James Acaster Clip About Comics 'Slagging Off Trans People' Resurfaces After Ricky Gervais' New Special

James' viral "brave little cis boy" routine has been doing the rounds online after the debut of Ricky's new Netflix show.

A viral clip of James Acaster lampooning comedians for relying on lazy material about transgender people has resurfaced in the wake of Ricky Gervais’ latest stand-up special.

During his 2019 show Cold Lasagne Hate Myself 1999, James took aim at his peers in the comedy world who used their material to spend “10 solid minutes just slagging off transgender people”.

“If people on the internet get upset about it, the comedian’s always like: ‘Bad luck! That’s my job. I’m a stand-up comedian, I’m meant to challenge people,‘” James continued. “If you don’t like being challenged, don’t watch my shows. What’s the matter guys, too challenging for you?’.

“Because you know who’s long overdue a challenge? The trans community! They’ve had their guard down for too long, if you ask me. They’ll be checking their privilege on the way home now thanks to you – you brave little cis boy!”

Following the debut of Ricky’s new Netflix show SuperNature – which has faced heavy criticism due to jokes made about trans people throughout the After Life creator’s set – James’ comments have once again resurfaced on Twitter:

Earlier this month, James was asked about the viral clip during an interview with Metro.

He explained: “It was important to me to do it because – first of all, it started, like a lot of comedy routines do, if you see something that’s ridiculous or silly, then you want to make a joke about it…

“I think the attitude of comedians saying that they’re challenging people with their comedy and then punching down is just completely nonsensical because that’s not how challenging people works. That was the first thing that made me want to do a routine about it.

“And then I guess I carried on doing the routine because if, in your place of work, people are behaving in a way that’s not appropriate or acceptable, or that you’re opposed to, it’s probably on you to speak out about it.”

James Acaster
James Acaster
Eamonn M. McCormack via Getty Images

Gervais’ new Netflix show opens with him telling the audience that his jokes are intended to be “ironic”.

“That’s when I say something I don’t really mean, for comic effect, and you, as an audience, you laugh at the wrong thing because you know what the right thing is,” he explains. “It’s a way of satirising attitudes.”

He then goes on to refer to cisgender women as “old-fashioned women… the ones with wombs, those fucking dinosaurs”, before making disparaging comments about trans women.

The set then includes an imagined conversation between a cis woman objecting to sharing a toilet with trans women, including a joke about rape.

Gervais’ remarks have already been widely condemned, including by the LGBTQ organisation GLAAD and several comedians on Twitter.

Ricky Gervais at the NTAs in 2020
Ricky Gervais at the NTAs in 2020
Dave J Hogan via Getty Images

Netflix previously came under fire over comments featured in Dave Chappelle’s stand-up special towards the end of last year.

During his show The Closer, he argued that “gender is a fact” and said he was “team TERF”, an acronym for trans-exclutionary radical feminist.

After Chappelle’s special sparked protests and even walk-outs from staff members, Netflix made an update to its corporate culture guidelines, which now includes a section stating that employees may “need to work on titles you perceive to be harmful”, urging them “Netflix may not be the best place for you” if they disagree with this.

The streaming giant’s chief executive Ted Sarandos also defended Chappelle, insisting that The Closer did not “cross the line on hate”.

HuffPost UK has contacted representatives for Ricky Gervais and Netflix for comment.


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