“Every joke is a tiny revolution,” said George Orwell. Because jokes upset the established order. Whatever “brings down the mighty from their seats, preferably with a bump, is funny”.
Which is why “comedy” today is so mind-numbingly un-funny. Contemporary “comedians” are not bringing down the high-and-mighty, they are the high-and-mighty. They preach and browbeat from their expensive, late-night TV pulpits – but they don’t tell jokes. They’re not funny.
Matt Stone and Trey Parker, co-creators of South Park, are very funny. After 22 years, they are still delivering the goods while so many other shows have shrivelled and died under the suffocating cloak of woke-ness. And they’re not afraid to take on the mightiest of bullies.
The creators of the US comedy South Park have issued a mock apology to China after it was banned for an episode showing a character being tortured in a Chinese forced labour camp.
Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s cartoon was blocked after the programme, titled Band in China, showed the “re-education” of one character, another being advised that “you gotta lower your ideals of freedom to suck on the warm teat of China”, and lampooned President Xi as a Winnie the Pooh lookalike.
Jokes are tiny revolutions because, if there’s one thing tyrants hate, it’s being mocked. The Chinese regime is terrified of jokes. The YouTube cartoon, A Life of Common Citizens in Recent China, depicting villages of oppressed bunnies rising up and killing the brutal tigers, Happy Tree Friends-style,was quickly suppressed by Beijing’s censors. When Weibo users started creating memes mocking Xi Xinping’s likeness to Winnie the Pooh, all things Pooh were also remorselessly scrubbed, including the 2018 movie, Christopher Robin.
For all the posturing and preening of the Hollywood “Resistance”, Parker and Stone are the only two with the guts to take on real tyranny. Where others grovel and kowtow to Beijing, Parker and Stone give the communists the middle finger they deserve.
In an “official apology to China” on Twitter they said: “We welcome the Chinese censors into our homes and hearts. We too love money more than freedom and democracy. Xi doesn’t look just like Winnie the Pooh at all. Long live the Communist Party! May this autumn’s sorghum harvest be bountiful! We good now?”
Their message was also a swipe at the National Basketball Association, which criticised Daryl Morey, the coach of the Houston Rockets, after he tweeted support for Hong Kong protesters.
It led to his team having their games pulled from Chinese TV and Chinese sponsors withdrawing support. The NBA stated that the comments were “regrettable” and Mr Morey later backtracked by saying he had had “a lot of opportunity since that tweet to hear and consider other perspectives”.
While the NBA acted swiftly to limit the damage to its brand in China, where it makes billions of dollars, the creators of South Park seem far less concerned about the program’s disappearance from many of China’s streaming sites.
Parker and Stone are not known for backing down. When the Motion Picture Association of America demanded cuts to their movie South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut, they responded by adding more offensive material each time. The battle of wills wore down the censors, and the more offensive version was eventually passed. Even the title was originally All Hell Breaks Loose, but “hell” was deemed offensive. So the censors ended up approving a dick joke instead.
In the China episode the character Randy Marsh is arrested for selling drugs, sent to prison, and forced to make toys. He watches as a guard shoots another inmate and after he is tortured, he declares: “I am a proud member of the Communist Party. The party is more important than the individual.”
In other words, Band in China is 1984 with dick jokes. Perfect.