Northern Ireland

Frankie Boyle: Parents to hold protest against comedian

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Media captionFrankie Boyle's jokes go too far for some, as Chris Buckler reports

Parents of children with disabilities are planning to protest against a performance in west Belfast later by the Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle.

They say it is inappropriate the show is taking place as part of Féile an Phobail because of controversial jokes Mr Boyle has made in the past about disabled people.

Last month, festival organisers said they were "deeply sorry for any hurt or offence" that had been caused by Mr Boyle's appearance.

They said they would put in place measures to avoid such a situation "arising in the future".

Opponents had demanded the show's cancellation because of jokes Boyle has told about people with Down's syndrome.

Mr Boyle made his remarks during a live show in 2010.

The mother of a girl with the condition said he had "made fun of the way people with Down's syndrome speak" and "made a number of references to people with Down's syndrome dying early".

Festival organisers met those who were opposed to the comedian's performance but said the gig would go-ahead.

Féile management also gave a pledge to represent the concerns of the group to Boyle's management.

Image caption Shane Todd said he was a fan of Frankie Boyle

Féile an Phobail said the show had been the fastest-selling comedy gig it has ever put on.

Local comedian Shane Todd has a sister who has autism and spina bifida.

"I think he's a very, very good comedian," he said.

"He certainly does talk about a lot of taboo subjects, granted, but I think he's a very intelligent guy and often he puts quite a different slant on things.

'Offensive'

"They're not as bad as they sound when they're written down in black and white, but I can understand being a community festival why some people are offended by it and don't want it to go ahead, but in terms of his brand of humour, I'm a fan of Frankie Boyle."

Mr Todd said nothing was off limits as a comedian if you could come at it from an intelligent angle and put a different slant on it and not just poke fun.

"Are some of his jokes offensive? Yes, probably, but I think ultimately that's what people want whenever they go to see Frankie Boyle.

"I probably wouldn't do that sort of material but you set the line where ever you want to when ever you're a performer and if you're comfortable with that and if people enjoy it then you do it, I suppose.

"Quite a lot of the time, now not every time, he's not actually making fun of this sort of taboo subject itself, he's more making fun of the interpretation of it or other people's reaction to it.

"I wouldn't be totally offended, but I can understand how people would be."

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