Charlie Higson: Comedy sometimes needs to be offensive
The co-creator of The Fast Show said he is tired of social media commentators getting offended by things.
Charlie Higson has said he believes comedy should sometimes be transgressive and offensive in order to be effective.
The comedian and writer also thinks that people need to laugh more than ever in current times, and has called for a daring new sketch show to come out “with all guns blazing”.
Higson, known for creating and starring in The Fast Show in the 1990s, said he is glad that he was largely able to avoid hearing the thoughts of viewers about the series because of a lack of social media.
He wrote in the Radio Times: “We were spared the torture of neurotically checking Twitter every five minutes and contending with instant judgements, knee-jerk reactions and a bottomless swamp of opinion.”
He said that, while they would occasionally get “the odd letter”, they were mostly able to make the show as he and co-creator Paul Whitehouse wanted to without being “influenced by what anyone else thought”.
Higson compared Twitter to being “like sitting in a pub as big as the world and listening to everyone’s conversations”.
“It hasn’t changed how people think; we’ve always been a bunch of idiots. The only difference now is that we can clearly see just what idiots we are,” he added.
Higson said that “if you want to make effective comedy you have to stick two fingers up at everyone, and blow a raspberry” to society.
He added: “Comedy needs to be transgressive, and yes, it occasionally needs to be offensive to get its point across, just so long as it always speaks the truth.
“Now, perhaps more than ever, we need a good laugh. What I’d love to see is a big, bold new sketch show that comes out with all guns blazing.
“A show that lays it on the line and says: ‘This is the world, and this is what’s funny about it.’ Something adult and fearless and fiercely intelligent.
“A show that treats social media as what it is – a grand, universal joke. I’d watch that.”
Higson wrote that some people think the BBC would not, in 2018, make a series like The Fast Show, which included the “Suits you, sir!” tailors Ken and Kenneth and the socially inept office joker Colin Hunt.
He added: “I like to think they would.”
The Radio Times is on sale now.