Skip to main content

2nd March 2022

Cold One Liners, Hate the Shelf, Comedy Red Flag Time

Anna Nixon hilariously tells all on red and green flags when it comes to conversations about comedy in the current dating scene.
Cold One Liners, Hate the Shelf, Comedy Red Flag Time
Ricky Gervais doing stand up, but not standing up to transphobia.

I’m sure an unfortunately large amount of readers of The Mancunion can relate when I say my life has been plagued by the toils of dating apps.

In many desperate attempts to conquer this uninviting realm, and as an avid comedy fan, I have dropped certain comedians’ names as a conversation starter or prompt. However, in light of certain recent events, this topic has unfortunately been marred – or should I say Jimmy Carred – in a way that has led to it becoming quite problematic. So, as a self-accredited expert in this field, I wanted to give a brief synopsis of red and green flags. Use them if you find yourself deep in a conversation about comedians that you don’t quite understand (and hopefully next week someone can do one about economics or business or something more useful).

Red Flag Number 1: “It’s not discrimination, they’re just edgy.”

I don’t know where these people have got their definition of edgy from, but most likely if you get this text, or get it spit-whispered into your ear in a club, it’s not edgy, it’s discrimination. ‘Edgy’ is often used by comedians that grasp for jokes at the borders of what they see as socially acceptable. Often crossing the borders in doing so. If someone’s pick up line is a form of crossing the line, run. Just run. If they are blind to blatant discrimination it is highly likely they miss other obvious signals too. Also, it just gives me clicking at the waiter vibes.

Red Flag Number 2: “You wouldn’t know them.”

If someone is an actual comedy fan, and can I just note that I am speaking from experience here, they will grab any opportunity to tell you about their favourite comedian with both (slightly moist with excitement) hands. The same as with a bookworm, a true comedy fan can be somewhat of a recluse, but even then will slither like an eager snail out from its shell to show you a clip of their favourite stand up special. Someone who tells you their favourite comedian and then refuses to tell you more either knows nothing about said comedian, or is trying to keep them secret, like some hidden personal deity. This quite frankly defies the point of comedy. Comedy is to be shared, and if they don’t want to share it with you, don’t share anything with them, especially not your dessert (you deserve that double choc brownie for the trauma).

Red Flag Number 3: “I like the old guys, the new stuff’s not for me.”

Comedy is often a form of acknowledging social customs, rules, and boundaries, often pushing these to their limits for comedic effect. Unfortunately for older comedians the borders of social acceptability are constantly changing. Often what would have been seen as quality comedy ten years ago is no longer socially acceptable. Take Little Britain, for example, a lot of the humour is now being acknowledged as offensive to certain social groups. People are not more sensitive now, as some comedians try to claim, but they are just more aware of discrimination and each other’s suffering. I’m not saying that there were no good comedians in the past, but someone who exclusively likes comedians from times when misogyny and racism were acceptable forms of humour (even more so than now) should be a cause for caution.

Red Flag Number 4: “My favourite comedian is Ricky Gervais.”

Now, please don’t hate on me for this one. I do acknowledge that Ricky Gervais has done some good stuff. However, if someone says this pick-up line to you it might be worth asking them if they have heard of a little thing called transphobia. If they proceed with this viewpoint after your enquiry, feel free to tell them that the only thing they will be picking up that night is the bill. Good day to you Sir/Madam!

Red Flag Number 5: “My favourite comedian is Jimmy Carr.”

Being a relatively average host of various panel shows does not make it acceptable for you to make discriminatory jokes about the holocaust. That is all.

Green Flag Number 1: “We should watch Taskmaster together!”

A good mark of character. Also, a good way to learn enough about comedy to write a Mancunion article about it. Even if it doesn’t work out with this person and you, like Rosalind, find yourself becoming a f*cking nightmare, at least you will have a new favourite show to be a backing track to your lonely crying sessions.

Green Flag Number 2: “My favourite comedian is James Acaster.”

Marry them.

More Coverage

Challenges facing international students at the University of Manchester: Where do we fit in?

Under-resourced UK universities lean on international student fees to supplement their institutions; simultaneously, Britain’s borders are becoming more restrictive to students under the current government. This paradox leaves international students caught in the crossfire

The post-diss bliss…or is it?

The promise of post-dissertation freedom was quickly squashed by essay deadline demands, and the desire to do anything but re-open my laptop is taking over

200 years of the University of Manchester… celebrating white male alumni

As the University of Manchester prepares its bicentenary celebrations, it’s time to address the less-celebrated alumni, and question why these individuals have received less attention

Why are we still talking about ‘women who have it all’?

The ‘women who have it all’ narrative is alive and kicking in 2024, but instead of being empowering, it’s a patriarchal trope designed to pit one against another