Award-winning actress and comedian Catherine Tate has warned cancel culture is waging a ‘war on comedy’ and called on common sense to prevail.
The writer, 53, said modern-day comedy is like ‘touch paper’ and that jokes are ‘willfully misconstrued’.
Tate is arguably best known for her ‘Am I bovvered?’ character Lauren Cooper, a troubled teen offering a tongue-in-cheek representation of Britain’s ‘chav’ era.
She told the BBC’s Headliners podcast that she believes comedy is a way for people to connect and that ‘everyone should have the mickey taken out of them’ sometimes’.
During that 30-minute interview, the comedian said people needed to be able to use common sense and recognise situations where you are ‘just having a laugh’.
Tate added: ‘I think you can’t help but second guess yourself: we are in a climate where it’s like touch paper at the moment.
‘Things can be, and often are, willfully misconstrued. I don’t think there should be a war on jokes, I don’t think there should be a war on comedy – I don’t think should be a war on culture.
‘But most people know the guidelines between common sense and the hypersensitivity that can surround a lot of debate at the moment.
‘It’s everyone’s turn at some point to have the mickey taken out of them, and that’s OK.’
Comedian Catherine Tate, 53, said modern-day comedy is like ‘touch paper’ and that jokes are ‘willfully misconstrued’
The mother-of-one added her comedy had ‘never intended to offend’ but, due to the subjectivity of comedy, she is not ‘in control’ of that.
‘Comedy is subjective,’ she said. ‘It’s in the eye of the person who’s belly-laughing and I appreciate that.
‘But I do stuff that I think is funny, it’s never intended to offend but, of course, you can’t be in control of that.
‘I’m just saying it’s often a bonding thing. That doesn’t mean anyone has licence to go out and say things that are cruel and awful to people, that’s a different thing.
‘I am just making people laugh. I think it’s right to push things beyond where we’re told it’s OK to laugh.
Tate is arguably best known for her ‘Am I bovvered?’ character Lauren Cooper, a troubled teen offering a tongue-in-cheek representation of Britain’s ‘chav’ era
‘Laughing is an involuntary action. You can’t start telling people [when] to stop laughing.’
Her comments come just months after fellow comic Jimmy Carr faced an enormous public backlash for a joke he made about the deaths of members of the travelling community during the Holocaust.
During a segment of his comedy Netflix special ‘His Dark Material’, Carr said: ‘When people talk about the Holocaust…’ at which the audience gasped and he looked down at them, nodding.
The 49-year-old continued: ‘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.
‘No one ever wants to talk about that, because no one ever wants to talk about the positives.’
The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust said his comments were ‘hateful’, and fellow celebrities lined up to criticise him, including his friend and fellow comedian David Baddiel and the author Sir Philip Pullman.
But cancel-culture critics blasted the corrosive effect ‘cancelling’ Mr Carr would have on ‘free speech’.
Tate’s BBC sketch series The Catherine Tate Show, which debuted in 2004 and ran until 2007 and was nominated for seven BAFTA awards and one International Emmy Award.
Her latest project, The Nan Movie, sees Nan (Tate) go on a road trip as she tries to repair her relationship with her estranged sister Nell (Katherine Parkinson) after it emerges Nell is dying.
Catherine’s role of Nan is based on the popular character from her BBC Two sketch show which ran for three series from 2004 to 2006, along with four BBC One spin-offs, the Catherine Tate’s Nan specials, which aired between 2009 and 2015.
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