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Foot in Mouth Disease

March 12, 2010

Oh please, leave Prince Philip alone. He’s funny. And God knows, we need humour.

Today’s Mail reports on his latest gaffe.

But look, he didn’t march up to a pretty girl and ask her if she worked in a strip club!

He asked her where she worked. She said in a club. He asked if it was a strip club.

A merry quip, thass all. And he appears not to give a damn about the criticism constantly levelled at him for just being funny. Good. Keep it up Prince Phil. We love ya.

Supposing he had not been born with a silver sceptre in his mouth?

Just his foot. Arf Arf.

No seriously, what if he had been born to a lower-middle-class family, grew up ‘Phil Windsor’, worked the stand-up circuit and ended up on Mock the Week?

Would he be pilloried, or applauded? It’s a no-brainer.

And you can’t stop a funny guy being funny. They are a race apart. We are a race apart, I should say, because I’m one of them. Maurice Gran of the famous Marks & Gran team has been known to say that comedians have a chip of ice in their soul. It’s true. We just can’t help looking for the funny, no matter what life serves up to us. And that’s our place in the world. We are the eternal jokers, the jesters and the fools. End of.

The poor man just got stuck in the wrong job. Lucky for us, though. Otherwise reportage of the Royal Visits would be unbearably dull and rarely newsworthy. Why, if you think about it, he might even be responsible for the longevity of the Monarchy!

The Daily Mail has gathered some of his latest so-called gaffes for our entertainment here and I admit the racist ones do curl my toes, but sometimes he makes me laugh.

The Queen asked Stephan Menary how much he could see and Prince Philip interjected with: ‘Not a lot by the look of that tie’. Now, I’m sorry, but I think that’s funny. And if he was sitting on a panel game, that ‘gaffe’ would have raised a big laugh.

Yes, we all know that distance is what creates, or allows, humour. And what a group of people might joke about behind someone’s back isn’t going to work to their face.

So it’s difficult. Of course it’s deeply tragic that a fifteen year old has been blinded in an IRA bomb attack. If I was that lad, I don’t know how I’d have felt when Prince Philip said that. In fact, he dealt with it very well, and he’s quoted in the Herald Sun saying ‘Prince Philip was just trying to break the ice and put me at ease.’

I would hazard a guess that he’s not trying to do that at all. I think he might have a higher success rate if he was. Au contraire I suspect that he’s trying very hard, most of the time, not to crack jokes.

Some people fall downstairs and lie on the bottom step, sobbing. Some fall downstairs, go straight into a forward roll, spring up and take a bow. Prince Philip may be one of those. Of course he might just be an insensitive clod and if that’s the case I’m glad he’s a Royal and not a High Court Judge.

Speaking for myself, as is my wont, I firmly believe that I didn’t joke my way through the experience of losing my breast because I am insensitive, but because I had no other way of dealing with the tragic circumstances in which I found myself. Not brave. Just my way.

Is cancer funny? Of course not. But if you cross a comedian with a life-threatening disease, what can you expect? Humour? Or bad taste?

I’d say…both.

So I think we should give the Prince a break. Most comedians are not expected to improvise under the glare of the media. If they did, the evidence of unfunny, racist and tactless boobery would be vast. Look what happened to Wossy and Brand on a live radio show. So if some of his Royal Whatsitness’s  jokes fall flat or cause offence, it’s only to be expected.

Personally, I would hate to see him muzzled.

Y’gorralaff  aventcha?

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