22 Sep

Why does our TV channels feel its OK to screen shows featuring comedians mocking children and Adults with autism?

What really annoys me most is that this same channel screens programmes that actually help to raise awareness for autism yet they are happy to feature so called funny comedians joking at the expense of a child like mine.

I was sat up late on Thursday night/Friday morning as I couldn’t sleep. I sat on the sofa wrapped in a blanket, a cuppa by my side, watching BBC3.

“Oh Russell Howard… I like him” I thought to myself.

I like how this young comedian is able to take something and brighten it up. His funny look on life is refreshing. He never seems to overstep the mark, and importantly he is able to laugh at himself.

Then what happened? Yer, you’ve guessed it… Russell Howard joined the many other unappealing comedians out there and I suddenly found myself going off him in what seemed like an instant.

The show ‘Right Here Right Now’ is a stand up recording of Russell Howard on stage doing his thing.

The not so funny joke…

“Why is Bieber famous?? I’ll tell you why, it’s because he said the word baby more times than any man in a 3 minute period. It’s like an autistic child in a maternity ward, Baby, Baby, Baby… OOH. That’s not music that’s mental illness!”

Did I overreact by writing this? I don’t think I did. For one autism is a spectrum condition, not all children with autism repeat things! Secondly and most importantly, Autism isn’t even a mental illness it’s a Neurological condition. Miss informing a nation that’s already built upon ignorance and stigma isn’t going to help anybody is it!

I don’t think any comedian who feels its OK to mock another because they are autistic or suffer mental health difficulties is worth watching. Would he had thought twice if this involved another medical condition? My guess is yes!

But above all what upsets me more is that the BBC are happy to screen such rubbish, especially given they broadcast shows that do such a great job to highlight the positives in autism.

I’m a mother who has watched her child struggle not just with aspects of his Aspergers diagnosis but at the hands of ignorance too. Yet somehow I do manage to add some Witt to my writing, sometimes my motto is “if I don’t laugh I’ll go crazy” but this isn’t the same is it! I’ve tried to look at what Russell Howard said and see some light hearted banter in it, sadly I can’t… It was just a horrid uncaring thing to say.

I think this show was a repeat from months back as the YouTube comments Stretch back for over months! Therefore maybe this is something of old news to you? Nonetheless, the comments are still being added to YouTube, some in support of the autism community, others just to comment on how funny they found it…

“Russell Howard is my role model. I use his jokes and my friends don’t stop laughing. If I saw Russell Howard in real life… id thank him for his work.” MrTheRUNESCAPER 8 months ago 3 Comment taken from Youtube

The above comment worries me, as does many others. No wonder its often a struggle to get our children through school without finding themselves the victims of bullies.

Please BBC, be more careful with the message your sending and Russell… You’re just not funny!


  1. daniel w August 14, 2014 at 9:44 am #

    and by the way making fun of a condition DOES NOT MEAN WE DONT CARE its a way of dealing with it.

    ps. whoever said the jokes on him clearly hasnt seen what a train wreck justin idiot beiber is i would rather be russell howard with his lazy eye … you know the one he often takes the piss out of HIMSELF about ….

  2. doubletongue May 21, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

    Let me ask you… If his words were ‘in a psychiatric ward’ instead of ‘autistic’ or whatever he said… Would that have removed what you find troubling about the bit?

    I don’t think he needed to refer to any condition so specifically. It altogether seems a bit out of left field. And not necessarily even a parody of symptoms of the condition.

    But people who are watching, most of them don’t skip a beat on the actual condition that he said. They just think… A hysterical person, obsessive, repetetive, etc… Incoherent. Autism is a scapegoat for the joke really.

    And people like the joke because it’s insulting Justin Bieber. Which everyone who isn’t a Justin Bieber fan loves.

  3. mar mar October 19, 2012 at 3:40 am #

    YEA, leave the disabled alone!

  4. James September 25, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

    I don’t find him funny for more or less the same reason – he’s made numerous jokes in the past that I’ve felt have gone too far. Whilst he’s entitled to freedom of expression, if he had made an equally inaccurate joke about Racial characteristics, he’d have been torn apart in a media frenzy, however it seems that making a joke out of both mental illness and autism and naively thinking that they are the same thing is somehow OK? Bieber (no matter how bad his music is) is richer and more successful than he will ever be, so the jokes on him really.

  5. Pinkoddy September 24, 2012 at 8:33 am #

    There should be some rules/guielines about this sort of thing.
    It’s bullying plain and simple.
    Towards JB as well as those on the spectrum.
    THB I don’t really see how it’s meant to be funny.

  6. clairelouise82 September 23, 2012 at 9:42 pm #

    Thanks so much for taking the time to share you views here on my blog. Completely agree with what you say. I will be sure to check out your blog.

  7. Garion555 September 22, 2012 at 10:33 pm #

    You know, before this I thought that Russell Howard was a really nice guy (and I still think that for the record) but from the point of view of a 16 year old with Aspergers, I whole-heartedly believe that that was an horrid joke. I totally agree that it is time that it is stopped, but that van NEVER happen while the BBC takes such a strange stancve on the issue – on one hand they are completely giving their support for autism awareness, on the other they are saying things like “Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton were thought to have SUFFERED from the condition”. I feel that this is wrong because most of us do not actually suffer per se, rather are challenged by the condition. In most cases, we simply have to grow as people in order to overcome this making us better. I have already made a post about the “suffered” bit on my own blog – Good on you and I will be sure to recommend you blog to my readers!!


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