Jimmy Carr responds to backlash to ‘racist’ travellers joke during stand-up set

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Jimmy Carr is said to have addressed the furore surrounding his “racist” Holocaust joke about travellers during a stand-up set.

The comedian and 8 Out of 10 Cats presenter is yet to issue any statements on the controversy, but is believed to have tackled the subject after reportedly being heckled by an audience member on Saturday (5 February).

On Friday (4 February), a clip from Carr’s Netflix comedy special His Dark Material circulated on social media, prompting backlash.

In the clip, the comedian says: “When people talk about the Holocaust, they talk about the tragedy and horror of six million Jewish lives being lost to the Nazi war machine. But they never mention the thousands of gypsies that were killed by the Nazis.”

Carr then adds: “No one ever talks about that because no one wants to talk about the positives.”

Several MPs and the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust have since criticised Carr and called upon Netflix to remove the special.

On Monday (7 February), a spokesperson for Boris Johnson condemned the joke and said that legislation was being pushed through to make streaming services more accountable for potentially dangerous content on their platforms. Meanwhile, his “close friend” David Baddiel called the joke “indefensible” and “mean-spirited”.

According to The Mirror, Carr spoke about the backlash on stage at Whitley Bay Playhouse after an audience member shouted: “Are we going to talk about the Holocaust?”

Carr reportedly replied: “We are going to talk about cancel culture, the whole thing. We are going to talk about f***ing everything, people. Relax.”

The comedian is said to have added: “We are speaking, my friends, in the last chance saloon. What I am saying on stage this evening is barely acceptable now. In ten years, f***ing forget about it.

Jimmy Carr reportedly said he was in the ‘last chance saloon’ (Getty Images)
Jimmy Carr reportedly said he was in the ‘last chance saloon’ (Getty Images)

“You are going to be able to tell your grandchildren about seeing this show tonight. You will say I saw a man and he stood on a stage and he made light of serious issues. We used to call them jokes and people would laugh.”

Carr then reportedly made light of the situation by saying: “There’s a rare psychological disorder that causes people to tell inappropriate jokes. I know I have got it.”

He is said to have started his set by saying: “Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Look at that, I’ve already upset the non-binary community. That has to be a f***ing record.”

The Independent has contacted Carr for comment.

In response to Carr’s official silence over he matter, author John Henry, who is the director of non-profit Romani Community Archaeology Romani Community Archaeology, tweeted: “Just to say that there’s been no apology, no repercussions, and Jimmy Carr did a live show tonight where he made light of the outrage. We don’t matter, we know it, and that’s why we fight on.”