Cork Opera House has cancelled a gig by a comedian whose humour has been described as “repulsive” and “offensive” by city councillors, writes Rob McNamara of the Evening Echo.
UK-based Royston Vasey, who performs under the stage name of Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown, was due to perform at the venue on June 10.
Cork Opera House had billed the show as containing “politically incorrect jokes” that are “delivered with a cheeky grin and perfect comedy timing”.
The management of Cork Opera House — which receives arts grants from Cork City and County Councils and also programme funding from the Arts Council for certain cultural events — has decided to cancel the show deeming it “unsuitable” for a venue that receives public funding.
After being contacted by the Evening Echo regarding the controversial content of the comedian’s act, the venue released this statement. “Following feedback received from our patrons, Cork Opera House further considered its position in relation to presenting this comedian.”
The Opera House statement added: “Following consultation between its executive, board and stakeholders, the venue decided that the content of this show was unsuitable for presentation by a publicly funded theatre. Patrons who have purchased tickets will be fully refunded.” He has previously been banned from performing at a number of local authority owned venues in the UK. His routines have involved jokes about Islam, asylum seekers and members of the LGBT community.
Kate Moynihan, of Cork LINC, which advocates for lesbian and bisexual women in Ireland, said: “We do not condone this type of ‘humour’ and thankfully, it is being challenged in schools, colleges and workspaces all over the city."
Padraig Rice, coordinator of the Cork Gay Project, said Mr Vasey’s jokes are “dated and culturally irrelevant” but added he had a right to free speech as long as it did not incite hatred.
“I believe in the right to free speech, a right that should only be limited when someone is inciting hatred. Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown like everyone else has the right to make bad jokes.”
Opera House board member, Councillor Des Cahill (FG), contacted Opera House board chairman Tim Healy regarding the matter.
“He’s a repulsive character. [However] most comedians will touch a nerve with some people,” he said. Councillor Terry Shannon (FF), also a board member of the Opera House, said he was surprised to see the comedian had been booked at the venue in the first place.
Councillor Terry Shannon (FF), also a board member of the Opera House, said he was surprised to see the comedian had been booked at the venue and described his humour as “raw" and “offensive”.
This story first appeared in the Evening Echo.