Edinburgh Fringe’s ‘best joke’ is proof that the once edgy festival has become the epitome of mindless, smug nonsense

Get ready comedy fans.

The funniest joke of the Edinburgh Fringe has just been unveiled by the Dave TV Channel and if it showed up in our Christmas sandwiches there would be a mass conversion to Jehovah’s Witnesses.

If Edinburgh Fringe's


If Edinburgh Fringe’s “funniest joke” appeared in our Christmas crackers, there would be mass conversion to Jehovah’s WitnessesPhoto Credit: Getty / Supplied
Lorna Rose Treen's statement read:


Lorna Rose Treen’s statement read: “I started dating a zoo keeper but it turned out he was a cheetah…”Credit: Included

Take it away, Lorna Rose Tree.

“I started dating a zoo keeper, but it turned out he was a cheetah. . . ”

It’s the kind of line that should be greeted with a two-minute silence in memory of the comedy.

However, I want to remind you right away that this really was the winning joke and Dave’s list included nine other entries that were mildly amusing observations at best and about as funny as a minefield in a Busy Bees nursery at worst.

That the world’s premier comedy festival could shine with such junk will come as no surprise to the vast majority of viewers, who have known for years that the Edinburgh Fringe is synonymous with mindless, smug student trash.

“Witless Hypocrites”

On a personal level, however, it’s still a little sad.

From the early ’90s, before the Woke Revolution ruined it, I attended the Fringe every summer, saw Harry Hill, Al Murray and Frank Skinner early in their careers and always felt confident that I saw a bright, fun future for the comedy and television industry.

That changed about ten years ago when, on a whim, I attended a performance by a comedian named Grainne Maguire, who announced at the outset that it was a routine about her journey into the Labor Party.

For the first and last time that afternoon, I laughed out loud at this obviously ridiculous suggestion.

However, it turns out she wasn’t kidding.

Her love affair with the Labor Party was routine indeed, and her easy-to-please audience acclaimed her throughout.

Grainne, speaking at a Labor Party conference on behalf of poor fellow former leader Ed Miliband, was no exception.

It turns out there were plenty of other left-wing activists by now – like Nish Kumar and Suzi Ruffell – masquerading under the banner of “comedians” who were in fact just horrid people chasing the casual applause of a like-minded crowd.

You’re the reason I don’t go anywhere near the Edinburgh Fringe anymore.

And if you’ve doubted the wisdom of that move, then I believe you’ve been reality checked by other events in Edinburgh this month, culminating in the cancellation of a performance by Father Ted creator Graham Linehan.

By any measure, Linehan is a comedy genius, with a string of accolades for Father Ted, The IT Crowd, and Black Books, as well as writing for The Fast Show and Brass Eye.

Father Ted creator Graham Linehan's performance at the Edinburgh Fringe has been cancelled


Father Ted creator Graham Linehan’s performance at the Edinburgh Fringe has been cancelledCredit: Alamy

He also strongly believes that women don’t have penises, that they should have their own safe places, and that children shouldn’t be mutilated in the name of transgender rights.

Opinions that I am sure are shared by the general public.

In the grim, narrow-minded world of modern comedy, however, his refusal to stand guard has made him persona non grata, to the point that this month he was banned from appearing as a surprise guest at the Leith Arches venue on the grounds of it is “an inclusive venue”.

Of course, one could choke on the irony and stupidity of the Leith Arches’ outrage, but what really takes my breath away is the comedy industry’s deafening silence in welcoming this cancellation.

I didn’t expect anything better, of course, from the mindless hypocrites who run television and happily employ leftist Frankie Boyle, who makes rape jokes about Victoria Pendleton, but now refuses to touch Linehan, who only ever sought to protect women.

What should drive everyone to despair, though, is the lack of support from his fellow writers and comedians, all of whom ten years ago would have begged Linehan to write them a role on one of his sitcoms.

Now? When does he need her most? Normally so outspoken, these ‘edgy’ and ‘brave’ stand-ups silently sneak into the Edinburgh night to lecture us all about injustice and the evil, fascist Tories.

There are of course heroic exceptions like Andrew Doyle, Leo Kearse and Simon Evans, all of whom risked their lives for Graham Linehan.

But the rest?

“Tyranny Awakened”

Cowardice, stupidity, ambition, a fundamental lack of principle and talent are the reasons for their betrayal.

Because if you cut out of the comedy equation really funny men like Linehan and Jerry Sadowitz, who was canceled from the Edinburgh Fringe in 2022 for alleged “racism, sexism and homophobia” and for letting his cock out, you leave a void that can be shared with filled with lesser talents who will be grateful for all the work.

However, if you’re expecting left-leaning television industry executives to spearhead some sort of backlash against woke tyranny, I’ve got bad news for you.

For lack of a quiet life, or because they’re OK with it, they go along with most of this anti-scientific madness.

In such a toxic atmosphere, only the dull and militantly awakened things can survive. Neither is good.

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So TV will just hope the Linehan feud goes away, and its panels, sitcoms and Live At The Apollo slots will continue to fill with the Lorna Rose Trees of the world and the angry young con artists of the Edinburgh Fringe – and then wondering why nobody watches any of their crappy shows.

rest in peace comedy

Emma James

Emma James is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Emma James joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing emmajames@ustimespost.com.

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