Little Britain's racist, isn't it? Page 11

Little Britain. Image shows from L to R: Matt Lucas, David Walliams. Copyright: BBC / Little Britain Productions.

Little Britain

Matt Lucas and David Walliams take a comic look at British life in this character-based sketch series

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ArticulateMadness

  • Tuesday 2nd January 2018, 11:03am
  • United States
  • 136 posts
Quote: Michael Monkhouse @ 2nd January 2018, 9:25 AM

This may be slightly off-topic but it's something I find very interesting.
Some years ago I attended a great improv course and the coach said the secret is to listen - AND be prepared to change on the basis of what you listen to. It sounds easy but it takes time to get used to, cos the human tendency is to take over. Like you go on stage and have this great idea about how the fellow performer is your long-lost sister etc, but the first thing she says is, 'Hi, Dad.' You have to drop your ego, listen and adjust to her idea.
I don't want to sound like a pretentious knob, but this is a fascinat├Čng parallel with life. We all have opinions and we all like to consider ourselves open-minded, but are we really? When someone presents a contrary opinion, do we even listen? And if we do, are we prepared to let it impinge on our own world view? You see it every day on FB, where 'like' just means 'I agree'. My personal favourite is 'Well said' when it isn't said well at all: it's just what you'd've said. I genuinely laughed when people on FB wrote, 'If you support Trump, I'm unfriending you' - and even asked other people to do the same. It's a tad childish, isn't it? 'I think you're WRONG, so I'm not talking to you again... And I'm gonna make sure me mates don't talk to you, either! You SMELL.' It's particularly true of comedy, where 'Trump's a cock' will get a round of applause; start a witty, informed analysis of his policies and you'll be booed off stage. Well said, indeed.
I remember Ben Elton being massacred for collaborating with Lloyd Webber. He said, 'Imagine a guy who only wanted to work with someone sharing his own views. How narrow-minded and blinkered that'd be.' I know Ben was justifying himself, but it's a fair point... When I was a teenager my thinking was extremely rigid, but I thought it was cool cos my ideas were fashionably right-on.
More recently I was struck off the performers' list for an open mic show. They finally admitted the reason was: 'Sorry but this is a feelgood crowd. They're out for a laugh. They don't want to think about hot topics and they don't like your language either.' Open-minded, eh? Still, could've been worse. 'It's cos you're shit.'

Good analysis. However, these days opinions are never discussed outright for interpretation and evaluation but rather taken as cardinal sins based on people's religious and/or political leanings, eradicating that tolerance and understanding thing the world was on back in the 1970s. I love discussions and debates, but as the educational system has significantly deteriorated I've noticed people are more inclined to hold on to their ignorance as a badge of honor versus something to open the door for research and analysis to discuss more. These come across now as populism, nationalism, patriotism - pick your ism. College was really an eye opener for discussion views from all walks of life back in my time, but now that is not even encouraged. Singular thinking and lack of critical thinking being taught is to blame, creating idiots that have the gall to tell you "they don't want to think about hot topics". Comedy is the last bastion of freedom of speech but everybody wants to duck and hide and not "offend" on the hard issues that have yet to be worked out or are currently going on. It's like the Trumpistas ignoring their Fuhrer has nuclear codes and will impetuously press the button and then say "it slipped", but they defend his stupidity. I say the minute you let the "moral majority" go unchecked and hide behind their compass is the day fascism wins.

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Michael Monkhouse

  • Tuesday 2nd January 2018, 2:38pm
  • Eternal City, Italy
  • 4,198 posts
Quote: ArticulateMadness @ 2nd January 2018, 11:03 AM

have the gall to tell you "they don't want to think about hot topics". Comedy is the last bastion of freedom of speech

Yeah! They even sent me a list of ''''''''''approved'''''''''' topics. As you'd expect, they were as exciting as 'the funny side of teaching in Rome, my disaster date, my whacky family at Christmas' etc. Maybe being banned was a blessing in disguise.

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Chappers

  • Tuesday 2nd January 2018, 6:11pm
  • Surreyish., England
  • 30,413 posts
Quote: Hercules Grytpype Thynne @ 31st December 2017, 9:45 AM

Laughing out loud It's none of those really, just a very poor joke (as usual) from the forum's baiter of foreigners, especially Yanks. Welcome to the UK! :D

(Naughty boy Chappers)

I also like to bait those who are older than me.

Waits to be greyed out.

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Hercules Grytpype Thynne

  • Tuesday 2nd January 2018, 11:46pm
  • England
  • 16,191 posts
Quote: Chappers @ 2nd January 2018, 6:11 PM

I also like to bait those who are older than me.

Waits to be greyed out.

But you already are greyed out :D (Not unless you've been at the Grecian 2000 again)

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ArticulateMadness

  • Wednesday 3rd January 2018, 8:00am
  • United States
  • 136 posts
Quote: Michael Monkhouse @ 2nd January 2018, 2:38 PM

Yeah! They even sent me a list of ''''''''''approved'''''''''' topics. As you'd expect, they were as exciting as 'the funny side of teaching in Rome, my disaster date, my whacky family at Christmas' etc. Maybe being banned was a blessing in disguise.

Geez. When did bland comedy wind up being something people actually thought was funny? Is that like "upbeat" because dealing with world affairs is "downbeat?". Or is this just a side effect of the neo pill popping generation zonked beyond comprehension?

Quote: Chappers @ 2nd January 2018, 6:11 PM

I also like to bait those who are older than me.

Waits to be greyed out.

I too, like to bait those who are younger than me. And a select group of baby boomers for austerity's sake, but only because it keeps my teeth white.

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Michael Monkhouse

  • Wednesday 3rd January 2018, 2:27pm
  • Eternal City, Italy
  • 4,198 posts

Yeah... I could've understood the primary schoool fete, but late-nite open mic?

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Aaron

  • Wednesday 3rd January 2018, 10:33pm
  • Royal Berkshire, England
  • 68,363 posts
Quote: ArticulateMadness @ 26th December 2017, 9:43 PM

At least on Little Britain his most over the top character was the gay guy that was the only gay in the village. And considering his sexuality, that was almost mind boggling he'd do a character that bent on every stereotype imaginable.

Isn't it a bit patronising to think that people aren't able to make fun of themselves, and to play around with stereotypes that are about them?

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ArticulateMadness

  • Thursday 4th January 2018, 3:12am
  • United States
  • 136 posts
Quote: Aaron @ 3rd January 2018, 10:33 PM

Isn't it a bit patronising to think that people aren't able to make fun of themselves, and to play around with stereotypes that are about them?

That is a double edged sword. On one hand yes, he's making a spectacle of himself for comedy sake, but on the other hand the LGBTQQAI community is still fighting for societal acceptance and equal civil rights to that of their heterosexual companions and therefore his stereotype can be more damaging to his own cause. Granted, this can be based on the cultural nuances, because the Daffyd character is definitely seen in a different tolerance level in the UK than the limited audience in the US.

And, more to the point, Matt Lucas has recently admitted they were being racist and offensive of cruelty.
"He said he believed too many viewers would be offended by characters such as Marjorie, an overweight character working for 'Fat Fighters' portrayed by Lucas, and those of varying ethnicity, sexuality and background.

"Little Britain is about 15 to 16 years old now, we all got old," Lucas said on the show. "I think you would do things differently now.

"There was a character who was a rubbish transvestite who said 'I'm a lady'. She was fun at the time but I think we look differently at the transgender community now and it would be very hard to do that." http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/matt-lucas-little-britain-offensive-loose-women-interview-david-walliams-comedy-series-a8004536.html

Quote: Chappers @ 20th December 2017, 12:06 AM

Because Americans don't have a sense of humour?

Update on this.
"Lucas also recently implied that he regretted some of the characters he and Walliams created.

Speaking to the Big Issue, he said he would do things differently if he could "go back and do Little Britain again".

"We made a more cruel kind of comedy than I'd do now," he said. "Society has moved on a lot since then and my own views have evolved. Now I think it's lazy for white people to get a laugh just by playing black characters."

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/matt-lucas-little-britain-offensive-loose-women-interview-david-walliams-comedy-series-a8004536.html

And now I guess the Brits are getting a better world view of their humour and its effect on people in a wider demographic. But Lucas' statement implies he had racist leanings.

Quote: Michael Monkhouse @ 3rd January 2018, 2:27 PM

Yeah... I could've understood the primary schoool fete, but late-nite open mic?

Open Mic is a translation for a free showcase where promoters don't pay the talent but take the credit for the conceptualization of putting people on stage so they get 5 minutes of playing God.

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Michael Monkhouse

  • Thursday 4th January 2018, 6:04am
  • Eternal City, Italy
  • 4,198 posts

Quite honestly I'm just glad to get an opportunity to hone my craft. There are practically no openings out here.

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ArticulateMadness

  • Thursday 4th January 2018, 11:19am
  • United States
  • 136 posts
Quote: Michael Monkhouse @ 4th January 2018, 6:04 AM

Quite honestly I'm just glad to get an opportunity to hone my craft. There are practically no openings out here.

It's sad that the era of people getting together and making something extraordinary happen is pretty much dead. Playhouses, improv groups, etc. all that have been corporatized, with little opportunities for people who are curious about jumping in or just want to make their bones without the "politics" of the house. The writers have lost control of the ship to the idiots that care about the wrong things.

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Nick

  • Thursday 4th January 2018, 12:09pm
  • Japan
  • 818 posts
Quote: ArticulateMadness @ 4th January 2018, 3:12 AM

That is a double edged sword. On one hand yes, he's making a spectacle of himself for comedy sake, but on the other hand the LGBTQQAI community is still fighting for societal acceptance and equal civil rights to that of their heterosexual companions and therefore his stereotype can be more damaging to his own cause. Granted, this can be based on the cultural nuances, because the Daffyd character is definitely seen in a different tolerance level in the UK than the limited audience in the US.

And, more to the point, Matt Lucas has recently admitted they were being racist and offensive of cruelty.
"He said he believed too many viewers would be offended by characters such as Marjorie, an overweight character working for 'Fat Fighters' portrayed by Lucas, and those of varying ethnicity, sexuality and background.

"Little Britain is about 15 to 16 years old now, we all got old," Lucas said on the show. "I think you would do things differently now.

"There was a character who was a rubbish transvestite who said 'I'm a lady'. She was fun at the time but I think we look differently at the transgender community now and it would be very hard to do that." http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/matt-lucas-little-britain-offensive-loose-women-interview-david-walliams-comedy-series-a8004536.html

Update on this.
"Lucas also recently implied that he regretted some of the characters he and Walliams created.

Speaking to the Big Issue, he said he would do things differently if he could "go back and do Little Britain again".

"We made a more cruel kind of comedy than I'd do now," he said. "Society has moved on a lot since then and my own views have evolved. Now I think it's lazy for white people to get a laugh just by playing black characters."

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/news/matt-lucas-little-britain-offensive-loose-women-interview-david-walliams-comedy-series-a8004536.html

And now I guess the Brits are getting a better world view of their humour and its effect on people in a wider demographic. But Lucas' statement implies he had racist leanings.

Open Mic is a translation for a free showcase where promoters don't pay the talent but take the credit for the conceptualization of putting people on stage so they get 5 minutes of playing God.

Really? Where has he said, "We were being racist"? I would be interested to read that direct quote.

Perhaps there could still be a Little Japan show anyway though:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-42561815

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ArticulateMadness

  • Thursday 4th January 2018, 4:58pm
  • United States
  • 136 posts
Quote: Nick @ 4th January 2018, 12:09 PM

Really? Where has he said, "We were being racist"? I would be interested to read that direct quote.

Perhaps there could still be a Little Japan show anyway though:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-42561815

Lucas says: "Society has moved on a lot since then and my own views have evolved. Now I think it's lazy for white people to get a laugh just by playing black characters." "And as I've got older, I've become more empathetic, I care more about hurting people. I've only met Gary Barlow a few times, but I've apologised every time," Lucas said.
That infers racism. Especially the part of "my own views have evolved." https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2017/oct/03/matt-lucas-little-britain-remake-would-not-play-black-character

And of late you have his former comedic partner doing this, which probably has killed Little Japan: Image
Yellowface, prosthetics for the eye lids, and this is a Halloween costume. That ruffled a lot of feathers in the Asian community hard, and the irony is he did this three weeks AFTER Lucas' interview.

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Nick

  • Thursday 4th January 2018, 10:33pm [Edited]
  • Japan
  • 818 posts
Quote: ArticulateMadness @ 4th January 2018, 4:58 PM

Lucas says: "Society has moved on a lot since then and my own views have evolved. Now I think it's lazy for white people to get a laugh just by playing black characters." "And as I've got older, I've become more empathetic, I care more about hurting people. I've only met Gary Barlow a few times, but I've apologised every time," Lucas said.
That infers racism. Especially the part of "my own views have evolved." https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2017/oct/03/matt-lucas-little-britain-remake-would-not-play-black-character.

Ah, so he didn't say it at all then. I suspected as much.

"Society has moved on a lot since then and my own views have evolved. There was no bad intent there - the only thing you could accuse us of was greed. We just wanted to show off about what a diverse bunch of people we could play."

That is very clearly not a confession of racism.

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John M

  • Friday 5th January 2018, 12:08am
  • Aberdeenshire, Scotland
  • 213 posts
Quote: Aaron @ 3rd January 2018, 10:33 PM

Isn't it a bit patronising to think that people aren't able to make fun of themselves, and to play around with stereotypes that are about them?

A lot of the best comedy characters are built around stereotypes - Rab C. Nesbitt for one. Writer Ian Pattison once said that the character was purposely moulded out of all the things that people perceived Glaswegians, or indeed Scotsmen in general, to be. Other areas of the UK had this generalised image and that's exactly what was played up to. I think the same applies to Little Britain in some respects. When humour is poking fun at who or what someone is, when the one doing it is that person themselves, is surely not offensive. Or am I reading that wrong?

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ArticulateMadness

  • Friday 5th January 2018, 3:07am
  • United States
  • 136 posts
Quote: Nick @ 4th January 2018, 10:33 PM

Ah, so he didn't say it at all then. I suspected as much.

"Society has moved on a lot since then and my own views have evolved. There was no bad intent there - the only thing you could accuse us of was greed. We just wanted to show off about what a diverse bunch of people we could play."

That is very clearly not a confession of racism.

The fact that he said his views have evolved is an inference to racism. Just because he didn't have intent didn't mean he wasn't being racist. It could have very well been socialized behavior taught as a child from his parents, peers, and others. I think at this point everybody knows what blackface is and means, even if they lack the historical context or origin. Playing a diverse bunch of people is one thing, putting on blackface is another. His version of Jesse King the black Harlem preacher in brown face is WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY over the line of harmless fun. And it wasn't funny in the least, it was highly subjective and offensive to the characterization of Black Americans.

Quote: John M @ 5th January 2018, 12:08 AM

A lot of the best comedy characters are built around stereotypes - Rab C. Nesbitt for one. Writer Ian Pattison once said that the character was purposely moulded out of all the things that people perceived Glaswegians, or indeed Scotsmen in general, to be. Other areas of the UK had this generalised image and that's exactly what was played up to. I think the same applies to Little Britain in some respects. When humour is poking fun at who or what someone is, when the one doing it is that person themselves, is surely not offensive. Or am I reading that wrong?

Playing a gay character is one thing. Anybody can be gay, any race, creed, or color. But being a white guy adonning black, brown, red, or yellowface as a white man is definitely not being that person and is completely over the line when the butt of the joke goes into stereotype territory where it is based on unresolved issues of racism, both socially and within the television medium. Granted, this can be cultural as well as different countries have different tolerance levels. Howsoever, blackface minstrels is nothing people are perceiving anymore, and yet Lucas/Walliams decided to bring that harsh imagery back into collective consciousness without being sensitive of its origins or what it represents.