So the BBC wants more right-wing comedians? Be careful what you wish for

NME's resident comedian reflects on the news that the BBC is to reduce its number of left-wing comics, and ponders a brand of comedy that punches down

The internet was Up In Arms this week after The Telegraph reported that the new Director General of the BBC, Tim Davie, a man whose surname doesn’t even sound finished, is set to drastically reduce the amount of left-wing comedy on the Beeb. As a stand-up comedian, I was thrilled, finally, this might be the thing that swings this country to vote left again.

Because the only thing that might make middle England stop and think, ‘Actually, you know what? Leaning towards another wave of fascism could be bad’, is watching right-wing comedians bang on about how much money they have and how the poor should all die.

There aren’t many right-wing comedians (and if they are, they’re people like Jim Davidson. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Big Break, but is there a better poster-boy for Your Dad Has Built A Man Cave After The Divorce?). This is because comedy is there to take authority down, not climb up its arse and thank it for prolonging austerity for another 10 years. If it makes you feel better, my beloved BBC (a constant irritation for The Right because they have to pay for it and they might not use it, a bit like, what’s that thing again? Oh, yeah – the NHS) has also been accused of right-wing bias by regularly allowing Nigel Farage to appear despite the fact he isn’t an MP any more, and did the sensible thing and voted himself out of a job in the EU.


Comedians Nish Kumar and Frankie Boyle were trending on Twitter as figureheads to prove that the BBC was biased towards left-wing comedy. Shows such as The Mash Report, which Nish presents, and Frankie Boyle’s New World Order continuously mock the Government and the Tory farce we live in, and rightly so. They’re a mess. You couldn’t write it. To be honest, they’re actually a challenge to make fun of; they create their own satire.

Dominic Raab saying he’d only take the knee for “The Queen and the Mrs” is better than a sketch. These people are beyond parody. It really gives us extra work to send them up. If we start saying you can’t rip the piss out of the bunch of Eton wombles running the country (and I use the word “running” very loosely here) it takes us down the fun route of a society where you can’t challenge authority – and don’t quote me on this, but I think that’s called a dictatorship. If there’s one thing we don’t want, it’s being told we all have to have the same haircut as Boris (a style he achieves by, presumably, walking into the nearest butchers and saying “Take your anger out on my barnet”).

As Frankie Boyle once said on Mock The Week, posh people’s idea of fun is throwing a bun across a room. Have you ever met a Tory with a good sense of humour? Have you ever walked into a pub full of rugby union fans, tanked up on ale for eight hours, roaring songs from the 18th Century about the British Empire, throwing coins on the bar for the staff to pick up and thought, ‘These lot seem like a right fucking laugh’? If you have, let me know, I’d like to tell you why you’re wrong.

Rugby boys think comedy is making your mate Burger (so nicknamed because he once ate a burger) walk into Vodka Revs with no pants on and see if the staff notice, then play a drinking game where the loser has to give Burger a hand job. You know, for a laugh. They’re not gay, though. You might think I’m aligning rugby players with The Right unfairly, but next time you encounter a group of them, be nice, because they’ll be running the country in about five-to-seven years from now. They’re all called Tim and they’ll be CEOs by the time they’re 45. Or Director General of the BBC.

When I was despairing about the state of things recently, I was comforted by the analogy that you can’t stop the flow of a river. You can’t make a river run backwards. It’s the same with the left. The left are progressive; they’re there to challenge the status quo. Liberals fought for us to have weekends and workers’ rights and a living wage and unions. You know: all the good stuff.

Make fun of us all you like as your rent rises and your wages don’t, but let’s not leave the right out of it. They’re ripe for the picking – that’s why left-wing comedy is so funny. Plus, if we don’t laugh, we’ll cry. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.