Jimmy Carr has addressed the widespread backlash he has faced over his Netflix comedy special in which he made a “deeply offensive” joke about the traveling community and the Holocaust.
The controversial comedian, 49, told an audience at a show on Sunday night that he was “going to get cancelled” as he broke his silence on the anger sparked by ‘His Dark Material’.
The one-hour Netflix show, which was released in December last year, features a “trigger warning” from Mr Carr at the beginning as he admits his performance contains “terrible things”.
In a clip that has now been widely shared on social media, mentions “six million Jewish lives being lost” before making a disparaging remark about the deaths of thousands of Gypsies at the hands of the Nazis.
The Traveler Movement, a charity supporting the traveler community in the UK, has now launched a petition to Netflix calling for the “removal of the segments of His Dark Material which celebrates the Romani genocide”.
Following the backlash, Mr Carr refused to answer questions as he arrived at the Whitley Bay Playhouse for his Terribly Funny Show last night, the Mirror reports, but seemingly addressed the furore when on stage.
During the show, he made quips about being cancelled, telling his audience: “The joke that ends my career is already out there.”
He opened his show by joking: “Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Look at that, I’ve already upset the non-binary community.
“That has to be f***ing record.”
After being heckled by a woman who asked “are we going to talk about the holocaust?”, the comedian replied: “We are going to talk about cancel culture, the whole thing.
“We are going to talk about f***ing everything people. Relax.”
He later added: “What I am saying on stage this evening is barely acceptable now. In ten years f***ing forget about it.
“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.”
He later added: “I am going to get cancelled, that’s the bad news. The good news is I am going down swinging.
“The joke that ends my career it’s already out there. It’s on YouTube, Netflix, or whatever, and it’s fine until one day it f***ing isn’t.”
Fellow comedian David Baddiel, a close friend of Mr Carr who has written widely about anti-Semitism, is one of many who has criticized him over the joke in recent days, calling it “mean-spirited” and “cruel”.
Today, health secretary Sajid Javid described the remarks as “horrid”.
He told Times Radio: “I think we all have a right to react to that, and one of the best ways anyone can react to that is show these platforms what they think about Jimmy Carr by not watching or listening to him, and that will send him a very strong message.”
Not-for-profit organization the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust shared a statement on Twitter from their CEO Olivia Marks-Woldman who was “horrified” to hear “gales of laughter” following Mr Carr’s remarks.
Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, added on Twitter: “These comments from Jimmy Carr are beyond tasteless.
“The targeting of Roma and Sinti during the Holocaust is no laughing matter. Deeply offensive. I also don’t understand how this was aired @netflix.”
Hope Not Hate, the anti-fascism and anti-racism campaigning group, also condemned the comedian’s joke on Friday.
In a tweet, they said: “Comedy is an amazing tool for progressive change and it’s such a shame that @jimmycarr decided to use his platform to celebrate the murder of one of the most marginalized groups in society.”
Culture secretary Nadine Dorries suggested new laws could hold to account streaming sites including Netflix for airing jokes such as those made by Carr.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast last week, she said: “We are looking at legislation via the Media Bill which would bring into scope those comments from other video on-demand streaming outlets like Netflix.
“So it’s interesting that we’re already looking at future legislation to bring into scope those sort of comments.”
For more of the latest news sign up to our email newsletters here