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Oh brother, what an odd way to show you support the Church

by Peter Hitchens, Mail on Sunday

I have always loathed the compulsory mateyness of Red Nose Day. Charity should be done in secret, not used to polish the images of showbiz figures and the grotesquely ill-managed BBC.

It also suffers from the default Leftism of modern ‘comedy’.

The quickest way to a laugh is to use the F-word, and many alleged jokes trade on the fact that some people still hate swearing, love their country and – horrors – believe in God. Insult them, and the mob will cackle.

No need to make an effort or be truly witty. At any time of day, a real funny man would have refused to perform the embarrassingly bad lines, full of coarseness and crudity, mouthed by Rowan Atkinson on ‘Comic Relief’, which might as well be renamed ‘Vomit Release’ if this is the best it can do.

He would have done so not on the grounds of decency, but because he was ashamed to be associated with such poor, weak stuff. Whose idea was it to mock Christianity? Mr Atkinson’s brother Rodney has revealed that the alleged comedian has supported the church in private life. So why attack it in front of a crowd?

Even ten years ago, these events would have caused an enormous row, not the mild media tremor they actually brought about. We have been shocked so much that we are numb. What worries me is this: if this could happen in 2013, what will be considered normal in 2023?

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