Comedians are frustrated after realising their anti-Brexit routines are not popular outside of London, with audience members walking out for the first time in their careers.
Marcus Brigstock is a regular on Channel 4 and the BBC, and his new routine contains 20 minutes of Brexit jokes. “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 on Tuesday.
Writing on Facebook, he added: “For the first time ever on tour I have people walking out every night – not hoards, but some. That’s unsettling.”
On social media, the comedian has repeatedly implied Brexit voters are stupid, reckless, and bigoted. He has described UKIP leader Paul Nuttall as a “racist, lying bollock” and said Brexit voters “don’t care about any cost, consequence or chaos”.
Yet he chose to blame Brexit for his unpopularity, as it is a “divisive and upsetting” subject.
“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,” he added.
Stewart Lee, another far left comedian, also recently spoke about how his shows and material are more unpopular in Brexit-voting areas. He wrote in The Guardian last month:
“I initially played the show for four months to the metropolitan liberal elite of Remain-voting London, who lapped up my Brexit bit greedily, as if it were a newly spiralised courgette.
“Then I went out into the wilderness of Brexit Britain, where the Remain-voting towns loom out of the darkness.”
'Should comedians always punch up, or is it okay to punch down?'
I think they should punch journalists.
— andrew lawrence (@andrewlawrence) March 31, 2017
Andrew Lawrence, one on only a handful of pro-Brexit comedians in the country, responded to his colleague’s shock on Facebook. “Whoops, Anti-Brexit Leftist comedians dying on their arse, nationwide… #cultureshock” he wrote.
Below the post, comedy fan Chris Roscoe commented: “I saw Marcus Brigstock’s show in Scunthorpe. When he started telling jokes and stopped firing off his Brexit opinions the quality of the show improved.”
Adding: “I’m glad the London bubble is being pricked as many of the ‘comics’ based there don’t have a fecking clue what many living the rest of the country think.”
Aaron Brown, the editor of the British Comedy Guide, agreed. He argued comedians were choosing to insult the majority of the country rather than understand and entertain them.
“I consume a lot of comedy – mostly TV, also some live – and would say the comedy world’s reaction has been almost exclusively negative”, he told The Telegraph. “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.”