Jo Brand is in the news for a joke she made on the radio.
It sounded like a ‘spur-of-the-moment’ gag, in which she criticised milk shakes being thrown at ‘nasty people’ – and recommended throwing battery acid instead.
She immediately reassured us that this was a joke, and affirmed she’d never do it – but the deed was done and the reaction immediate, starting with Mr Farage.
My issue with the joke is that it isn’t transformative – which is the stuff of all great comedy.
Comedy dismantles with savagery; comedy exposes and dissects with accuracy; comedy exaggerates with purpose. This is how comedy proposes change.
What comedy doesn’t do is propose answers – whether its the throwing of battery acid or anything else.
Answers aren’t comedy’s role…which is why comedians don’t make good politicians, it’s weak on policy.
And Brand’s answer, of course, is less than adequate: it’s emotionally dead, it’s lazy, it’s a loss of vision…very similar, in fact, to the nasty people’s answers.
Long live Jo Brand.
But let’s keep comedy transformative – dismantling, dissecting and exposing.
Answers are not its brief.