Revealed: 'Shocking' lack of Jewish comics on Mock The Week

Comic calls for more representation to combat prejudice

A comedian has called for panel shows such as Mock The Week to book more Jewish comedians to help stem the tide of antisemitism.

Writing for Chortle, Joe Bor says it’s ‘truly shocking’ that the long-running BBC Two show has such a dearth of Jewish acts.

And the comedian says the lack of representation across the media means the wider population are less aware of Jewish culture – a situation he contrasts with America and its rich tradition of Jewish comedians.

The last comedian with Jewish heritage to appear on Mock The Week was Chris Addison, who left the show in 2011. His father’s family is Jewish, although he has not widely spoken about that background in his comedy.

He is the only Jewish comedian to have appeared in more than a decade, with Adam Bloom taking part in 2008 and Ian Stone in 2007.

The last season of Live At The Apollo featured American Jewish comedians Alex Edelman and Sara Barron, but the last before that was Addison in 2009 and Joan Rivers in 2007.

Bor – who has done studio warm-up for Mock The Week – wrote: ‘The lack of visibility has led to a naivety, and a sense that Jews aren’t widely considered a minority to champion.

‘The only visible Jewish comedian on TV is the brilliant David Baddiel, who has recently been wheeled out more often. But it feels like a token gesture.’

And he said the lack of representation was not due to a shortage of talent on the live circuit ‘where there are plenty of great Jewish comedians’.

Bor, who was crowned Jewish Comedian Of The Year in 2017, also said he raised the issue with a TV producer he knows, but his concerns were dismissed – and claims that broadcasters actively discriminated against Jews.

‘I know that as soon as I get to the question about ethnicity and I tick the ‘Jewish’ box  I won’t be considered,’ he alleged.

According to the last census, there are around 265,000 Jewish people in the UK – about 0.5 per cent of the population – but the figure is thought to be an underestimate.

Angst Productions, which makes Mock The Week, has not responded to a request for comment.

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Published: 20 Dec 2019

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