Irish comedian Kevin McGahern blasts Jimmy Carr gypsy 'joke' as 'lazy' and 'offensive'

Clear History host McGahern said, 'You wouldn't make that joke about any other race of people'
Clodagh Meaney

An Irish comedian has described Jimmy's Carr's widely condemned Holocaust joke during a Netflix special His Dark Materials as "lazy" and "offensive".

The 49-year-old branded the murder of gypsies during the World War II as a "positive" of the Holocaust.

While British comedian Carr has remained silent in the wake of the controversy, host of RTE show Clear History, Kevin McGahern, has shared his disgust at the punchline.

"The thing with Jimmy Carr, apart from being surprised by how offensive it was, I was really surprised by how lazy it was," Kevin told Sunday World.

"Jimmy Carr is an amazing joke writer and I'm in awe of his ability to write jokes, but I was really struck by how lazy and how bad and how offensive that joke was. You wouldn't make that joke about any other race of people," Kevin pointed out.

"I know the whole point was 'oh these are shocking jokes, and they are designed to shock you and get a laugh out of you', but it was just lazy."

Discussing whether or not comedians should censor themselves, Kevin said there is no topic off-limits - once you make it funny.

"I don't think there's any topic that you are not allowed to discuss, as long as you make it funny and as long as you're not punching down," he explained.

"I think the days of punching down are totally done because with the internet we've become a lot more aware of other people and we're a lot more conscious of 'how would I feel if this joke was made about me?'

"In terms of [crossing] a line, you can joke about really touchy subjects, but it better be funny, like if you've got a joke about cancer, it better be f**king hilarious."

Martin Collins, co-director of Traveller and Roma rights organisation Pavee Point, said Carr's comments were "dangerous and concerning."

He also called for Irish venues to cancel upcoming Carr shows.

"These comments from Jimmy Carr go beyond racism, he actually glorifies genocide," he told Newstalk Breakfast.

"Let's remember: a minimum of 500,000 Roma Gypsies were persecuted by the Nazis during the Second World War - men, women and children.

"And then this guy takes to the stage, and he begins to trivialise and make fun of this terrible genocide.

"So he is, in effect, glorifying genocide which is extremely dangerous and concerning," Collins said.

Carr is due to play gigs around Ireland later this year in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Dundalk, Sligo, and Waterford. But Collins thinks that venues should consider cancelling his shows.

"We understand he will be doing a number of live shows in Dublin in May. I'm asking the promoters and the owners of these venues to reconsider hosting Jimmy Carr," he said.

Carr has yet to publicly address the backlash.

Clear History, RTÉ 2 every Thursday at 10:30pm.

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