Frankie Boyle calls out Ricky Gervais over his 'lazy' jokes about trans people

Frankie Boyle has called out Ricky Gervais over his ‘lazy’ jokes about transgender people.

Boyle, 48, hit out at his fellow comic after watching a routine he did containing jokes about trans people, and questioned why The Office star doesn’t have the same respect for the community as he does for animals.

The Scottish star appeared on the Grounded with Louis Theroux podcast when he made the comments.

Boyle said: ‘If you’re a stand-up watching him, you feel like, “oh, that’s someone doing a version of what we do”.

‘But really, it’s that I saw him doing his routine about trans people and I thought it was very lazy.

‘I would like him to have the same respect for trans people as he seems to have for animals. I don’t think that’s a lot to ask.’

The comic, who is also known for his own brand of controversial jokes, said: ‘I mean, look, we know Ricky Gervais, he’s a brilliant actor, he’s a brilliant writer, he’s not a f***ing stand-up comedian!

‘Just ‘cause Ricky Gervais self-identifies as a stand-up comedian, am I supposed to say that he is one? It’s f***ing political correctness gone mad!’

Gervais, 59, has come under fire for his jokes about transgender women in the past, particularly after he targeted Caitlyn Jenner in his 2016 Golden Globes monologue.

He said: ‘I’m going to be nice tonight. I’ve changed – not as much as Bruce Jenner. Obviously.

‘Now Caitlyn Jenner, of course. What a year she’s had! She became a role model for trans people everywhere, showing great bravery in breaking down barriers and destroying stereotypes. She didn’t do a lot for women drivers. But you can’t have everything, can you? Not at the same time.’

In his Humanity special, Gervais went on to say: ‘That’s a clever joke, and I’ll tell you why. It’s layered. The subject of that joke is stereotypes, I’m playing with the notion of stereotypes. So, I start off saying, “She’s a real woman.” Some would say, a liberal progressive attitude.’

He then said he was being criticised for using Caitlyn’s dead name, saying: ‘I saw him on the Olympic games. It won a medal. It was on telly all the time. A big famous man. With a huge, I don’t know. I would never dead-name her. But when she was a man. I’d never dead-name her now, but this is like a flashback. Cause that was his name, this was years ago, right? That was his name, for 58 years, I think.’

He went on to use Caitlyn’s old name 15 times in the stand-up show.

Other comments included: ‘She’s always identified as a woman. That means she’s a woman. Fine, if that’s the rules. If you feel you’re a woman, you are. I’m not a bigot who thinks having all that done is science going too far.

‘In fact, I don’t think it’s going far enough. ’Cause I’ve always identified as a chimp, right? Well, I am a chimp. If I say I’m a chimp, I am a chimp pre-op. But don’t ever dead-name me. Don’t call me Ricky Gervais again. From now on, you call me Bobo. I’ll be legally a chimp… I’ll be able to use chimp toilets.’

The After Life creator also made a joke in 2019 about not having to ‘wax my big old hairy balls’ to dress up as a transgender activist Jessica Yaniv for Halloween, and made comments deemed to be transphobic in response to a spoof article two months later.

He tweeted: ‘Those awful biological women can never understand what it must be like for you becoming a lovely lady so late in life. They take their girly privileges for granted. Winning at female sports and having their own toilets. Well, enough is enough.’

However, Gervais has denied being transphobic, telling the Hollywood Reporter: ‘I think offense is the collateral damage of free speech, and it’s no reason not to have free speech. That’s what I’d say — it’s the lesser of two evils.

‘Having free speech and some people getting upset by it is the lesser of two evils because not having free speech is horrendous.’

Boyle isn’t the only star to have criticised Gervais’s approach to comedy, with Kumail Nanjiani previously saying during a comedian roundtable: ‘If you’re making some sort of joke where obviously you don’t believe it, but the point of view of the joke is that it’s good that these people are marginalised, I do think that can normalise ideas that would otherwise societally be considered harmful.’

Grounded with Louis Theroux is available on BBC Sounds or wherever you get your podcasts.

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