly by the comedian rather than Paul Currie whipping up a crowd into an Antisemitic rally which is what Josh Howie, and other partial commentators who weren't there claimed happened.