Humour takes many different forms; some of which could be described as offensive. What some find downright funny, others find sickening and distasteful. Personally, I don’t particularly care for those types of humour that make fun of minorities, disabilities, and people in unfortunate circumstances. However there are those that do.
As I said the other day, I enjoy watching Clarkson, May and Hammond on Top Gear and take a lot of what they say with a huge pinch of salt. For me, they are at their best when they are making fun of themselves. However, there have been many times when their humour has been directed elsewhere.
Jeremy Clarkson and his co-presenters Richard Hammond and James May have a history of making comments and causing offence.
- Clarkson and James May got into hot water when they parked their electric cars in disabled parking bays.
- On a show broadcast in January 2011 Hammond joked that Mexican cars reflected national characteristics, saying they were "just going to be lazy, feckless, flatulent, overweight, leaning against a fence asleep looking at a cactus with a blanket with a hole in the middle on as a coat". May chipped in by describing Mexican food as "like sick with cheese on it" and Clarkson predicted they would not get any complaints about the show because "at the Mexican embassy, the ambassador is going to be sitting there with a remote control like this (snores). They won't complain, it's fine". In fact they did complain.
- Then it was the turn of Albanians: Clarkson said, "Apparently, what happens is Albanians go to England, get a job, buy a car and then bring it back with them," In the programme he and co-presenters May and Richard Hammond went to the east European country ostensibly to road-test cars for a mafia boss. One prerequisite was that the boot should be large enough to hold a dead body.
- Clarkson described the Ferrari F430 Speciale as "a bit wrong ... that smiling front end ... it looked like a simpleton ... [it] should have been called the 430 Speciale Needs".
- Clarkson told Top Gear magazine that TV bosses were obsessed with having "black Muslim lesbians" on shows to balance out the numbers of white heterosexual men. "The problem is that television executives have got it into their heads that if one presenter on a show is a blond-haired, blue-eyed heterosexual boy, the other must be a black Muslim lesbian. Chalk and cheese, they reckon, works. But here we have Top Gear setting new records after six years using cheese and cheese. It confuses them."
- At the Edinburgh TV festival, Clarkson told an audience of media types that women were often pushed to the front of the Top Gear studio audience so they were seen behind the presenters. "We get 500 people coming to the show each week and most of them are oafs," he said. "Who would you rather have in our shots?" But he added it would be a "disaster" to have a female presenter on the show. "I think a girl would be a disaster, seeing the chemistry we have now," he said. "You bring a girl in and you start taking the piss out of her, that would look like bullying.
- Clarkson made a rare personal apology after comparing Gordon Brown to Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd during a tour of the country. "It's the first time I've ever seen a world leader [Rudd] admit we really are in deep shit," Clarkson was reported as saying, of a speech by the then Australian PM about the depth of global financial crisis in 2009. "He genuinely looked terrified. Poor man, he's actually seen the books. We have this one-eyed Scottish idiot who keeps telling us everything's fine and he's saved the world and we know he's lying, but he's smooth at telling us."
- In an item about lorries on Top Gear, Clarkson said to the other presenters: "What matters to lorry drivers? Murdering prostitutes? Fuel economy?" A few minutes later Clarkson added: "This is a hard job [driving a lorry] and I'm not just saying this to win favour with lorry drivers: change gear; change gear; change gear; check your mirrors; murder a prostitute … "
- The BBC2 show was actually told off by the BBC Trust's editorial standards committee for showing Clarkson and May drinking gin and tonics while driving during a Polar special.
- And he insulted the Germans by saying; for a picnic you’d want the Germans to make the hamper and the Italians to prepare the food adding that you would not want the Germans to make the food.
When Oxford Brookes University wanted to offer Clarkson an honorary degree, there was a massive protest. He was described as a moron who spouts ignorant and antisocial rubbish, a dangerous philistine who displays and alarming lack of intelligence. They cited comments from him e.g. describing ramblers as ‘urban communists’ and cyclists as ‘Lycra Nazis’. In spite of all the protest, the university awarded Clarkson the degree.
Just to prove his eccentricity, he has apparently questioned why Britain has so many hills, proposed that great white sharks should be eaten to distinction, got excited at the thought of Birmingham covered in a glacier, he rammed a car into a tree and drove up Ben Togue in a 4x4.
About global warming, Clarkson said, "What's wrong with global warming? We might lose Holland but there are other places to go on holiday."
Clarkson did apologise for the comments he made about striking workers on Wednesday.
However, in the same show, he also made comments about people who commit suicide by throwing themselves in front of trains and has now reiterated those comments in his column in the Sun newspaper. He says they are being selfish because they cause delays to passengers and adds that they could scar the poor train driver for life. The article then moves into the realms of extreme bad taste when Clarkson says that ‘foxy woxy and the birds’ should be left to ‘nibble’ at the ‘gooey parts’ of people who die by jumping in front of trains. Understandably, that has caused a lot of complaints from Mental Health groups who are baying for his blood.
Of course, none of Clarkson's comments would matter if they were not widely publicised both on television and in the newspapers. Whilst we might complain about the remarks that he makes, without the media, nobody would care what he said. The truth is, we like someone like Clarkson to rant about. It does us good to vent our spleen about his latest outrageous comments - he knows that and so does the media which is why they pay him so much to write such rubbish.
As for Clarkson; he should have the intelligence to know that, “once you have been shot, you keep your head below the parapet - at least until you know that it is safe to show your face again.”