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Comedian David Baddiel has said he believes Jimmy Carr's recent controversial joke about the Holocaust is 'indefensible', saying it's not necessarily the subject matter that matters, but more so the 'specifics' of the joke.
Carr has come under fire for comments made in new Netflix special His Dark Material, which dropped on Christmas Day.
In the joke, which he began by warning the audience to ‘strap in’, Carr said: "When people talk about the Holocaust, they talk about the tragedy and horror of six million Jewish lives being lost to the Nazi war machine.
"But they never mention the thousands of gypsies that were killed by the Nazis. No one ever talks about that because no one wants to talk... about the positives."
Baddiel has since taken to Twitter to say that, while he considers Carr a ‘close friend’, he does not believe the joke was ‘defensible’.
He shared a line he had once told his audience while on tour, with the transcribed quote saying: “You can obviously tell a Holocaust joke that is cruel and inhumane and mean-spirited and racist. Or you can tell one that targets the oppressors, or draws attention to the fundamental evil of it, or shines a light on the humanity of the victims.”
Tweeting the passage, Baddiel explained: “I said this every night during my Trolls: Not The Dolls tour as part of a bit arguing that it’s not the subject matter of a joke that counts, it’s the specifics of the individual joke. Clearly, Jimmy Carr’s was the former.”
I said this every night during my Trolls: Not The Dolls tour as part of a bit arguing that it's not the subject matter of a joke that counts, it's the specifics of the individual joke. Clearly, Jimmy Carr's was the former. pic.twitter.com/xI4yWt9U0T— David Baddiel (@Baddiel) February 5, 2022
He also shared a joke by Devorah Baum, which he believes to be an acceptable example of a Holocaust joke.
This is the joke I was leading to, which is, unlike Jimmy's, I think defensible. Meanwhile, away from stupid discussions about the limits of comedy, my sympathies are with the Roma and Sinti community who suffered so much during the Holocaust. pic.twitter.com/GEC5u1HgYI— David Baddiel (@Baddiel) February 5, 2022
“This is the joke I was leading to, which is, unlike Jimmy’s, I think defensible,” Baddiel said.
As a footnote, I'd add that Jimmy is a close friend of mine and a brilliant stand-up in general. Makes no difference to how I feel or think about this specific joke.— David Baddiel (@Baddiel) February 5, 2022
At the start of His Dark Material, Carr had issued a 'trigger warning' to the audience.
In front of the live crowd in Southend-on-sea, he said: "Before we start, a quick trigger warning.
"This show contains jokes about terrible things. Terrible things that may have affected you and the people that you love."
He added: "But these are just jokes. They’re not the terrible things."
The comedian has previously spoken out about 'cancel culture', having told LADbible last year: "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, he explained how he knows people have the 'freedom of speech' to air their opinion, but that 'jokes are risks' and 'sometimes it doesn't work for everyone'.
Carr even spoke about the prospect of delivering a 'career-ending' joke in his live show, arguing that people should know what to expect from him 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."
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