30/08/2019

The Jo Brand Milkshake Joke - BBC Has Last Laugh

Do you remember when people were throwing milkshakes at political figures? It seems to have stopped. Maybe it's the heatwave and we'd all rather drink the milkshake than waste it.

It kind of culminated with the Jo Brand joke. She hit the news after saying on Radio 4's show Heresy, "Why bother with a milkshake when you could get some battery acid?"

The BBC has now decided that the joke went too far. But in a classic case of BBC balance, it also found that the joke wasn't inciting violence.

It's another thing in life where the left and the right can read the news and think they're correct.

Even Jo Brand admitted it was "a somewhat crass and an ill-judged joke", which makes sense from the host of The Great British Bake Off: Extra Slice. That's someone who should never joke about wasting sweet goods. When GBBO was on the BBC it received more than 800 complaints when Diana Beard chucked Iain Watters’ ice cream away, so this is serious stuff.

The BBC found that the joke "went beyond what was appropriate" for a Radio 4 comedy show. Here's the tricky thing, the show is about saying the things that aren't appropriate. The joke can be inappropriate for Radio 4 but by definition that makes it an appropriate joke for the show.

Of course, no show should have jokes that incite violence but as the BBC found, the context of the joke made it clear that she wasn't doing that. Exactly. I have never incited violence but I presume you'd do that on social media, not a Radio 4 show. In the Venn diagram of life "people who riot" and "people who listen to Radio 4" probably don't share much of an overlap.

Nigel Farage said the joke was "incitement of violence" but then he said he'd "Don khaki, pick up a rifle and head for the front lines," if he didn't get the Brexit he wanted. OK, he hasn't done that yet. Or he has done that and the khaki part of that plan has really paid off and that's why no one has seen him.

He wasn't the only one to complain. The BBC said it received 444 complaints about Brand's joke.

Wow. That's around half as many people as complained about a waste of ice cream.

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