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Saturday 6th August 2005

The buzz on the show seems to be good and it was another sell out tonight, which is reassuring (though it would be disappointing if a half price Saturday didn’t do well) and though the crowd took a little more time to warm to me than yesterday, it was a fun show. Two women walked out early, just as I was starting the Pope bit. I assumed they had been offended by me expressing delight at the death of John Paul II and so commented, “Yes that’s right, just walk away when someone says something that you don’t like. I think that’s what Jesus did say you should do.”
“We’re not offended by the religious stuff,” said the more indignant of the women, “You are dull and this is boring and rape is not a fit subject for comedy.”
Momentarily confused, I realised that in fact she had been offended by my monkey fucking routine. “Rape is not funny!” she declaimed at the door.
“No, I agree,” I replied, “But monkey rape is though, surely?” I pulled a face, hoping that she would see reason and be swung by this argument, but she didn’t seem convinced and was soon on her way. Luckily everyone else thought this was a bit of an over-reaction and yet another example of someone hearing a buzz word and deciding to make a stand. It was a little bit like that gig in Bracknell I suppose, but more surprising to me that people would find monkey sex inappropriate, than baby pies, which I can understand a bit more. I really never expected anyone to be offended by this silly bit of nonsense, but even during a wonderfully well received gig at the Stand in Glasgow last night, the friendly audience did seem a bit shocked by it. To me it’s just a stupid progression of an idea and it seems amazing that anyone would be offended enough to leave (though I suspect the lady in question was not enjoying any of the stuff and was just making what she thought was a valid point). It's comedy. I am comedian. You're not meant to take it all that seriously surely? Not stuff about monkey rape anyway, which, you know, doesn't really ever happen. Certainly not in the way I am talking about.
After she had gone I pointed out that all sex with monkeys is technically rape as they canÂ’t consent. I also said that I had seen a lot of shows in Edinburgh that I thought were rubbish or offensive, but I was at least polite enough to stay and watch the rest of the show and not make a fuss.
ItÂ’s OK if people leave and in a sense I would prefer it if they did if they werenÂ’t enjoying it and maybe this woman had personal reasons why the subject of rape was a difficult one for her. But to be fair we all have words that bring up difficult issues for us and would never be able to go out if we got offended every time that thing was mentioned in any context.
Unless the woman had had a monkey that had been raped, or herself had raped a monkey (being raped by a monkey would not count, as that is not what the routine was about), in which case fair enough. I have added a bit about people seeming shocked by the routine and asking “Was a monkey raped in Edinburgh recently? You’re all sitting there thinking “Shut up! Don’t you know about the Edinburgh zoo monkey rape?” So maybe I should have asked whether the woman leaving was the one who had done it (quite how I don’t want to think about).
Someone reviewing the show here suggests that I am deliberately trying to make people feel uncomfortable, but this is genuinely not the case. I am only trying to be funny and get some laughs from questioning things in both a clever and a stupid way, whilst revealing something of my own idiotic and paranoid personality. We used to get walk-outs like this when we did the Princess Diana material in Lee and Herring, but itÂ’s the first time that I have really noticed my own stuff offending people. I donÂ’t think thereÂ’s much I can do about it. I think most people understand it and think itÂ’s funny. And I suppose the fact that some donÂ’t and that it makes them cross or annoyed is actually quite a good thing. I sense that once the cheaper previews are over and the word gets round that the show will find its correct audience. I am massively enjoying doing it and the fact that even I donÂ’t quite know what might happen does make it something of a spectacle, even for those who think I am dull or aggravating.

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