Humour is a powerful tool and we do well to not underestimate it. Adelaide has just been blitzed by the Little Britain phenomenon and anyone who knows their work will apreciate that no humour is more brutal than that of Matt (only gay in the village) Lucas and Mark (computer says no) Walliams. Remarkably perceptive but unremittingly brutal.
They line up in their sites: the hidden but definite racism of solidly middle class society, the awfulness of incontinence, the impersonal stupidity of the computer-driven service industry, the unsuccessful socially doomed young who have been failed by the education system, and of course the acceptance of gay sexual identity and then the 21st century obsession with weight and weight loss.
It is this latter theme that brings the condemnation of local commentator Amanda Blair (see here) who witnessed a youngish audience member being brought up on stage and being humiliated by Lucas's alter-ego Fat Fighter Marjorie Dawes.
Now Amanda you can be a little precious, and while (as a person who struggles with weight issues) I know the awfulness of the hidden pain we fatties feel, it seems to me that Ms Blair can also be a little ruthless.
She wrote a beautiful critique of happy-clappy church some months ago (and every priest or minister who presumesd to officiate at worship should read it). That is par for the course and I think she did well.
What happens in public can be treated publicly, so the young Belinda who faced the brunt of Marjorie Dawes has learnt an important lesson. We maybe wish she hadn't.
But she now knows that you don't sit up the front at comedy!!
On at least one occasion I have chosen not to sit up the front at a Barry Humphries' show, and everyone knows that you set off at least an hour earlier than you normally would, so that under no circumstances will you be that person who arrives after Edna has hit the stage.
One wonders if we are so well-trained about this now that people have to be planted in order to provide targets for the comedian. (Was the young Belinda a plant?....Certainly Walliams and Lucas have never resiled from making the awful more awful and I wouldn't put it past them to deliberately use a young person because it exaggerates Marjorie Dawes even more than is possible on TV and maybe stage requires it).
If we go to see awful humour then we shoudl expect it to be awful!!
Computer says YES!