Comedy and responsibility in the moral maze

In the wake of comedian Jo Brand’s joke about throwing battery acid over Nigel Farage, my fellow panellists and I discussed comedy on this week’s edition of BBC Radio’s Moral Maze.

Should humour have any limits, and if so where should these be drawn? Some people worry that our society is now far too quick to take offence and to shut down any expression they don’t like. Giving offence, after all, never did anyone any harm. But are some expressions likely to cause actual harm to be done? Does humour draw the sting of even the most savage taunt or apparent endorsement of violence, or is there a line which shouldn’t be crossed?

To explore just where humour may become beyond the pale, Matthew Taylor, Giles Fraser, Anne McElvoy and I interrogated Andrew Doyle, the creator of the glorious spoof character Tatiana McGrath; stand-up comedian Bennett Arron; sociologist Dr Myriam Francois; and TV comedy producer Philip Morrow.

You can listen to the episode here.

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