News: Andrew Lawrence Clarifies his Position

Andrew Lawrence

Andrew Lawrence has posted an update on his Facebook page attempting to clarify his position following his controversial remarks about women “posing-as-comics” and immigration.

Lawrence opens his post by explaining what he meant by “ethnic comedian” – “A comedian from a minority background who uses their own ethnicity as a foundation for the whole of their act, rather than looking at wider aspects of society and exploring outside of their own personal experience.”

And this is what he says he meant by “Women-posing-as-comedians”. He links his description to the BBC policy of including one woman on every panel game: “Objectively then, there are comedians on panel shows who are there first and foremost because of their gender or ethnicity. Some of these comedians are very good. Because there is currently not a sufficiently large enough pool of female comedians with the requisite experience and ability to fill the quota, there are females who've been booked for these shows who are either poor comedians, not comedians at all, or aspiring female comedians that are still learning their craft, but have not yet reached a decent professional standard."

"These females I have described as 'women-posing-as-comedians'. The upshot of all that is that there are still many women coming across incredibly badly on panel shows, which is helping to perpetuate the myth that women aren't funny. The hope is that women currently on panel shows, will further legitimise stand-up comedy as a career for women and encourage other women to take up comedy. Which is an admirable aim."

He goes on to criticise some male comedians on panel shows too: “There are also male comedians who've been doing these shows for far too many years and have become incredibly stale, too lazy to move on to other things. Some of them are fat and balding.” Some comments on Facebook have suggested that he was referring to either Andy Parsons or Dara O’Briain but Lawrence has not named anyone. O'Briain did respond via Twitter, saying: "Hey Andrew, sorry I’m so aging, bald and fat, but as an an immigrant I’ll retain my disdain for anti-immigrant politics."

On the subject of immigration, he put forward this position: “I don't have a problem with properly regulated immigration and I don't have a problem with immigrants. I do have a great deal of concern about the lack of border controls in this country and subsequent gross overpopulation as a result of EU legislation, which I believe adversely affects all our quality of life.” This may explain why Nigel Farage posted the following comment on Twitter yesterday: “It’s rare to find someone so honest in the media, particularly in comedy.” 

It is still unclear what prompted the original post. Some cynics have suggested that Lawrence did it to drum up publicity for his tour. Others suggest a particular comedian got under his skin. Lawrence has said today that he didn't do it to court attention. When the first post appeared on Facebook on Saturday I was so shocked and intrigued by it I asked Lawrence if I could post it in full on beyondthejoke and he asked me not to, so unless he was quickly backtracking already he didn't seem to be doing it simply for publicity.

 

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