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Jimmy Carr's 'Laughing and Joking': Why Do Some Comedians Get Away With Sexism?

02/12/2014 17:28 GMT | Updated 01/02/2015 10:59 GMT

On Sunday evening I managed to watch approximately three minutes of Jimmy Carr's Laughing And Joking on Channel 4.

After what felt like an eternity of sexist one-liners (even 180 seconds is too much), I felt great pleasure in pressing the red button on the remote control and watching the screen turn to black.

While Carr's jokes remained the topic of our conversation for the next hour, I haven't heard a peep from Twitter or media outlets (including my own) questioning his hateful remarks.

Even Channel 4 seem to know he's gone too far. "Jimmy Carr delivers a host of one-liners, stories and jokes, some clever, some rude and a few totally unacceptable," says the listing. But no one appears to care.

jimmy carr

Normally this wouldn't surprise me - comedians have been getting away with sexist jokes since the beginning of time - but given that just a fortnight ago the world took great pleasure in taking down Dapper Laughs, the (lack of) response screams double standards.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not defending Dapper Laughs. I'm glad the programme was pulled by ITV and that creator Daniel O'Reilly has killed off the character.

I'm also glad that sexism is finally making the news. Shortly after Dapper Laughs' funeral, controversial pick-up-artist Julien Blanc was refused entry to the UK. That was one small signature for Theresa May, one giant leap for the UK.

But since those two victories, the united front against sexism seems to have disbanded.

When Rosetta scientist Dr Matt Taylor went on TV wearing a shirt covered in women wearing corsets, most people jumped to his defense. He's just a computer geek, he doesn't know what he's doing, they said. While he was clearly not advocating sexual violence, casual sexism - especially in the tech industry - is a huge problem and concerns over his choice of shirt is definitely worth discussion, rather than being shouted down.

And while Carr may have employed sexism more subtly than Dapper Laughs and Blanc, it is still no more excusable. Given his popularity and prime time slot on Sunday night television, I'd argue that his remarks are even more lethal than the other two.

So why do we punish only a handful of men while others get off scott-free?

Is this because Daniel O'Reilly, a self-confessed "geezer from Clapham", is an easier target than Jimmy Carr? Or because cancelling Blanc's visa is easy when Australia has already paved the way by cancelling theirs?

Whatever the reason, sexism - whether it is casual sexism or otherwise - is unacceptable and has to be eradicated. We need to be braver and call it when we see it, encourage discussion when we don't all agree, and ultimately continue to make the world a more hospitable place to be female.