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Jimmy Carr has explained why he won't let cancel culture affect his comedy. Watch here:
Down the years, countless comics have complained that political correctness, woke culture and the prospect of being ostracised for a risqué joke have left them feeling creatively stifled.
The Inbetweeners star James Buckley claimed a fondness for being offended was 'killing comedy', Chris Rock said comedians are 'scared to make a move', and Shaparak Khorsandi wrote: "The fear of being 'cancelled' is real and it will be the death of stand-up comedy as we know it."
Given Carr's bread and butter is controversial gags and brutal put-downs, you'd think he of all people would be afraid that his trade is at risk. However, while the assenting voices may be getting louder, the 49-year-old won't pander to them.
Speaking to LADbible to promote the release of his new memoir-cum-self-help-book, Before & Laughter, he said: "It used to be, if you didn't like a comedian that was on telly or something, you'd tut and switch the channel.
"Now you can go on social media and go, 'This f*****g guy, I've never liked this guy'.
"I think it's good that everyone's got a voice. But it doesn't mean that, just because you don't like it, we should get rid of it.
"I don't like people being de-platformed. I don't like people being cancelled. I kind of think everyone's got a right to do their thing - if it's not for you, it's not for you, and it's fine."
Equally, having worked in the business for more than two decades, he knows full well that people will exercise their right to complain about his jokes.
He said: "You can air your opinion, that's freedom of speech too. Freedom of speech just isn't free of consequences. You know, you have to live with the consequences.
"Some people aren't going to like it when you make a joke, because jokes are risks. It's a calculated risk.
"You're trying to get a laugh, you're trying to get people to laugh at something. And, you know, sometimes it doesn't work for everyone."
The 8 out of 10 Cats host even jokes about the prospect of delivering a 'career-ending' joke in his live show. But in reality, he thinks much of the supposed outrage surrounding his material is just tabloid bluster; and given the reputation he has forged over the years, he thinks people should know what to expect by now.
He said: "I've got a piece at the end of the tour, which is called 'career-enders', which is a sequence of career-ending jokes, I've got like 15. Potentially any of those jokes could end my career. I wouldn't be surprised if any of those jokes ended up on the front page and caused a problem.
"So I kind of do those at the end of the show, and it's a nice build and a nice thing, but that's quite sort of tongue-in-cheek really, because you go, 'It's a comedy show, people are cool with this stuff'.
"People that have real problems in the world, they're not that fussed about some comedian making a joke."
He added: "And also, what's the headline going to be? I always feel like I've been grandfathered in. I've been doing this so long.
"What's the headline - 'Jimmy Carr tells offensive joke'? Shock. I mean, they're gonna struggle saying there's shock."
Before & Laughter is out now.