A controversial comedy show has been cancelled from the Edinburgh Fringe due to fears it could cause reputational damage to sponsors. “Racist Joke Show”, by comedian Jay Islaam, was due to debut as part of La Favorita Freestival, sponsored by Arts and Business Scotland, at a purpose-built theatre space on Princes Street at Phones 4U.
“Racist Joke Show” was scheduled to run for sixteen days in August. However, La Favorita Freestival have confirmed to Islaam that the show cannot go ahead due to sponsors’ concerns about associating their brands with a provocatively named comedy hour.
However, “Racist Joke Show” will still appear in the official Freestival brochure, 100,000 copies of which were printed before the cancellation was confirmed.
Speaking about the cancellation, Jay Islaam issued the following statement:
I am sad to confirm that ‘Racist Joke Show’ will not be taking place at Edinburgh Fringe this year. After almost a year of preparation, this is a difficult and unhappy outcome for me. The cancellation of the show is outside of my control and I am, as you would expect, very disappointed about the situation.
I appreciate that many sponsors of the arts are also wary of being associated with anything that may generate controversy. Despite the anti-racist message of ‘Racist Joke Show’ there will undoubtedly be those who will take offence at the title alone. We live in a world full of bored, humourless idiots actively looking for opportunities to take offence on flimsy pretexts and/or on behalf of others in order to demonstrate an (unjustified) moral superiority.
Naturally, corporations and philanthropic organisations involved in supporting the arts are uncomfortable dealing with the fallout from the rantings of the disingenuous, uninformed and angry.
With the blessing of La Favorita Freestival, I will now seek a new venue for ‘Racist Joke Show’ and I’m hopeful that an alternative host can be found for this important comedy hour.
Additionally, the timeslot previously reserved for ‘Racist Joke Show’ will now play host to the ‘Family Friendly Politically Correct Comedy Show’ featuring a plethora of acts from the Fringe. All performers will be asked to confirm that they will not tell any offensive jokes, make any sexual comments or upset the audience in any way whatsoever. Doing so will lead to blacklisting and they will not be allowed to perform at the show in future.
I would like to sincerely wish La Favorita Freestival and, in particular, its sponsors a successful and controversy-free Edinburgh Fringe. La Favorita Freestival is an important promoter of acts at the Fringe and is doing valuable work to bring exciting, interesting and innovative new artistic endeavours to the world’s biggest arts festival.
About “Racist Joke Show”
Following the sharp rise in support for far-right and extremist parties in Europe’s political landscape, “Racist Joke Show” explores the failures of political correctness to effectively neutralise racism, xenophobia and other unjustifiable prejudices. The show also discusses whether the inherent hypocrisy and smug superiority of the (often Middle-class) politically correct has played a part in driving many current supporters of prejudice and intolerance in our electorates into the welcoming arms of extremist politicians.
The show also addresses the veracity of the popular adage “everyone’s a little bit racist”. Is racial prejudice natural? It also asks whether censorship is a justifiable means to politically correct ends. And whether political correctness, driven by White Guilt and underpinned by a White Saviour Complex, is fundamentally racist in and of itself. (SPOILER ALERT – Yes it is!)
Racist Joke Show is the debut Edinburgh Fringe offering from comedian Jay Islaam, who has been banned from more than one hundred British comedy venues. Whilst at the same time winning comedy accolades and plaudits from many within the industry.