Not every joke works, but we don’t deserve to be hit: Northern Ireland comedians

Comedian Tim McGarry said that, in light of Will Smith’s attack on Chris Rock at the Oscars, he would be buying a helmet before his next gig.

By Graeme Cousins
Tuesday, 29th March 2022, 5:54 pm
Updated Tuesday, 29th March 2022, 6:19 pm

Joking aside, he said that people should know what to expect at a comedy show and not react in a violent manner to the person on stage.

Fellow comedian Micky Bartlett said he couldn’t understand how Smith was allowed to stay in the venue after the attack on Rock.

Belfast funnyman McGarry who is currently on tour with ‘Give My Head Peace Live’, said: “People take comedy too seriously sometimes. Context is everything – if you’re going to a comedy show, you should know what to expect.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Tim McGarry said people going to a comedy show should know what to expect

“If you’re going to see our show, you know there’s going to be jokes about Protestants and Catholics and unionism and nationalism and all that. It’ll be close to the knuckle, we’re going to talk about what’s in the news, you have expectations.”

Talking specifically about Chris Rock being struck in the face by Will Smith following a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s alopecia, Tim said: “You shouldn’t go and hit a comedian. If you don’t like a joke you can get up and leave the show, you can make a complaint afterwards if you didn’t like a joke, but leave our comedians alone, they’re doing a hard job.

“Sometimes jokes fail, jokes fail all the time, that’s the thing about being a comedian, not every joke works, but you shouldn’t get angry and hit your comedian.

“Comedians need your love. Please, love your comedian ... and buy tickets to see more comedians.”

Micky Bartlett questioned why Will Smith wasn't kicked out of the Oscars after attacking Chris Rock

Tim said he’d never had been struck or threatened in all his years as an entertainer: “Nobody has ever slapped me though to be honest sometimes I think I deserve a slap.

“My problem is people who have over-served at the bar, who think they’d like to take part in the show.

“Genuinely I’ve never had any real aggression from anyone in the audience. When you go to clubs like Lavery’s or the Empire you’ll certainly get hecklers.

“People sometimes get angry but they just storm out, that’s generally people who didn’t know what they were in for.”

Lurgan comedian Micky Bartlett said: “I personally think that once Will Smith slapped Chris Rock, he’s immediately lost the argument.

“Comedians often tread very close to the line, the general rule however is never make fun on something that someone can’t change, for example having a medical condition.

“I can understand Smith’s anger at the joke, but he could have handled it better. Had he hit back at Rock during his acceptance speech, or had a word with him after the show, he could have had a much more effective come back.

“Once you enact violence, you’re automatically in the wrong, in my opinion.

“Also, Smith’s first reaction seemed to be laughing at the joke. So I don’t really understand how he can laugh, then have a second thought about it, and then decide to lash out violently. I also don’t understand why he was allowed to remain in the venue.”

Pinkett Smith has said it is time for “healing” after her husband issued a public apology to Rock over the Oscars slap.

The actress, 50, shared a quote on Instagram as she broke her silence following Smith’s on-stage altercation on Sunday night.

Her husband described his behaviour as “unacceptable and inexcusable”.

He said the joke had caused him to react “emotionally”, but “violence in all its forms is poisonous and destructive”.

——— ———

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers — and consequently the revenue we receive — we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.

Subscribe to newsletter.co.uk and enjoy unlimited access to the best Northern Ireland and UK news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptions now to sign up.

Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Ben Lowry

Editor