Saturday, 14 July 2012

Quick Quiz

1)Think of ten famous comedians.
2)Think of ten famous comedians who are women.
2)Think of ten famous comedians who aren’t white.
4)Think of ten famous comedians who are gay.

You probably found that the list decreased as you continued. There is much better representation of the diverse world we’re living in on TV, but nowhere near enough. In comedy land the map is plotted by the comedy panel show.

There are so many of them that they produce the reference points needed to demonstrate the picture as it is not as it should be. It’s a winning formula which is so entrenched that commissioners are regurgitating it in everyway imaginable but not straying too far from the rule.

Now try this

Think of ten famous comedians who are disabled.

There are disabled comedians but TV makes people famous and so the list is redundant.You won’t see disabled people featured on TV because it’s TV and broadcasters are too busy trying to defend the “not enough women” questions.
Irony being what it is the disabled performers, actors, politicians, humanitarians and scientists are featured in comedy but it’s as the punchline not the person delivering the “gag”.  Nothing demonstrates this fact better than Susan Boyle. A woman with a learning disability and now global star, became famous because people laughed at her and then discovered how prejudiced they were. Her story was seen as inspirational to many and a fertile ground for cruel jokes to some.

You certainly won’t hear any of the disabled comics on the circuit complaining too loudly or too publicly because as I was told by a disabled comic “If they see you as being militant even the little work we do get quickly dries up” In the history of civil rights silence is a powerful weapon.

So there we have it.  Keep “them” off TV and everyone apparently feels more comfortable, everyone except the targets of the disablist jokes that is.

With approximately ten million disabled people in the UK the “joke” that is under-representation, like the disablist jokes this allows, just isn’t funny.