Steve Coogan responds to Top Gear comments

Top Gear’s offensive stereotyping has gone too far, says Steve Coogan in The Guardian in response to the presenters recent comments. Coogan believes that comedy can’t always be safe, and sometimes entertainers need to challenge social orthodoxies. But ‘saying the unsayable’ is different from simply recycling offensive cliches about Mexicans. Here is a little from his column:

As a huge fan of Top Gear. I normally regard the presenters’ brand of irreverence as a part of the rough and tumble that goes with having a sense of humour. I’ve been on the show three times and had a go at their celebrity-lap challenge, and I would love to receive a fourth invite. But I think that’s unlikely once they have read this. If, however, it makes the Lads question their behaviour for a second – ambitious, I know – it will be worth it.

I normally remain below the parapet when these frenetic arguments about comedy and taste break out. But this time, I’ve had enough of the regular defence you tend to hear – the tired line that it’s “just a laugh”, a bit of “harmless fun”.

Some of the Lads’ comments again, in case you missed them. “Mexican cars are just going to be lazy, feckless, flatulent, overweight, leaning against a fence asleep looking at a cactus, with a blanket with a hole in the middle on as a coat” (Richard Hammond). Mexican food is “sick with cheese on it” (James May).

Read the rest here.

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