Barry Humphries has defended his controversial brand of comedy after his name was stripped from the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s top gong, declaring comedians aren’t “obliged to be nice”.
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The Australian reports, Humphries, who is, without doubt, Australia’s most successful comedy export, spoke at a question and answer session with British comedian Rob Brydon at the London Palladium last night.
“Comedians aren’t always terribly nice,” he said.
“We don’t have to be nice, do we. We’re not obliged to be nice, we’re generally pretty unsavoury.”
The festival announced earlier this month that Humphries’ name had been dropped from the festival’s best in show award in part because of comments the comedian had made about transgender people.
Humphries attracted widespread controversy last year after he called being transgender “a fashion” in Britain’s The Spectator.
“How many different kinds of lavatory can you have? And it’s pretty evil when it’s preached to children by crazy teachers.”
The comedian also described calls for transphobia to be treated as a form of assault as “terrible ratbaggery”.
Last night the funnyman made jokes about LGBT people as he recalled what a former director told him after he complained about wearing tights on stage.
“He said, your legs are good, according to my wife, and it was the old days – his wife was a woman,” he said.
Humphries also joked about how he would put vaseline on his hands before greeting interviewers on television.