TV, and Mocking Children with Autism

Why do 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!

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Claire Parkinson
I’m a mother to three gorgeous children, one (my eldest) has a diagnosis of Aspergers
Claire Parkinson

Claire Parkinson

I’m a mother to three gorgeous children, one (my eldest) has a diagnosis of Aspergers

0 thoughts on “TV, and Mocking Children with Autism

  • October 7, 2012 at 12:13 pm
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    While I found the video to be extremely insensitive and overgeneralizing of the autism population, I think we tend to forget that comedians poke fun at everything and everyone.  Sure, this particular bit was targeted towards autism, but if you watch enough stand-up, every group of people are vulnerable to being the topic of a comedian’s stand-up.  They aren’t maliciously attacking those with autism; they’re simply poking fun at a condition that they are 100% detached from.
    Don’t get me wrong, was I offended by this video?  Absolutely.  My 25-year-old brother was diagnosed with autism at age 3 and I currently work as an ABA instructor for children on the spectrum, so I not only have a personal connection to autism, I also have professional involvement with the community as well.  But we have to remember that when it comes to comedians and their stand-up, they mock everyone.  This is what they do for a living, and many make a darn good living off of it.  I’m not saying I support this, I’m just pointing out reality.  Perhaps if you weren’t deeply and emotionally involved with the autism community, you may have found this funny.  For every group of people a comedian offends, there is another group of people who will find him/her funny.  

    But that doesn’t mean I condone this type of perpetuating stereotypes of the autism community.  We just have to continue our fight to break stereotypes and foster awareness.

    Reply
  • October 2, 2012 at 3:08 pm
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    I think its totally wrong and Ok to say so. What a jerk

    Reply

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