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August 11, 2006



From the linked article: "Little is off limits for artists at the Edinburgh Fringe, with a record 50 shows about religion, covering Islam, Christianity and Judaism."

I can not help but note that the rest of the article, below this second paragraph, mentions Islam and/or Mohommed exactly zero times.

*Some* things are quite obviously "off limits".

You brave, brave comedians.


Funny, I'd heard more or less the opposite about the British v. American senses of humor.
I recall reading a story about an American grad of Clown College who went to work across the pond--she had to relearn the sort of gags that worked over there (apparently falling on your face went over big) because the gags she used here didn't go over very well.

Of course, who knows what Brian Henson considers 'intellectual?'


"British audiences are more intellectual."

Ah, yes, those intellectual Brits brought us the the ever erudite Benny Hill.


Actually, it does get mentioned once--apparently there is a play that highlights how ignorant the rest of us are about Islam. Why do I get the feeling there won't be anything in it about the Prophet's exploitation of women and girls or the violent verses in the Qu'ran?

BTW I liked the remark that 'all religions tell you to kill in the name of God' or words to that effect. Where exactly in the Gospels was that?


"Intellectual"? Oh no. I don't think you can consider yourself an authority on the subject if all it takes to convince you is hearing a British accent.

Who is the real intellectual here:


As far as the religious mockery is concerned, I noticed the only piece concerning Islam was an apologetic of the religion mocking supposed Western ignorance of the faith.

Odd how they portray themselves as avant-garde when mocking Christianity in a post-Christian world is the safest and most passe thing you can do.

But then the last thing you would expect from Reuters is impartial professionalism:



Well, The Office (UK) is the greatest TV show ever made. But the creator (Ricky Gervais) says all the best TV is american and gives inspirational credit to The Simpsons, Curb Your Enthusiasm, etc.


Both countries make a lot of popular unsophisticated crap that panders to the immature, and both countries come out with killer quality stuff. I've lived in both countries and currently get a British English cable package along with my German package, and the two countries (U.S. and U.K.) seem to have qualitative differences (how they do camera angles, the kinds of shows they write) but even out, quality-wise.

Simple solution - just like what you like. Both countries will disappoint you and surprise you. :-)

Gene Branaman

"The playwright Henry Adam doesn't spare any of the world's faiths in his onslaught. All religions ask you to kill in God's name."

Really, Mr Howard? Can you back that up with facts, please? Nowhere in my Bible does it say that I'm to kill the infidel.

And I was going to make the point StubbleSpark made. On the one hand, we have folks like Mr Adam, mocking Christianity & on the other hand, we have groups performing works like "We Don't Know Shi'ite" mocking . . . oops, sorry, saying how the West is to totally ignorant of what Islam really is. Yeah, right. This the very week 25 Islamists have been arrested in the attempt to murder 100s by blowing up 10 airline jets. That, I would say to director Joshua Blackstone, is ignorance of reality. I don't see any Christians attempting terrorsim on such a level.

But we must be "open-minded", musn't we?

"Britain could work so much better as a multi-ethnic society if people were more open-minded. We could put to rest the stereotypes if there is more understanding," [Blackstone] added.

Oh? Like the stereotypes of Christians the Fringe Festival seems intent on reinforcing this season?

"The arts are absolutely necessary in bringing change into society."

Actually, I'd say it's the conforming of our will to that of God's to love each other as Christ loved us that will bring change to society, Mr Blackstone. I've seen how the "arts" can change opinions. The Deputy, for example.

David B.

"Britain could work so much better as a multi-ethnic society if people were more open-minded. We could put to rest the stereotypes if there is more understanding," he added."

Hmm, what's more open-minded than letting Muslim gunmen control entire areas of London?

Ed Pie

Nowhere in my Bible does it say that I'm to kill the infidel.

Tell that to the Amelkites! Then there's that psalm about smashing the skulls of children. And the bit about wearing mixed fiber fabrics.

I tell ya, Christians gotta know what their whole holy book says before they start casting stones.

Oh, wait. I have a sudden urge to quote some passages from Acts and the Gospels, too....

Brother Cadfael

Ed Pie,

I could be mistaken, but I don't believe that any of the passages you cite contain orders to kill non-believers.


Ed Pie, please provide book, chapter, and verse of every reference you "cited." I'd be interested to read them, particularly in context.

J.R. Stoodley

Ed Pie,

Just to clarify, the passiages about killing whole peoples in the bible do not tell the Israelites to kill them because they are infidels, but because they are the people in the land God had delivered unto Israel. All that is ancient history now (though Israelis try to use it to justify their actions) and it certainly has nothing to do with how God has commanded Christians to act. Those passages are as obsolete as the commandment you quoted about not wearing mixed fiber fabrics.

Well, obsolete is not quite the right word because all of the Old Testament points forward to Christ in some way or other (not that I can always see how but that is my own weakness), but you know what I mean.


There really are some intelligently written comedy shows/sketches/series etc. In my humble, british opinion these would be Bread, The Young Ones, Spitting Image, French and Saunders, Black Adder, Fawlty Towers,Ben Elton,The Big Yin...amongst many others.

I've never laughed at any comedian 'falling over' and don't know many people who would, unless it's Basil Fawlty doing his funny jig thing... some Brits might find that kind of malarky amusing, I don't. In fairness, there are really very few American comedy shows or comedians that I personally find entertaining/amusing. However, I do have a great fondness for John Candy and Steve Martin and Robin Williams.

And I loathe Punch and Judy shows,they give me and the kids the creeps.


I never liked Benny Hill, but my entire family stayed up Saturday nights to watch The Dave Allen Show on PBS. He was a funny (and handsome) Irishman who told jokes and did skits - especially about Catholics. What I wouldn't GIVE to find his shows on DVD somewhere! To this day, my brothers still make cracks about "the stunt Pope" and "For your penance, DO the stations of the cross! Don't say 'em! DO 'em!"


Peter Jackson already made an "adult" (that is, when people say 'adult' when they really mean grossly adolescent) puppet show with "Meet the Fleebles."


Miss Jean,

You might be interested in the following:




I've just been reminded of some more English greats...(which do not included the repulsive Benny Hill- please dopn't make the mistake of thinking that the entire British Nation stayed in to watch such crud) Kenny Everet, Jasper Carrot, John Cleese (was Cheese until he changed it)...Morecomb and Wise, The Two Ronnies, Are you Being Served...

Ed Pie


I apologize for the opacity of my sarcasm. It sounded a lot funnier in my head.

The bit about the Amelkites is in I Samuel 15, and as J.R. pointed out, the passage is not about slaying infidels per se. My entire point was that, while the Bible does contain some passages where violence is advocated, in the proper context, it's obvious that they don't really apply to us.

I was just attempting to highlight the irony in the suggestion that Christianity advocates widespread killing. The last time I had this argument with someone, they actually played the kosher card and suggested that Christians who dismiss certain things like how to handle, ah, territorial disputes are cherry picking, just like those who ignore fabric rules--that we're all bad people, either for dishonestly selecting the parts of Scripture that just seem nice, or for clinging to the "true" Christianity that is fundamentally violent, like Mr. Howard's accusation. My response was the vague reference to Acts 15. Christians aren't subject to Halacha, which Acts covers, any more than they're obligated to slay their neighbors, which is pretty much covered by, well, the Gospels. Seems our detractors have the same weakness. Too bad.

I'll try to be more careful, and relevant, with my attempts at humor in the future.

Ed Pie

Also, I forgot:

The skull-smashing bit is Psalm 137. Damning out of context...just a little creepy in context.

Boko Fittleworth

The original UK "The Office" is brilliant. I must say I'm also very impressed by the US version.

I suppose people who let the telly educate their kids get what they deserve (pity the poor innocents, though), but we've all heard the rumours about Jim Henson and it wouldn't surprise me if upon a reviewing of Sesame Street I noticed some subversive messages. Ernie and Bert, perhaps? (But I'm sure nothing as creepy as HR Puffnstuff other Sid & Marty Croft productions.)

David B.

Oh no! I thought Bert and Ernie were brothers... Cousins?...Distant relatives?

Please, it has to be something else!


Jared Weber

David: They were something else. Bert and Ernie were a coupla frat boys (Pi Theta Ducky, to be precise) who got kicked outts college for what they did to a rival school's mascot (what, you thought Snuffeluffugus was born that way?).

So, until they figure out a good way to break their expulsion to their parents, they're living in the slums of Sesame St.

David B.


Oooohhhhhhhh. Is that it? whew.

This isn't new, there is a Broadway musical featuring muppets called "Avenue Q"

featuring some great songs as:

"The internet is for porn"
"What if you were gay"
"Everyone's a little bit racist"

Of course in our society, this has been a Smash hit on Broadway.

Jared Weber

Well, as to it not being new, anybody remember Greg the Bunny? I heard they were making a new one and, judging from the casting notices, they ruined it, but I freaking loved that show.


How could I have failed to have mentioned, 'The Goodies'!

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