Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Any Other Business

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Any Other Business

Article excerpt

Byline: By Peter Young

So far, I've yet to speak to any critics of Roy "Chubby" Brown who have actually seen his act.

A couple have seen video clips but not his stage performance. I confess, I haven't either. So it's hard to make any judgement.

Clearly, he comes with a health warning and people who go to his shows can expect some pretty crude stuff. But then that's par for the course for a lot of what we see on TV.

What is getting councillors in Newcastle in a lather is concern that Chubby, who's been performing at the City Hall for 20 years without a complaint from his audience, may be breaching their "social inclusion" policies.

They are now considering inserting a clause into contracts which would require performers to give an undertaking about the content of their acts before they are allowed on council property.

In simple terms, councillors don't want anyone cracking jokes which might offend black and ethnic minorities, gays, lesbians, bisexuals or disabled people.

There's even a suggestion that sexist jokes about women could also be ruled out. That would have snookered the late comic legend Les Dawson who was the master of mother-in-law jokes.

Exactly what would constitute a breach of the policy and how it would be policed has yet to be sorted out. It strikes me as a minefield.

The award-winning TV show Little Britain which includes comedy sketches about gay and disabled people is coming to the City Hall in November.

Councillors don't think this would fall foul of the policy. But it might well be offensive to some gay or disabled people to be made the butt of the show's humour, whatever the motive. So, what will happen if the council gets complaints?

One useless fact: Roy "Chubby" Brown's real name is Royston Vasey, the same as the village in the highly-acclaimed TV comedy show The League of Gentleman, and Chubby has appeared in a couple of episodes as the mayor. …

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