- 08 Feb 22
Tommy Tiernan has offered his own views on the Jimmy Carr jibe made about the killing of Roma, Sinti and Traveller communities in the Holocaust.
Tommy Tiernan has weighed in on the major controversy surrounding comments made by Jimmy Carr regarding the murder of Roma, Sinti and Traveller communities in the Holocaust.
The Derry Girls actor and comedian appeared on a new episode of Free Speech Nation: The Podcast, linked to right-leaning platform GB News. Tiernan told Andrew Doyle that he doesn't believe comedians should be "hounded out of their job" for making a "mistake" onstage.
"If somebody gets up onstage and tells a joke and on further reflection that joke's actually coming from not such a good place, then just stop telling it and move on, than be hung drawn and quartered in the virtual town square," the chat show host remarked.
English stand-up Jimmy Carr received a rake of criticism for a joke made in a viral clip from the Netflix Special, entitled His Dark Material (which he has successfully toured without controversy for two years).
The 49-year-old made a disparaging remark about the deaths of the marginalised group under Nazi rule, saying:
"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."
The Netflix special prompted criticism from fellow comedians such as David Baddiel, and politician Nadine Dorries, the culture secretary, who suggested bringing in a law to control streaming services. Downing Street said his comments were "deeply disturbing" but that it was a matter for Netflix whether the show would remain on the streaming service.
The 8 Out of 10 Cats host then complained that cancel culture is killing comedy, telling fans after the uproar: "I am going to get cancelled, that's the bad news. The good news is I am going down swinging."
Carr has previously appeared on a number of television shows with Tommy Tiernan in the UK, including on As Yet Untitled, hosted by stand-up Alan Davies.
Tiernan said to Free Speech Nation: The Podcast that, "Something is either funny or it's not."
"It can be about race, it can be about gender, it can be about the Olympics or Putin or doughnuts or lesbians or mermaids. If it's funny, it's funny," he continued. |And if people don't find it funny, then that's all it is, it's just an unfunny moment."
"I walk on a stand-up stage to free myself from autocracy. I trust laughter and I also trust the humanity of the people involved that if somebody makes a mistake it's okay. You follow the laughter and that can take you to odd strange places. I think laughter is an outlaw. Laughter isn't the Mayor. Laughter is the weird, wild woman who lives in a tree four miles outside the town. I really would be very very slow to adopt a manifesto for stand-up."
Tiernan also told Andrew Doyle that "stand-up is a thing of on the one hand being free, free to do whatever comes into your mind on the stage whatever you and the audience find funny, with also kind of an examination of your own generosity maybe.
"It's that thing of being irresponsible, so people who are touting responsibility will find that upsetting."
Back in 2008, the Navan native made a joke on the Late Late Show about Traveller families which also led to complaints.
A spokesman for Pavee Point said at the time of airing: "There are a number of groups who feel Tommy Tiernan has gone beyond the point of good taste and decency."
Defending the comedian’s jokes about minorities, the State broadcaster RTE argued: “Tiernan in a humorous way is celebrating the diversity of contemporary Ireland. We are a changed society and we can come together through laughing at each other... Irish humour is the practice of insulting people in a humorous way.”
The Broadcasting Complaints Commission (BCC), however, ruled the Traveller joke was totally inappropriate, went beyond acceptable standards and was also derogatory to the Traveller Community.
Tommy Tiernan starts the UK leg of his Tomfoolery tour on March 17th, but kicks off the Irish leg in Mayo this Friday, February 11th.
Revisit Tiernan's 2017 revealing interview with Hot Press here.