Frankie Boyle: my Paralympics jokes were celebratory

Aug 31, 2012

Channel 4 has reportedly 'washed its hands' of Boyle, but comedian defends his humour

FRANKIE BOYLE faces the axe from Channel 4 following outrage at jokes he made on Twitter during the Paralympics opening ceremony this week. But the controversial comedian insists his jokes were "celebratory" and "non-discriminatory".

Boyle's quips about the Saudi Arabian team being “mainly thieves” and Austrian Paralympians being “more able-bodied than most regular Scottish people” appear to have been the final straw for Channel 4, which backed him when he was censured by broadcasting watchdog Ofcom for a joke about glamour model Jordan’s disabled son.

Boyle appeared on Channel 4 only this week with The Boyle Variety Performance, but this time the network appears to have little choice in ditching the comedian, partly because his comments do not sit well with the its status as the main broadcaster of Paralympics TV coverage.

In a statement, Channel 4 said: "Frankie Boyle is not under contract with Channel 4 and we don't have any shows planned with him."

The Guardian notes that this is a “marked change of tone” from an interview in May when Channel 4 chief creative officer Jay Hunt said they were in discussions with Boyle about future projects but had not found the right one.

While the official statement uses somewhat diplomatic language, a “source” at Channel 4 goes much further, telling the Daily Mirror: “We will wash our hands of Frankie now.”

Another “insider” told the tabloid: “Frankie has upset a lot of people, his comments are out of touch with the feelings of Britain.”

But Boyle has taken to Twitter to defend his Paralympics jokes, describing them as celebratory, non discriminatory and pretty funny.

“I'll be joking about Paralympics [the] same way I joked about the Olympics. That's my job," he said.

“Nobody thinks it's a good thing to laugh at the disabled. But it is a genuine problem that we're not allowed to laugh with the disabled.”

In a rare moment of earnestness, Boyle went so far as to claim that the “stereotype of disabled people being too weak and vulnerable to be talked about” is to blame for the government’s controversial policy of contracting the IT giant Atos to carry out "fitness to work" tests on disabled people who claim incapacity benefits.

Critics of Atos and the fitness to work scheme say people who are too disabled to work have had their benefits removed and been forced into poverty.

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Shame on C4 and good on Frankie, humour is the backbone of Britain and if you don't like it then don't watch it!!

Frankie is always going to make jokes that make even the most liberal person wince from time to time, but you can't gag people because you may not agree with them, or because YOU think others may be offended. I went to a gig recently to see Frankie and amongst the audience were several people with disabilities including one guy in a motorised wheelchair who roared throughout the gig, and believe me, Frankie didn't tailor his gig to avoid offending anyone. he will always be near, and sometimes over, the knuckle, but love him or hate him, he should not be silenced by the 'moral' people who seem to believe in censorship.

Have we really transformed into a nation of Mary Whitehouses flicking through channels seeking out stuff that offends us?
I'm afraid that this is the type of comedian Frankie Boyle is. You don't go to one of his gigs or watch one of his TV shows expecting to hear 'knock knock or 'my mother in-law' gags. If you don't like it, don't watch. It's as simple as that.
Anyway, another result for Mt Francis Boyle. All this free publicity will do harm whatsoever for ticket, book & DVD sales. I'm sure he owes a huge thanks to the moral minority!

Absolutely agree about ATOS. Hypercrytical of Channel 4 who are making millions out of advertising during their broadcasting of the Paralympics which are sponsored by ATOS - the group who have single handedly done the most to set back disability rights in this country in recent years.

This man is shameful and a complete idiot if he thinks that he is funny ?!? Humor does not have to be at the expense of individuals. I think he feels the need to shock because he knows he simpy cannot come up with much else !! Tut Tut !

As a disabled person I find Frankie incredibly funny ..he tells jokes !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Family guy is harsh on Joe as a paraplegic I still find the stuff funny people should either not watch or shut up !! stop complaining all the time ....

Surely the comment about Austrian Paralympians is a dig at the Scottish, rather than the disabled. It seems to me that, as he said, people feel that the disabled are too "fragile" or "weak" to be able to cope with jokes made about them. Nobody makes these complaints about fat jokes or blonde jokes.

That is ridiculous, from reading the article he didn't directly insult the Saudi's disabilities and the Aussie comment sounds more like a dig at the scots. I obviously haven't heard either joke and don't need to.

It's a comedians occupation to make fun of things, everything, nothing is sacred. Some peoples deal with actual issues with comedy who is to say you cannot laugh at cancer or you cannot laugh at disabilities??

"something, someplace, somewhere."....See you don't have to target individuals ...that just proves my point in a way. There hundreds of comedians who have done very well and haven't the need to make it all so personal to a particular group.

Even I feel that Para athletes and physically challenged individuals in general are more efficient than most able-bodied individuals. What's so offending about that? If anything, he was making fun of the Scots, not the Austrian para athletes.

Were his words about Rebecca Adlington, Olympic swimmer, celebratory or just cheap shots to please low life fans who provide his income? He has created a niche amongst low quality people.

His body language shows he is an unpleasant man, regardless of anything he says.