Comedians tell how anti-Brexit jokes are damaging their careers as audiences outside of London walk out in offence


Comedians have told how anti-Brexit jokes are killing their careers as audiences outside of London walk out in offence.

A number of comedians have described scripting their take on Britain leaving the European Union for left-wing audiences in London, only to face unamused audiences when they take their acts out to the rest of the country.

Marcus Brigstocke has been touring the country with a set that includes 20 minutes of material on Brexit, it is his first tour that has seen members of the audience walking out “every night” in anger.

He revealed that a number of his fans were unlikely to return to his shows in future, following the jokes.

“People have been angry; people have walked out of shows and people have booed. 

“A lot of the people that I think of as my audience will not be back – they won’t come again – they’re that angry,” he told BBC Radio 4.

Writing on Facebook, Brigstocke said he did not want to turn his audience off, but said: “for the first time ever on tour I have people walking out every night ‑ not hoards, but some. That’s unsettling. 

“I have never before dealt with a subject as divisive and upsetting (including passionate criticisms of religion etc.). It’s a challenge I would usually enjoy but (perhaps because I’m not doing it well enough) it is proving to be a nightmare.

“It seems that for the most part Brexit is not just the hideous social and political turn we have taken as a country but is also comedic poison.”

Comedian Stewart Lee has also spoken of some audience members’ reactions to his material poking fun at leave voters during his shows.

Aaron Brown, editor of the British Comedy Guide, said: “I consume a lot of comedy – mostly TV, also some live – and would say the comedy world’s reaction has been almost exclusively negative. 

“Many jokes essentially paraphrase as ‘shooting ourselves in the foot’, and the rest rely on lazily branding 52 per cent of the voters as racist. 

“One would have hoped comedians would be able to find comic mileage in their evident disengagement from half of the public, but there instead seems to be little to no such acceptance and analysis of the referendum result, instead merely anger at lashing out at stupid people making the wrong decision, as they see it.

“As far as audience reaction goes, it tends to be fairly warm with television studio audiences as most such recordings take place in the resolutely pro-remain London, but in the rest of the country – England and Wales, at very least – one can only begin to imagine how alienated and offended some audiences must feel.”

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