David Baddiel says friend Jimmy Carr’s joke on travellers and Holocaust is ‘indefensible’
'It’s not the subject matter of a joke that counts, it’s the specifics of the individual joke. Clearly, Jimmy Carr’s was the former'
David Baddiel has called out Jimmy Carr for his controversial joke about the Holocaust, suggesting the joke was “indefensible”.
The 8 Out of 10 Cats presenter and comedian has been widely criticised for a joke he made in Netflix comedy special His Dark Material, which was released on Christmas Day 2021.
At the start of the programme, designed to showcase his edgiest jokes, Carr issues what he calls a “trigger warning” saying it contains jokes about “terrible things”.
The clip features toward the end of the show in a segment he dubs “career ending jokes”, the comedian says: “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.”
Carr then adds: “No one ever talks about that because no one wants to talk about the positives.”
As the clip began circulating on social media, several MPs and the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust criticised Carr and called upon Netflix to remove the special.
Baddiel said he is a “close friend” of Carr’s, shared his take on the matter on Saturday, explaining why he thinks the joke is deserving of criticism. “You can obviously tell a Holocaust joke that is cruel and inhumane and mean-spirited and racist. Or you can tell one that targets the oppressors, or draws attention to the fundamental evil of it, or shines a light on the humanity of the victims.”
Baddiel, who is Jewish, told his followers: “I said this every night during my Trolls: Not The Dolls tour as part of a bit arguing that it’s not the subject matter of a joke that counts, it’s the specifics of the individual joke. Clearly, Jimmy Carr’s was the former.”
He then shared what he believes to be an acceptable Holocaust joke told by Devorah Baum, adding: “This is the joke I was leading to, which is, unlike Jimmy’s, I think defensible.”
Baddiel also added that “Jimmy is a close friend of mine and a brilliant stand-up in general”, stating: “Makes no difference to how I feel or think about this specific joke.”
The comedian said: “Meanwhile, away from stupid discussions about the limits of comedy, my sympathies are with the Roma and Sinti community who suffered so much during the Holocaust.”
Carr is yet to comment on the controversy.
The UK’s culture secretary Nadine Dorries condemned the joke and suggested new laws could hold streaming services such as Netflix to account for the content they carry.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast on Saturday, the culture secretary said the joke was “abhorrent and they just shouldn’t be on television”.
She said: “We are looking at legislation via the media Bill, which would bring into scope those comments from other video-on-demand streaming outlets like Netflix.”
It was put to her that in a tweet in 2017 she had claimed that “left-wing snowflakes are killing comedy”.
She said: “That’s not comedy. What Jimmy Carr did last night is not comedy. And you know, I’m no angel on Twitter, nobody is, but I just would like to say that nothing I’ve ever put on Twitter has been harmful or abusive.
“Jimmy Carr’s comments, no one can call that, you know, snowflake or wokeishness, that’s just . . . it was just appalling.”
Earlier this week, Baddiel was praised for his “eloquent” breakdown of Whoopi Goldberg’s controversial comments about the Holocaust.
Goldberg was suspended from US talk show The View for saying that the Holocaust “isn’t about race”, a remark that led to widespread condemnation.
Appearing on Good Morning Britain to discuss the matter, Baddiel said: The problem with it is there are so many issues – and I’m a fan of Whoopi Goldberg’s – but there are so many issues with what she said. It does reveal an awful lot about the confusions people have around antisemitism.”
“One of the principle things going on here is the resistance to the idea that antisemitisim is racism,” he continued. “What does Whoopi Goldberg think it is? What a lot of people think it is is religious intolerance [but] the Nazis were not interested in faith; they were interested in racial purity.”
Carr’s joke in full:
During a segment towards the end of the Netflix special, which Carr dubbed “career ending jokes”, he includes gags about rape, abortion, adopted children and Islam.
Getting to the joke about the Holocaust, he begins: “This should be a career ender, okay strap in everybody.
“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 who were killed by the Nazis. No one ever wants to talk about that because no one ever wants to talk about the positives.”
The audience laugh.
“That’s a very good joke for the following reasons,” Carr continues.
"Firstly, f***ing funny, well done me,” Carr continues.
“Secondly edgy, edgy as all hell, it’s a joke about the worst thing that has ever happened in human history. People say ‘never forget’, well this is how I remember - I keep bringing it up.
“The third reason that it’s a good joke is there is an educational quality. I mean everyone knows that six million Jewish people lost their lives to the Nazis in World War Two, but a lot of people don’t know, because it’s not really taught in our schools, that the Nazis also killed, in their thousands, Gypsies, homosexuals, disabled people, and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
“No one knows what happened with the Jehovah’s Witnesses...”
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