Catherine Tate says ‘cancel culture is waging war on comedy’ and calls for common sense to prevail
Award-winning actress and comedian Catherine Tate has warned that cancel culture is waging a “war on comedy” and called for common sense to prevail.
The writer, 53, said modern comedy is like “tactile paper” and jokes are “deliberately misinterpreted”.
Tate is arguably best known for her “Am I Bovvered?” character Lauren Cooper, a troubled teenager offering a tongue-in-cheek portrayal of Britain’s ‘chav’ era.
She told the BBC’s Headliners podcast that she believes comedy is a way for people to connect and that “everyone should have their mickey pulled out sometimes”.
During this 30-minute interview, the comedian said people need to be able to use common sense and recognize situations where you’re “just laughing.”
Tate added: “I think you can’t help but guess: we’re in a climate where it’s like touch paper right now.”
“Things can be, and often are, deliberately misinterpreted. I don’t think there should be a war on jokes, I don’t think there should be a war on comedy – I don’t think there should be a war on culture.
“But most people know the guidelines between common sense and hypersensitivity that can surround a lot of debate right now.”
“It’s everyone’s turn at some point to have the mickey removed, and that’s fine.”
Comedian Catherine Tate, 53, said modern comedy is like ‘tactile paper’ and jokes are ‘deliberately misinterpreted’
The mother-of-one added that her comedy was ‘never intended to offend’ but, due to the subjectivity of comedy, she is not ‘controlling’ that.
“Comedy is subjective,” she said. “It’s in the eye of the belly laugher and I appreciate that.
“But I do stuff that I find funny, it’s never meant to offend but, of course, you can’t control that.
“I’m just saying it’s often a bonding thing. That doesn’t mean anyone has the right to go out and say cruel and awful things to people, that’s another thing.
“I just make people laugh. I think it’s fair to push things beyond where we’re told it’s OK to laugh.
Tate is arguably best known for her “Am I Bovvered?” character Lauren Cooper, a troubled teenager offering a tongue-in-cheek portrayal of Britain’s ‘chav’ era
“Laughing is an involuntary action. You can’t start telling people [when] to stop laughing.
His comments come just months after fellow comedian Jimmy Carr faced a huge public backlash for a joke he made about the deaths of members of the traveling community during the Holocaust.
During a segment of his Netflix comedy special “His Dark Material,” Carr said, “When people talk about the Holocaust…” to which the audience gasped and he looked at them, nodding.
The 49-year-old continued: “When people talk about the Holocaust, they talk about the tragedy and horror of six million Jewish lives lost to the Nazi war machine.
“But they never mention the thousands of Gypsies who were killed by the Nazis.
“Nobody ever wants to talk about it, because nobody ever wants to talk about the positives.”
The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust said his comments were “hateful” and other celebrities lined up to criticize him, including his friend and fellow comedian David Baddiel and author Sir Philip Pullman.
But critics of cancel culture blasted the corrosive effect Mr Carr’s ‘cancellation’ would have on ‘free speech’.
Tate’s BBC sketch series The Catherine Tate Show, which debuted in 2004 and ran until 2007 and was nominated for seven BAFTA awards and an International Emmy Award.
Her latest project, The Nan Movie, sees Nan (Tate) go on a road trip as she tries to mend her relationship with her sister Nell (Katherine Parkinson) after it turns out Nell is dying.
The role of Catherine de Nan is based on the popular character from her BBC Two sketch show which ran for three series from 2004 to 2006, as well as four BBC One spin-offs, Catherine Tate’s Nan specials, which aired between 2009 and 2015.