Twitter feud kicks off

Frankie Boyle vs Mark Watson

Frankie Boyle has launched a stinging broadside against fellow comic Mark Watson for daring to criticise his offensive material.

The Tramadol Nights star today posted a tweet to his 119,000 followers saying: ‘Amused to be sent an attack on my work by Mark Watson. A sellout who takes money to advertise booze to his teenage fans. A cunt.’

Watson, who advertised Magners Pear cider, has also made several appearance on Mock The Week alongside Boyle.

The row stems back from a blog post Watson made back in April last year, when Boyle was criticised for jokes about children with Down’s Syndrome, after being taken to task by one of his audience members whose daughter had the condition.

At the time, he wrote: ‘Pretty much since I became a comedian, I’ve wondered whether comedy awards itself too much licence by playing the hey-calm-down-we’re-just-joking-here card, and thus making anyone who objects feel like… well, like a Daily Mail reader.

‘In my time in comedy clubs I’ve seen scores and scores of gags at the expense of fat people, gay people, disabled people, women, pretty much every minority group other than 45-year-old, slightly paunchy stand-ups in suit jackets.

‘A lot of them are just jokes, and everyone (including the victims) finds them funny, and it’s cool. Or, the victims aren’t there, so it’s sort of cool. But all these jokes do contribute to keeping certain stereotypes nailed in place.

‘If you’re a kid at school who gets called “gay every day, you’re aware that you are not actually being accused of being a homosexual – it’s just a joke – but nonetheless you will come to the end of seven years with a pretty strong instinct that being gay is a really shameful thing.

‘In the same way, if you laugh at a misogynist joke in a comedy club, it doesn’t mean you are going to go home and beat up your wife, but it probably does mean that, on some level, you recognise and agree with the assumptions that underpin the joke.’

As well as his Twitter comment, Boyle also posted a comment after the blog post today, saying: ‘Hi Mark. Just saw this. Amused to see moral grandstanding from a notorious sellout. You are commenting on a joke you didn’t see, and don’t quote, so presumably you don’t even know what it was? Amazing.

‘I’d hate for you to pass through life with no self-awareness, so let me point something out. You built up a certain indie credibility over the years with your stand-up. You then sold that credibility to sell cider. Why don’t you leave the discussions of jokes to people who have heard them and stick to pushing booze on teenagers? In a country of alcoholics.’

Following the Twitter storm, Watson said he hoped the row would ‘blow over’ – claiming he ‘respected and liked’ Boyle.

‘I'm sorry to have angered him but this is only a blog,’ he said. ‘I was trying to address the subject of taboos in comedy rather than attacking Frankie. I didn't think he would give a shit quite honestly.’

Published: 7 Jan 2011

Live comedy picks

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.