The all singing, all dancing blog of Alex Guite

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Hilarious comedian apologises for joke

Here's a great joke for the Christmas season from Britain's top comedian, Matthew Parris:

Q: What’s smug and deserves to be decapitated?
A: Cyclists.

It's taken me almost a week to stop laughing at this joke since Parris wrote in his Times column that "a festive custom we could do worse than foster would be stringing piano wire across country lanes to decapitate cyclists." My sides literally split with laughter when I read his humdinger of a punchline: "the lynching of a cyclist by a mob of mothers with pushchairs would be a joy to witness". Oh, how we laughed.

Sadly it seems that Parris doesn't just want to split my sides, but also my throat. So, why is Parris going so literally for the jugular on this? It seems that some cyclists have been throwing cans of high-energy drinks into the hedgerow of his local lane (although he provides no evidence for this). My first reaction was that his claim seemed suspect: typically cyclists drink from re-useable frame mounted water bottles and not cans. But then, fair play, let's say Parris is right and there are littering cyclists around his way. Certainly amongst any group of people you're going to get some twats whose behaviour you can't excuse (same goes for Times columnist, Matthew). Does inconsiderate littering justify an incitement to murder. And if so, where does this justification end? The other day I saw a motorist throw litter out of his window. Also I'm pretty sure that fridge I saw dumped down the country lane wasn't thrown off a bike. So can I now leave nails in the road to teach these litter louts a leasson? Of course I can't.

I can already hear the cries from throngs of motorists telling me to get a sense of humour. After all, what says Christmas and goodwill more than a good angry, bigoted rant? And man, that bit where he describes cycle helmets as "ludicrous". The guy's a genius! But what really gets me is that stringing piano wire across lanes to decapitate cyclists isn't just the product of Parris' mind: its already happening and its already injuring cyclists. Blogger Treadly and me has compiled a list of recent wire traps left for cyclists which made the news because of, er, the gruesome results.

Today, Parris has apologised. Thanks, Matthew, good to know that you're no longer planning to string traps across my path and that of thousands of others whilst we're just trying to keep fit and save some time on the morning commute.

So it turns out that on this one Alastair Campbell hasn't sexed anything up: Matthew Parris is indeed a "little shit".

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