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A charity is calling on a comedian to apologise over his award-winning joke about Tourette’s at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
Swedish comedian Olaf Falafel’s gag about Tourette’s syndrome was handed Dave’s ‘Funniest Joke of The Fringe’ prize.
However, Tourettes Action has said it was ‘so disappointed’ in the joke, and said the fact it was voted for by the public showed ‘how we as a nation deal with people who are different.’
Falafel won with the one-liner:
I keep randomly shouting ‘broccoli’ and ‘cauliflower’ – I think I might have florets.
UK TV channel Dave asked its panellists to submit their six favourite jokes from the festival, which were then presented to 2,000 members of the public. A total of 41 per cent of people voted Falafel’s gag as the funniest.
However, upon sharing the news on Twitter, many people were quick to question the humour, which is seemingly at the expense of people living with the syndrome.
One person replied to Dave’s tweet, writing:
Incredibly sad to see that you guys think Tourette’s Syndrome is somehow funny. Yes, I get it is wordplay, but it’s still told at the expense of people suffering a debilitating illness.
This is the kinda shit I tweeted in 2011 when I was 16 and thought mental health disorders were the peak of humor.
A third unamused Twitter-user added:
I think the issue is, that folk think its ok to make jokes about Tourettes Syndrome. Living with Tourettes is no Joke!
One concerned mum wrote:
Disappointed that this joke won an award and that it’s from a children’s author. My eight-year-old has Tourette and this actually made me cry. He fights off bullies like this every day. A day in my son’s shoes- you wouldn’t make it and neither would I.
These thoughts were echoed by Tourettes Action CEO Suzanne Dobson, who had just been about to launch a campaign to stop using Tourette’s as a punchline, which she says ‘unfortunately came about a week too late.’
As per the BBC, Suzanne said:
Humour is a great way of educating people – but not only is it not funny to poke fun at people with Tourette’s, it’s not even that funny a joke, is it?
The charity is now calling on Dave and Falafel to apologise.
I would ask them to walk in the shoes of somebody with Tourette’s for a day, and then come back and tell me if they find it quite so amusing.
Olaf Falafel has been approached for a comment.
Tourette’s syndrome is a condition of the brain which causes people to make involuntary sounds and movements, which are known as tics. Around 300,000 people in the UK live with the neurological condition.
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