James Acaster’s 2019 stand-up show in which he calls out comics like Ricky Gervais for mocking the trans community has resurfaced following The Office star’s latest special, Supernature.
Gervais spends a significant chunk of his new Netflix special taking aim at the trans community, joking that ‘old-fashioned women’ are ‘the ones with wombs’ and that he’s transitioning to become ‘Vicky Gervais’.
The routine has been widely blasted, with many turning to Acaster’s criticism because it’s hard to articulate better why the joke isn’t funny. At all.
One person sharing a clip of Acaster wrote: ‘Nothing to say about Ricky Gervais that James Acaster hasn’t already said.’
In the clip, the Off Menu host says: ‘They say whatever they like, edgy comedians. No one tells them what they can and can’t say. They walk straight on stage, top of their specials sometimes, and do 10 solid minutes just slagging off transgender people.
‘People on the internet get upset about it… the comedian’s always like, “Bad luck, that’s my job, I’m a stand-up comedian, I’m there to challenge people. If you don’t like being challenged, don’t watch my show. What’s the matter guys, too challenging for you?”’
He continues: ‘Yeah, cause you know who’s been long overdue a challenge? The trans community. They’ve had their guard down for too long, if you ask me. They’ll all be checking their privilege on the way home, thanks to you, you brave little cis boy.
‘I used to name one of the comedians that was about, in that routine, but it always got really awkward in the room because apparently in 2019 most people are still more than happy to laugh at trans people but they’re not comfortable laughing at Ricky Gervais yet. That’s the line.’
Speaking to Metro.co.uk, Acaster explained why he took aim at comedians who ‘punch down’ marginalised communities.
‘It was important to me to do it because – first of all, it started, like a lot of comedy routines do, if you see something that’s ridiculous or silly, then you want to make a joke about it and I think the attitude of comedians saying that they’re challenging people with their comedy and then punching down is just completely nonsensical because that’s not how challenging people works,’ he said.
‘That was the first thing that made me want to do a routine about it and then I guess I carried on doing the routine because if, in your place of work, people are behaving in a way that’s not appropriate or acceptable, or that you’re opposed to, it’s probably on you to speak out about it.’
Appearing on The One Show on Tuesday, Gervais said he thinks comedy is for taking on ‘taboo subjects’ and ‘taking the audience to a place hasn’t been before’… as if trans jokes are new.
Ricky Gervais’ Supernature is available to stream on Netflix now.