Tom Ballard: Problematic
- Brian Donaldson
- 18 August 2017
A hilarious indictment of PC-baiting and the normalisation of bigotry
Political correctness has been lambasted for decades, but Australian comic Tom Ballard is on the warpath to defend it from its more virulent critics. Well, sort of. He does acknowledge that PC can sometimes go embarrassingly awry (leading to all those 'political correctness gone mad' type tabloid stories) but ultimately, he passionately and hilariously espouses its original intentions to protect minorities and the vulnerable from verbal assaults.
He rails against the 'sticks and stones' argument to insist that words do matter and shoves particular ones back in the faces of two fairly horrendous Aussie bigots, Pauline Hanson (leader of the right-wing One Nation who has since made a spectacle of herself by swanning into the Australian Senate chamber dressed in a burqa), and David Oldfield, Hanson's former lover and co-founder of her appalling party. Ballard had the misfortune of appearing with Oldfield on First Contact (a TV programme in which some celebs spent time in remote Aboriginal communities) and after continually sparring with him took shelter in the company of the relatively liberal Natalie Imbruglia.
On the eve of this year's Fringe, Ballard himself was targeted for breaching PC protocol with his poster, which has his face manipulated to seem slightly out of proportion. He was called out for being insensitive to people with facial disabilities. While Ballard admits that he is cocooned within the liberal-left arts bubble, it might not always protect him from the excesses of lunacy on both sides of the fence.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 27 Aug, 8.30pm, £11–£13 (£9–£11).