A piece in today’s Telegraph:
Nick Dixon said white male comedians are too afraid to speak publicly about this discrimination
A comedian has claimed he was snubbed for a gig for being a “white straight able-bodied male”.
British act Nick Dixon has enjoyed successful tours in the UK and US, and was selected to write jokes for Disney’s Aladdin remake starring Will Smith.
Despite his track record, the comedian has claimed that he was overlooked for a gig because he fitted into the category of “white straight able-bodied male”, and the performer warned that white male colleagues face the same scrutiny over their identity.
The comedian shared a message online that one of his supporters received when they suggested to a comedy club promoter that Mr Dixon should be booked.
The message, reportedly from the club promoter, states: “I kind of have a million billion really good white straight able-bodied male comedians I can call upon. I’m trying to find more of the opposite.
“When I say the opposite I don’t necessarily mean a black gay woman in a wheelchair, but I’ve seen how hard it is for female acts, black acts etc to get on good bills.
“And it’s good to mix it up with character acts.”
Mr Dixon has refused to name the club in question, but has warned that the message illustrates a widespread issue of white, straight, male performers missing out on gigs.
The comedian told the Daily Express: “This has happened to basically every straight white comedian I know.
“Whether it’s live or TV work, everyone this happens to feels it’s wrong, though they might not admit it publicly.”
Despite comedy being increasingly seen as the preserve of left-wing performers on mainstream platforms, Mr Dixon has said that comedians on both sides of the political spectrum are privately concerned about discrimination in the world of comedy.
He added: “Some argue that this kind of thing is just redressing the balance for past discrimination.
“But if you asked them to give up their place on a TV panel show for a person of colour it would be a different story.”
He has argued that comedians cannot be selected by club owners or TV producers based on demographics, as their profession demands that they are “just the funniest people”.
He told the Daily Express: “Cack-handed attempts at social engineering don’t help anyone.
“I don’t believe it is necessary to do this in comedy or that it benefits anyone.”
Mr Dixon’s warning about discrimination in comedy comes after The Campaign For Common Sense last year estimated that two thirds of prominent comedians currently working are left-leaning.
In August 2020 the BBC, under the new leadership of director-general Tim Davie, indicated it would be addressing the perceived political imbalance in its comedy offerings.
Programmes like The Mash Report, presented by Nish Kumar, consistently faced criticism for being “left-wing”, and former BBC presenter Andrew Neil described the programme as “propaganda”.
The BBC previously attempted to address the issue of perceived political bias in its programing by adding conservative, Brexit-supporting comedian Geoff Norcott to a panel of experts established to ensure diversity at the broadcaster.
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