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Jon Richardson says comedians are still able to say any ‘horrific’ thing they want

Jon Richardson has weighed in on the debate (Picture: REX/Shutterstock)

Jon Richardson has given his take on the ‘freedom of speech’ debate in comedy, or the idea that comedians can’t say what they want anymore.

Basically, he thinks it’s nonsense.

The comic, whose show Channel Hopping is about to return for a second series, told Metro.co.uk: ‘Every comic’s sensibilities are different and every audience’s sensibilities are different so there just can’t be any hard and fast rules about things like that.

‘People will make up their own minds. What we always get drawn into talking about is freedom of speech and how you can’t say what you want and it’s actually the case that you really can. You can say absolutely everything.

‘People might not like it, but you can say what you like. You can publish it on Twitter, you can say it on telly. We’re exceptionally lucky to be able to say what we like and have people say that they thought it was horrific.’

Jon added that a lot depends on ‘the intent and the moment it was said’.

‘We change as receivers of that information. I’ve never seen a reaction to England going out on a penalty shootout at the Euros like we had this year and that’s because it’s taken an awfully long time but we’re finally understanding that footballers are human beings who didn’t mean to miss penalties.

The comic has watched the world’s most weird and wonderful TV for his show Channel Hopping (Picture: Getty Images)

‘It might be galling that that’s only happening for the first time in 2021, but our sensibilities change by the minute depending on what the public mood is. It’s very hard to make any rules.’

Jon, along with recurring guest Judi Love, is set to celebrate the weird and wonderful gems from TV across the world in the second series of Channel Hopping, with the star revealing one bizarre choice that didn’t make the cut.

‘There was a show we talked about called Best Funeral Ever, which is an American reality TV show where this family who do anything you want,’ he recalled.

‘I thought I was going to hate it and it’s the most uplifting, joyous and ridiculous…like a guy’s into game shows so at his funeral they put his coffin on a wheel and they play Wheel of Fortune with his dead body spinning around. But all his family are cheering and there’s a quiz about his life to win prizes that are like his watch, or stuff the family wants.

‘I just got obsessed with it. There’s a woman who loved horror films so they throw a Thriller-themed funeral for her with like zombies, with no irony at all. Just people dressed up as dead people dancing around an actual dead person. But it doesn’t exist anymore! There’s only like four and they’ve stopped making it.’

A true loss to TV!

However, we’ve still got plenty of bizarre TV closer to home, including the likes of Channel 4’s Naked Attraction.

‘You can’t look away,’ Jon reflected. ‘It’s like when you’re walking down the street and it’s dark and someone’s still got their light on and their curtains open and you look in their house and you just hope they’re not sat on their couch when your eyes focus, staring back at you. It’s like that, but for genitals, isn’t it?

‘The really interesting thing about the show – this kind of show has been made since the dawn of time. People’s sensibilities have shifted so much. Naked Attraction five years ago, certainly 10 years ago, would have been all heterosexual couples all looking a certain way and it’s genuinely progressing conversations.

‘People who watch it will be introduced to types of relationships they haven’t encountered before and types of bodies they haven’t encountered before. That’s just true of all telly now, things have evolved and things broadly are a lot better than they were before. That’s not why I watch it though…’

Channel Hopping With Jon Richardson series 2 begins Monday August 2 at 9pm on Comedy Central.

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