Watermans Doesn't See Funny Side of Boris

Drops comedy poking fun at Mayor for fear of political bias


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Comedian Crispin Flintoff thought it was an April Fools joke when his comedy ‘Lets Laugh at Boris’ was pulled from its April 1st slot at the Watermans Art Centre.

His show was supposed to give “impressionists, pun merchants and alternative comedians an opportunity to poke fun at London's Mayor in the spirit of Hogarth.”

But he was told two weeks ago the show was being dropped after the theatre trustees got cold feet.

“I booked the night at the Watermans in January and everything seemed to be set for a comedy and curry night. We had a similar night in October with a 'Let's laugh at the coalition' night. Unfortunately, two weeks ago, I was told that the night could not go on because the trustees of the theatre would not allow it.

The idea of the comedy night was to lighten up the political debate and also to raise money for the local Brentford and Isleworth Labour Party- not Ken Livingstone’s Mayoral election bid, he said.

"'I was assured this had nothing to do with Boris Johnson donating money to the Watermans in his capacity as Mayor. And I lost a lot of money on promotional material that had to be binned " said Flintoff, a former resident of Chiswick.

A stand-up comedian, he has appeared on Paramount's Comedy Channel as well as being a runner up in the Hackney Empire New Acts night.

But the Watermans Arts Centre defended its decision to drop the comedy night. The Marketing Manager Leigh Stops, said the theatre was publicly funded by Hounslow Council and the Arts Council and had to tread carefully where performances might be open to criticism of being politically biased.

“With the Mayoral election coming up so soon, there was a feeling that this performance with its strong political bias might override our remit.” he commented.

When Mr. Flintoff’s previous comedy was staged there were no imminent elections he added.

“We wish him the best. But there are moments when we have to tread carefully and this was one of them” he added.

Meanwhile Crispin Flintoff has managed to find a venue in Chiswick to host his comedy night. It will now go ahead at the George IV on Chiswick High Road on April 1st at 7.30pm. Other comedians taking part include Alan Mitchell, Ben Harrington, Paul Ricketts and Wil Hodgson and the show will be hosted by Crispin Flintoff.

"The George IV is probably a better venue anyway as it is used to hosting comedy nights every Friday and Saturday. And Chiswick is the home of political satire." said the relieved comedian.

Tickets for the evening are available online at www.wegottickets.com/letslaugh or can be bought on the door for £10 (£8 concessions).

March 23, 2012

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