Comic's Old Clip Mocking Ricky Gervais Gains Steam

UK's James Acaster slammed fellow comedian in 2019 for mocking transgender community
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2022 6:57 AM CDT

(Newser) – "I feel like some [stand-up] out there is doing a lacerating 15 minutes on superstar transphobic comedians and we should be seeing that." That was a tweet earlier this week by TV writer Bob Schooley, a reference to comics such as Dave Chappelle and Ricky Gervais, who've recently taken heat for poking fun at the transgender community in their respective Netflix specials. Schooley's wish is apparently the internet's command: A clip from a British comedian's 2019 show has now resurfaced; in it, he takes aim at comics who punch down in general, and at Gervais in particular, per The Hollywood Reporter.

In the spot from James Acaster's Cold Lasagne Hate Myself 1999, the 30-something performer first takes on "edgy" comedians who set their sights on vulnerable groups. "They say whatever they like," he notes. "No one tells them what they can and can't say. They walk straight onstage ... [and] do 10 solid minutes just slagging off transgender people." Acaster then mocks excuses for such jokes by comedians who insist they're simply "challenging" their audience. "You know who's been long overdue a challenge? The trans community," he snarks. "They've had their guard down for too long, if you ask me. They'll all be checking their privilege on the way home now, thanks to you, you brave little cis boy." Acaster then goes after Gervais directly.

"I used to name one of the comedians that that was about," he says. "But it always got really awkward in the room because apparently ... most people [are] still more than happy to laugh at transgender people, not as comfortable laughing at Ricky Gervais yet." In a current interview with the Metro, Acaster calls the "challenging my audience" excuse "completely nonsensical, because that's not how challenging people works." He adds that he felt he should address the controversy because "in your place of work, [if] people are behaving in a way that's not appropriate or acceptable, or that you're opposed to, it's probably on you to speak out about it." As for Gervais, he's (so far) making no apologies for his anti-trans "jokes." (Read more Ricky Gervais stories.)

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