Henley Festival organisers 'regret' Tim Minchin offence
'Disgusteds of Henley-on-Thames' lay into comedian's set
Chris Eustace - 18 July 2012
The Henley Standard received several complaints about Minchin’s set, though their report appeared to misinterpret a joke about Australia’s government refusing to allow refugees to enter the country, claiming the comedian had “poked fun at ‘boat people’.”
Pauline Wood called Minchin’s performance “disgusting and offensive, and I have yet to meet someone who found it otherwise,” while Sue Taylor labelled it “crude, blasphemous ‘entertainment’.”
While festival director Stewart Collins emphasised that there was also “some hugely positive comment” about Minchin’s show, he failed to back the comedian further, saying:
“We hate disappointing — and certainly giving offence — but there is only so much that can be done on the day. While a general discussion is had with artists about repertoire, it isn’t possible to micro-manage on the day and programmes can and do change from that which is expected and requested…We would stress our regret where offence was taken.”
Minchin later hit back, according to comedy website Chortle, saying: “I love that I was booked for Henley, because it shows the festival has a sense of adventure. I played a set that I thought would only offend the most boring minority of the audience, and I think that's what it did.
Frankly, if I'm not at least vaguely prodding the atrophied grey matter of the most conservative 10 per cent of the besuited punters of Henley-on-Thames, I'm utterly failing in my job. The rest of the audience was awesome and very appreciative, and we hope to play there again.”
Tim Minchin plays Truck Festival and Secret Garden Party this weekend.