Delboy offends with “Pakistani” joke

Delboy offends with “Pakistani” joke

David Jason, who played the much loved market trader and dodgy dealer on the BBC comedy hit Only Fools and Horses, Derek “Delboy” Trotter – has caused offence by making a “Pakistani” joke. The joke is “What do you call a Pakistani cloakroom attendant?” the answer “Me-hat-Me coat”. See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7965058.stm

Now the funny thing is? that it is a play on the name “Mahatma” which is not a Pakistani name, the joke should be “What do you call a Hindu cloakroom attendant?”? now, even with the factually correct ethnicity inserted, it doesn’t make the joke any funnier. Even so, I don’t think it was a racist joke. I mean, on BBC Radio 4? I have heard the comedian and comedy writer Barry Crier? joke “What does a Spanish fireman call his? two sons?” the answer “Hose A and Hose B” a play on the name “Jos?” (pronounced “ho-sayy”). Both jokes are very similar but if one is racist so too is the other.

The BBC reports there have not been any complaint so far but maintained the the joke was inappropriate.

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3 thoughts on “Delboy offends with “Pakistani” joke

  1. Its tough with comedy, because different people have different thresholds after which they take offence.

    Personally, being a pakistani, whilst i wouldnt have found that funny, i wouldnt have been offended at all either…like you said, mahatma isnt even a pakistani!

    But i can see some reactionaries becoming aggravated with such comments of ‘ignorance’. And also with comedy it often depends on who says the joke…if its an uncle at the dinner table then noone raises an eyebrow…but if its an external source then people often have the knee-jerk response…

    Obviously as muslims we need to take care to respect people of all backgrounds and cultures and be the keepers of the highest morals, but in instances like this, where do people think is the line – and where should it be drawn? if at all?

    I suppose this brings up the notion of free speech, and the freedom to offend….?

  2. When I first read about it on the BBC I didn’t get the joke, I had to think about it, and I still didn’t get it. I thought it might have been a play on ‘Muhammad’, but it didn’t make much sense.

    I loved Only Fools and Horses and I forgive David Jason for his terrible joke šŸ™‚

    I think it’s hypocritical that white people can’t make ethnic jokes but comedians from ethnic minorities can get away with it no problem. Russell Peters is an example of someone whose whole repertoire is almost entirely ethnic based comedy, and no one hardly bats an eyelid. In one his recent shows he started making jokes about deaf people which I found really tasteless, but so far I haven’t heard anyone complaining.

  3. As-Salaamu ‘alaikum,

    I think third parties, particularly white middle-class people, have a greater tendency to get offended at these things than the purported targets, unless the jokes are clearly of a mocking or derogatory nature or there is intimidation involved. Clearly this particular joke confuses Pakistanis and Indians, but otherwise it’s a simple pun on an Indian name.

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