23 Oct: Comedy and censorship at the Battle of Ideas

Battle of Ideas 2016
A weekend of thought-provoking public debate taking place on 22 and 23 October at the Barbican Centre. Join the main debates or satellite events.

Are reactions against offensive comics part of healthy debate over where we draw the line or is there something uniquely censorious in the reaction of audiences and comics alike? Should promoters and venues play a role in deciding what is acceptable, or is that between performers and the public? Has the online age made it easier for comics to find platforms for their work, or contributed to a more toxic atmosphere? Is the fear of offence killing comedy or are comics simply losing their nerve?

Chaired by stand-up comedian Andrew Doyle, the panel will include: Steve Bennett, the editor of Chortle; Will Franken, satirist, comedian, writer; Jodie Ginsberg, chief executive, Index on Censorship; Timandra Harkness, journalist, writer & broadcaster; Tom Walker, actor; creator, Jonathan Pie.

Reading list:

‘It’s only a joke’: How far is too far in comedy?, Ava Vidal, Telegraph, March 2014

Offensive Comedy Is Inevitable And Should Not Be Censored, Sean Fitzsimons, Sabotage Times, February 2015

Censorship can kill comedy. But not all jokes need telling, Libby Brooks, Guardian, November 2009

The biggest threat to comedy? Self-censorship, Tom Slater, Spiked, August 2015

That’s Not Funny!, Caitlin Flanagan, The Atlantic, September 2015

Should anything be ‘beyond a joke’?, Mick Hume, Spiked, January 2016

When: 23 October, 10-11:30am
Where: Cinema 2, Barbican, London
Tickets: Available from the Battle of Ideas