Put them away...

Resort's bid to ban comedy shows

Councillors in Morecambe are trying to ban two shows from the town's comedy festival, saying they would damage the town's reputation.

The internationally-acclaimed Puppetry of the Penis and Richard Herring's stand-up show Talking Cock have both attracted the ire of Tory councillors in the Lancashire resort.

They describe the acts as "lower than low brow" and "not suitable for the type of image the council wants to project of Morecambe".

The festival, which takes place from October 24 to 26, is financially backed by the council as part of a drive to attract more tourists.

But councillor Roger Mace said the shows would not appeal to the town's elderly visitors and said: "We don't believe it's an appropriate kind of comedy for the city council to be spending money on."

When local newspaper The Visitor asked what kind of comedy would be appropriate, he replied: "Something like Morecambe and Wise".

Councillor Ian Barker, leader of the city council, added: "I didn't know these shows had been booked. I'm rather uncomfortable with the content. It's adolescent, behind-the-bike-sheds stuff. Young people may be more tolerant of this type of thing but personally I wouldn't want to see it."

Richard Herring said: "I agree with the Tory Councillor, Puppetry of the Penis should definitely be banned. It is childish and offensive to all right thinking people and there are clearly enough dicks on show in the Morecambe council offices without the poor residents of that town being forced to see some more twisted into the shape of hamburgers by some Australians.

"Talking Cock, however, is a mature and sensitive look at issues of masculinity. It has helped a lot of men overcome insecurities they might have had about themselves. Insecurities that have previously been expressed through depression, violence or trying to get stage shows banned even though the person concerned has never seen them and has no idea what they are about.

"I am grateful to the councillor for drawing attention to my show as I notoriously sell quite badly in the north west and am hoping that the publicity generated may at least get a few more punters into the show."

* Lancaster City Council is also expected to reject plans to erect a statue of Ernie Wise next to the one of Eric Morecambe that graces the seafront, as he has no connection to the town.

Published: 24 Sep 2003

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