Famous British comedian, Ricky Gervais, came under heavy attacks from a married couple and several media after he made a couple of jokes involving dead babies.
Suzi Gourley and her husband Ryan, from Bangor, protested Gervais’ performance by storming out of one of his gigs. The couple lost their son Eli last year, during birth, and were thus infuriated by Gervais making a joke of such a thing.
“I know people take things differently and I know our emotions are raw. But why joke about a baby being dead? It’s just wrong”. Suzi Gourley told in an interview. She also urged the comedian to drop the joke, saying “Please, please, consider your audience”, explaining that there were other parents there as well who could have lost their child or just didn’t find the joke to be appropriate.
Responding to the criticism, Gervais posted a series of tweets addressing the controversy. ” The question ‘Is there any subject you shouldn’t joke about?’ is no less ridiculous than ‘Is there any subject you shouldn’t talk about?’ “, Gervais wrote on his Twitter account.
Later on, he added: “I see offense as the collateral damage of free speech. I hate the thought of a person’s ideas being modified or even hushed because someone somewhere might not like to hear them. Outside actually breaking the law or causing someone physical harm, hurting someone’s feelings is impossible to objectively quantify”.
Finally, Gervais made an ironic reply by thanking Belfast audience for coming to his show, adding that even though they “are sick people who laugh at the sick things he says”, he still loves them and appreciates them.
In their Facebook post on the subject, Suzi and Ryan said that “going out after a loss can be a difficult thing to do. There are feelings of doubt, thoughts that you shouldn’t be enjoying yourself as it is somehow disrespectful to your child’s memory”.
Ricky Gervais is a British comedian who has been preforming since 1982. Although unsuccessful in his early years, He became more popular in the late 1990s, when he worked with Jimmy Carr, Robin Ince and Stephen Merchant. He was declared one of the top ten stand-up comedians by several magazines. Gervais starred in several films and TV shows and has received numerous awards for his performances.
Apart from promoting his gigs and works, Gervais uses social media to raise awareness of animal welfare. He tweets links to online petitions to rescue animals from captivity and promote animal rights. In 2002, he took part in a charity boxing match against Grant Bovey, for the UK charity telethon Comic Relief.