Comedy is booming during lockdown. The clubs may be closed, indefinitely it seems, but the internet has come into its own. And the backlash against the liberal consensus is gathering pace. Here are seven of the best unwoke comedians. All are available on YouTube. The snag is that each clip is preceded by an advert for Monday.com or a bossy lecture from a web entrepreneur eager to enrol you in a free seminar which will make you a billionaire.
Indian-born Sindhu Vee makes jokes about her Danish husband which might be interpreted as racist. ‘His entire parenting method is, “Darling, please be very happy, here’s some Lego.”’. When Vee got a British passport she was infuriated that he hadn’t followed suit. ‘So why not fuck off back to where you came from?’ she asked him, over Sunday breakfast with their three children. She got such a kick from this outburst that she understood immediately why people are racist. She believes her parenting skills, inspired by her Indian upbringing, are ‘healthy, highly quality and robust’. But in this country, she says, ‘they’re illegal. I checked.’ She offers guidance on relationships. ‘When you’re married for any length of time, like three or four minutes, it’s very important to have the last word.’
Jojo Sutherland, a middle-aged Scot, mocks her family even more savagely. She has a 14-year-old daughter called Finn. ‘Why Finn? I wanted a boy, so fuck her. Anyway I’ve changed her name to “Finn Laden” because she needs shooting.’ Sutherland makes gags about inappropriate sexual contact and suggests that when a woman reaches the age of 50 her attitude changes from apprehension to hope.
Isa Bonachera is a Spanish stand-up who failed to complete a doctorate in astrophysics. She blames her relationship with the subject. ‘If there’s something you really, really, really love, don’t do a PhD in it because you’ll hate it and then you’ll have nothing.’ She keeps books by her bedside so that if she dies in her sleep the medics will think she’s erudite. Her final wish is for her corpse to be cremated, ‘and the ashes to be thrown into the eyes of a cyclist.’
Not many comics make jokes about muslims. Even Ricky Gervais, who usually ignores the risk of causing offence, came up with this carefully worded critique of Islam. ‘If Islam is the religion of peace why are its extremists not extremely peaceful?’ The Italian comic, Nicholas de Santo, tackles the issue more bluntly. ‘My agent told me to stop saying Islam is violent or one of them will kill you.’ De Santo enjoys teasing woke audiences in London. ‘I came to this country to fulfil my dream of performing to hostile, antagonised, liberal crowds’. In his ironic way, he claims to be an Italian supremacist who considers his homeland, ‘the place where creativity was invented.’
He finds Britain’s love affair with booze unfortunate but predictable. ‘Italians drink less than the Brits because we need less alcohol to find each other attractive’. It’s worth checking out his extended sketch about a terrorist applying to have the label ‘religion of peace’ patented as a legal property of Islam.
Scott Capurro is one of the best-known circuit comedians who hasn’t established a TV career. He’s a gay American in his mid-50s, married to a mixed-race Brazilian. Whenever he passes the east London mosque he gets turned on. ‘All those guys on their knees with their asses in the air!’ His jokes about Judaism are equally contentious. He claims that he was confused when he found himself in conversation with a Holocaust-denier. ‘So I’m like, what Holocaust?’
Capurro has no truck with dietary fads either. ‘Are there any vegans here? Put your hands up, if you can.’ He devotes a part of his act to Wales where he claims to have performed regularly. ‘Cardiff will be great – when they finish it.’ He got into an argument with a Welsh club-owner. ‘We didn’t see eye to eye because mine are parallel.’ And he advises the Welsh to, ‘build bridges with England so you’ll have somewhere to sleep under.’ Is any of that offensive? Not in a million years. He’s using the anti-Welsh prejudices of English audiences to generate mischief and fun.
Titania McGrath remains the queen of unwoke comedy. Though she’s an upper-class blonde from Kensington she identifies as black and oppressed. ‘I despise whiteness. Literally nothing about me is white apart from my skin colour.’
Her creator, Andrew Doyle, admits that his support for Brexit led to feuds within his social circle. ‘How many friends have I got left? I could count them on one of Abu Hamza’s hands.’