Wait Until Fox News Hears About the BBC’s ‘Woke Comedy’ Grant

U.K. conservative comedians rage against arts grants for ‘under-represented groups’ in a controversy that has ‘Gutfeld!’ written all over it
Wait Until Fox News Hears About the BBC’s ‘Woke Comedy’ Grant

If it’s ever revealed that MSNBC funded Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette with taxpayer money, the following week of Fox News will have more entertainment value than every Fox Nation stand-up special put together.

Stereotypically, the gap between U.K. and American humor sensibilities is roughly the size of the ocean between our countries — at least from an American perspective. When the works of performers like Peter Sellers and Monty Python hopped the pond and taught American audiences about the stylings of their country’s forebears, it generated the multigenerational tradition of humor fans comparing and contrasting the two comedy cultures with the inevitable conclusion that the Brits have a more refined, respectable palate for punchlines. As such, American comics have long been copying the homework of their U.K. counterparts, with projects like All in the FamilyThe Office and Veep all adapting British humor for American audiences.

However, every now and then, the winds of comedic cultural interchange blow eastward as the U.K. picks up trends from American entertainment. And, as the woke panic panderers of Fox News will be delighted to hear, the most recent overseas Americanization has been conservative media outlets crying foul about “woke comedy” with The Telegraph recently publishing the preposterously Fox-like headline, “BBC Accused of Identity Politics with £50k Grant Scheme Aimed at ‘Woke Comedy.’” It’s enough to make Rupert Murdoch’s nipples poke through the lid of his sleeping coffin.

Apparently, the offending program offers 10 separate £5,000 grants to individuals and organizations engaged in “targeted comedy outreach and inclusion activity” with the hopes of bringing more artists from “under-represented groups” into the public eye. Since the BBC is a public-service broadcaster that gets its funding from the annual television license fee paid by all U.K. households with TV service, the program is, more or less, a public-funded diversity initiative. As such, the conservative comedy community in the U.K. is incensed beyond reason.

Meanwhile, the panic over “woke comedy” is one of the most reliable cash cows for American culture-war grifters and dude-bro comedians who need Jordan Peterson to explain why their domestic violence jokes are so funny. The buzzword is an instant attention-grabber among a startlingly large contingent of online comedy fans in the continental U.S. who haven’t been to an in-person stand-up set in the last 10 years and base their impression on the modern comedy climate on whichever comic last appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience. Therefore, “woke comedy” is a fan-favorite segment topic for Fox News anytime Rob Schneider, Jim Breuer or some other bitter, washed-out Saturday Night Live alumnus comes on to complain about the dwindling interest in their uncomfortably racial humor. 

Unlike most of the rest of the developed world, the U.S. has no semblance of a system for supporting the arts with public funds, so the very concept of an organization funded by fees charged to every household spending that money on supporting up-and-coming artists would be, in itself, an affront to everything Fox stands for. But a public fund for woke comedy? Greg Gutfeld’s writers would have all the material they need to carry them through to the next election insurrection. 


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