Friday, 30 March 2012

G = gag's, aspergers used in comedy


G = Gag's /Comedy sketches.

Recently I came across a new tube video of John barrowman being interviewed in a comedy sketch… the blurb for the show is…  Elizabeth Chivers … has Asperger’s and as such doesn’t have a filter. And poor John doesn’t know that and mistakes it for honesty and, tired of sycophantic reporters, gets real honest back. And here’s a link to the site http://goodnightburbank.com/?p=313

 Well my question is when is it right to make a disability into a comedy or the subject of a comedy. This sketch proclaims to be ‘funny ’ because the interviewer has AS and doesn’t ask the normal questions making john respond in a honest way back.   Although  to me this sketch doesn’t quite fit in with him and I can’t actually see him in real life becoming that honest so quickly and doesn’t seem to be edited the best as to me does not appear as if they are actually talking but filmed separately [which they were]…. But that aside, is it right to turn Autism into comedy?

Looking back in tv shows, disability of one kind or another has often been used for comedy effect such as stutters of Jim Trott (The Vicar of Dibley) and  Madame Fanny ('Allo 'Allo) was laughed at because she stayed in bed all day and used an old-fashioned ear trumpet to hear people.  These are just two examples and this type of comedy has been historically accepted on TV. However a few years back Channel 4 showed a ‘controversial’  comedy called cast offs.  based on survivor follows a group of disabled people marooned on a desert island…  I only saw one episode of this and decided it wasn’t really my type of show, but showed an acceptance on tv in the portrayal of disability. A point to note with ‘cast off’s’ is all the characters were played by actors with the disability portrayed, something that can’t be said for the other shows mentioned.


So perhaps using disability in comedy is a good thing, it raises awareness about the condition and if done in the right way can let a small insight into the disabled lives. It also encourages acceptance, growing up and watching the vicar of dibley, I never noticed that jim was ‘different’ so to speak, to me, he was just him. And perhaps by introducing disability into every day media will encourage more acceptance within society and have and over all positive affect…

So why did the John barrowman Sketch cause offensive? Well to me because it was john barrowman, I’ve always had respect for him because I have seen him as having respect for all others and being a positive role model and here he is, using a disability which I have to make other people laugh.  John barrowman who has previous made me feel safe and included in his fan base and maybe even protected slightly from the bullies and discrimination. And here I am suddenly feeling slightly disappoint and slightly excluded from the normal world once again.

I’m sure Mr JB did not mean any offensive with the sketch and I’m sure nor did anyone else.  But I cant help being in the opinion that something that maybe Autism should not be turned into a laughing matter, I much rather be laughing with you rather than being laughed at.



if you have enjoyed this post, please check out the rest of the A-Z of asperger syndrome / autism HERE

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