Canadian comic sells out colleague

by Brian McKim & Traci Skene on March 25th, 2010

Well, it’s “game on” up in Vancouver. The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal continues to embarrass the entire nation (and most of Western Civilization) by following through on its plan to persecute a comedian, Guy Earle, for dealing with two unruly audience members at a comedy show. It all resumed on Monday and continues through tomorrow.

You can read all about it on the “The Guy Earle Trial,” a blog that details the slow motion rape of free speech in the lower left-hand corner of Canada.

It’s a great blog, with links to media coverage of the incident, a pencil sketch of the courtroom and links to media coverage of the ensuing harassment. It also has transcripts of testimony. We found this chunk of testimony by comedian Nic Roy to be simultaneously fascinating and nauseating:

Roy: They were making out when I was onstage, and that’s pretty much it. I mentioned something about it – don’t recall the detail – but they didn’t get upset. When Guy took the stage, they were making out again and he got angry and then the insults back and forth. It stopped being a comedy show, it got awkward, Guy Earle was just being offensive, he wasn’t being funny. He pretty much acted like Michael Richards, so to speak, but instead of nigger, he used the word dyke. Also asshole, piece of shit, little dick, fuck you, fuck yourself, you’re a piece of shit.

This fellow, this Roy, is a comedian? Offensive? Offensive to whom, Mr. Roy? This piece of garbage is all too eager to suck up to the kangaroo court. We won’t waste the “bold” key when typing his name.

We caught a couple of articles about the trial in the Canadian press. This, from Monday’s CBC article, caught our eye:

He (Earle) told the CBC that trying to stop hecklers can be unpopular, “but it shouldn’t be illegal.”[…]

Some media outlets said Pardy was asking for $20,000 in compensation, but her lawyer told CBC News she was only asking for whatever the tribunal thinks is fair. The hearing began Monday morning in Vancouver and is scheduled to last four days.

The words “tribunal” and “fair” should not be in the same universe, let alone the same sentence.

If you have a particularly strong stomach, you can wade into the swamp that is the Comments after the article. We’re particularly repulsed by this one, from “traci_wpg,” which should make the hair on the back of your neck stand up:

I think it’s about time some of these big mouth comics were held accountable for their mean spirited humour. Whenever a comic deliberately humiliates or makes racist and sexist statements they should be held accountable. Making a case for artistitic freedom or freedom of expression is a pretty lame argument, it is after all a form of hate speech. Look at what happened to Kramer when he spewed his racist rantings at black patrons. His career is pretty much kaput.

Oh, please, we can hear you say, that’s just one wingnut among a sea of supportive comments. Then, there’s this one:

There is NO excuse for homophobia or ANY hate, racist comments.

the hecklers were paying for drinks and the stand-up should be used to being heckled. He blew it and now will pay

Really glad the business is suffering. Karma

Karma, indeed. Canadian karma, to be exact. Canadian comedians should be worried that they are doing their thing in a nation in which Dean Steacy, lead investigator of the Canadian Human Rights Commission said:

Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don’t give it any value.

And then there’s this from “Mr. Mom”:

I don’t have much sympathy for any of those involved. First off, just because you have a microphone and are on a stage doesn’t make you an artist. Sounds like there was very little that could be called art in this verbal and physical exchange. Besides, the guy admits that he was pissed off. He was on the attack. The tirade he let go was uncontrolled anger, not comedic expression and not at all funny.

I don’t appreciate comedy clubs because the comedians are generally unfunny hacks, like this guy. Hate is hate, no matter how you package it, and I don’t think hacks like this guy should have a free pass by claiming (falsely in my view) that they are artists.

Neither should Pardy be awarded anything: she engaged in a form of mutual and consensual verbal jousting that went to mutual physical attacks.

Artistic expression does not excuse discriminatory and hateful language, but this was a mutual combat situation.

We know what you’re saying– It can’t happen here. And you may be right.

The commenter sited above from the CBC site tries to draw a parallel between Guy Earle’s tirade and that of Michael Richards’ infamous Laugh Factory eruption. Sure, his career is (at least for now), “kaput,” but throughout all the hubbub– the grandstanding by media whore Gloria Allred, the ridiculous Larry King interviews and the mea culpas on late night television– never was an arm of the government involved.

The most troubling aspect of this entire mess is that the government is coming down hard on a citizen. Mr. Earle has our sympathies. We can’t imagine what it must be like to have one’s government seeking to curtail our liberty.

Last week, at the tail end of humorist and pundit Mark Steyn’s NRO column on the Ann Coulter/Ottawa University incident, entitled “Bienvenue au Canada,” we saw this:

Translated from the original Canadian, “diversity” means “state-mandated mob-enforced conformity.” As for whether “it works” for Canadians, ask Guy Earle. On Monday Mr Earle, a stand-up comedian of conventionally Trudeaupian views, goes on trial at the British Columbia “Human Rights” Tribunal for putting down two hecklers at his nightclub act. They were, alas for him, of the lesbian persuasion, and so he is now charged with “homophobia.” What a wretched embarrassment to a once free society.

Wretched embarrassment sums it up nicely.

Our posts on Guy Earle are here and here. Pay particular attention to the comments. They’re delicious.

And block out the five or six minutes to check out Rob Breakenridge’s column on Guy Earle. Breakenridge blogs for AM 770 CHQR, a news, talk and sports station in (surprise!) Calgary. Again, pay particular attention to the comments. One comment is signed by “The Vancouver Comedy Community” and it labels Earle a “balls-less dick!!!!!” It’s nice to know they have his back.

Then, there’s this wonderful assessment from Mark A. Roberts:

You make an important point in your story. In regards to ‘Bad Guy’ it is a point that is sorely lacking, as evidenced by his lack of work over the past 3 years…he simply isn’t funny. He wasn’t funny, nor has he the ability to BE funny, unless you have a special tangent for Pathos. Maybe he could land a gig in a nightclub of sadists! Ah, but then he couldn’t be the bully that physically crosses over the boundaries of comedy into assault and battery…like the unimaginative brute that he is. He simply isn’t funny. He is only entertainment for the Media as fodder that generates discussion…like this. ‘Bad Guy’ is not a woman, lesbian nor Jewish. He is a bitter drunk who one time in the past was probably told by another drunk; “You’re funny! You should be a Comedian.” And the poor boy believed it. tsk tsk so sad…