British Comedy Guide

Regulations

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L Scott

  • Tuesday 16th July 2019, 8:04pm
  • England
  • 4 posts

What are the laws you have to follow as a comedian?

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beaky

  • Tuesday 16th July 2019, 8:41pm
  • Malaga and Brighton, United Kingdom
  • 2,732 posts

Be true to yourself.

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Rood Eye

  • Tuesday 16th July 2019, 11:10pm [Edited]
  • England
  • 4,103 posts
Quote: L Scott @ 16th July 2019, 8:04 PM

What are the laws you have to follow as a comedian?

Basically, you have to follow the same laws you'd have to follow if you were not a comedian.

Don't kill anybody, don't steal anything, don't exceed the speed limit and that sort of thing: if a law applies to the general public, it also applies to comedians.

The only area of law that you need pay special attention to is "libel": a defamatory remark about a well-known personality made by yourself to a few mates down the local boozer is hardly likely to land you in court but the same remark made to an audience is a very different thing.

If your act includes any slagging off of other people, you need to know what constitutes libel and what doesn't.

For example, if you tell the audience that a well-known psychic, medium or hypnotist is a complete and utter c-word, that's absolutely fine. He can't sue you for that. However, if you tell them he's a fraud, that could be expensive if he finds out what you said and decides to take action.

Apart from that, just be funny and it should all be plain sailing!

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Chris Hallam

  • Friday 9th August 2019, 6:55am
  • Exeter, United Kingdom
  • 439 posts

"The only area of law that you need pay special attention to is "libel": "

You should probably steer clear of national security issues too really, although this rarely comes up.

"a defamatory remark about a well-known personality made by yourself to a few mates down the local boozer is hardly likely to land you in court"
True, although technically it would still be libelous (not that you are claiming otherwise)

"For example, if you tell the audience that a well-known psychic, medium or hypnotist is a complete and utter c-word, that's absolutely fine. He can't sue you for that. However, if you tell them he's a fraud, that could be expensive if he finds out what you said and decides to take action."

If they're a psychic and they DON'T find out, doesn't that prove they are a fraud?

Another clue: nobody in the world is actually psychic.

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Rood Eye

  • Friday 9th August 2019, 9:23am
  • England
  • 4,103 posts
Quote: Chris Hallam @ 9th August 2019, 6:55 AM

nobody in the world is actually psychic.

I knew you were going to say that!

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Deferenz

  • Wednesday 23rd October 2019, 3:57pm
  • West Sussex, England
  • 778 posts
Quote: L Scott @ 16th July 2019, 8:04 PM

What are the laws you have to follow as a comedian?

If you are a white male then you are not allowed to make any jokes about; sex, race, colour, gender, diversity, mental health, physical disability, religion and any other topic that could offend any group of people who may get offended by anything you may say.

If you are a non-white male then you can say anything you want and ridicule white males in anyway you deem funniest.

I think that pretty much covers it.

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Rood Eye

  • Wednesday 23rd October 2019, 4:32pm [Edited]
  • England
  • 4,103 posts
Quote: Deferenz @ 23rd October 2019, 3:57 PM

If you are a white male then you are not allowed to make any jokes about; sex, race, colour, gender, diversity, mental health, physical disability, religion.

Most comedy venues are well aware that certain religious jokes are highly likely to result in the venue being reduced to smouldering rubble within a very short period following the telling of the joke.

However, I believe that subtle references to Catholic priests and choirboys tend to be tolerated - even enjoyed - by most audiences, even in this age of intolerance.

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Chris Hallam

  • Wednesday 23rd October 2019, 4:58pm
  • Exeter, United Kingdom
  • 439 posts
Quote: Deferenz @ 23rd October 2019, 3:57 PM

If you are a white male then you are not allowed to make any jokes about; sex, race, colour, gender, diversity, mental health, physical disability, religion and any other topic that could offend any group of people who may get offended by anything you may say..

Apart from Jimmy Carr, Frankie Boyle, Ricky Gervais, Stewart Lee, Richard Herring and all the other white comics who make jokes about some or all of these things.

"If you are a non-white male then you can say anything you want and ridicule white males in anyway you deem funniest."

Who are you thinking of here? I literally cannot think of anyone like this.

note to moderators: I didn't start this! I don't think such statements should go unchallenged though..

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Chappers

  • Wednesday 23rd October 2019, 5:55pm
  • Surreyish., England
  • 31,165 posts

Be funny.

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Stephen Goodlad

  • Wednesday 23rd October 2019, 6:19pm
  • Mirfield, England
  • 3,643 posts

He's our resident 'know all, know f**k all,

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Chris Hallam

  • Wednesday 23rd October 2019, 6:37pm
  • Exeter, United Kingdom
  • 439 posts

Er...right. Thanks!

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Rood Eye

  • Wednesday 23rd October 2019, 7:50pm [Edited]
  • England
  • 4,103 posts
Quote: Chappers @ 23rd October 2019, 5:55 PM

Be funny.

If that were actually the law, I can think of a number of comedians who should be locked up for repeatedly flouting that law.

Luckily for them, "be funny" is only an advisory note. :(

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Alfred J Kipper

  • Wednesday 23rd October 2019, 9:10pm
  • Aldershot, England
  • 6,217 posts

You must be cool and left wing, have long hair be generally scruffy, talk a load of bollocks very loudly and wave your arms about wearing a tee shirt with a slogan or an arty design or both.

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Rood Eye

  • Wednesday 23rd October 2019, 9:30pm [Edited]
  • England
  • 4,103 posts

As I said in my very first post on this thread, there are no laws which apply specifically to comedians.

If, as a comedian working outside the media of TV (and radio), you think somebody or something needs to be "made fun of" in a comedy set, there are only two considerations:

Is it lawful to say the things you want to say?

and

Is what you want to say something you believe your audience will laugh at?

If the answers to both questions are "yes", then go for it.

As has been suggested already in this thread, TV has been sanitised very thoroughly indeed but if you're working in a pub, club or any similar venue, the above two questions are the only ones that matter.

Remember: if you're on TV, you must be PC.

But if you're not on TV, you're free to be as funny as you want.

When I remember how funny Frankie Boyle used to be on TV, it almost breaks my heart to watch him these days - having to conform to rules laid down by people who wouldn't recognise "funny" if it jumped up and bit them on the arse. :(