Paul Whitehouse tells Andrew Marr 'you have to tread very carefully' where modern-day comedy is concerned

21 February 2023, 18:48 | Updated: 22 February 2023, 09:48

Speaking on Tonight with Andrew Marr, the comedian reflected on his hit BBC show Harry & Paul - which saw him join forces with legendary comic Harry Enfield, as well as the acceptability of jokes from yesteryear.
Speaking on Tonight with Andrew Marr, the comedian reflected on his hit BBC show Harry & Paul - which saw him join forces with legendary comic Harry Enfield, as well as the acceptability of jokes from yesteryear. Picture: LBC

By Danielle DeWolfe

Paul Whitehouse has reflected on the changing tolerances of television audiences, noting “you have to tread very carefully” where modern day comedy is concerned.

Speaking on Tonight with Andrew Marr, the comedian reflected on his hit BBC show Harry & Paul - which saw him join forces with legendary comic Harry Enfield, as well as the acceptability of jokes from yesteryear.

“Things you could say last year you have to reevaluate now,” said the 64-year-old comic.

“There’s a zeal about it - of addressing, perhaps, issues that have gone unaddressed in the past,” reflected the comedian of modern-day censorship, noting there were times where it had gone "a bit too far".

“As we all know, there have been so many injustices in society that need to be addressed, and as I say, we’ve probably gone too far in our attempt to suppress those.”

Speaking on Tonight with Andrew Marr, the comedian reflected on his hit BBC show Harry & Paul - which saw him join forces with legendary comic Harry Enfield, as well as the acceptability of jokes from yesteryear.
Speaking on Tonight with Andrew Marr, the comedian reflected on his hit BBC show Harry & Paul - which saw him join forces with legendary comic Harry Enfield, as well as the acceptability of jokes from yesteryear. Picture: LBC

Paul Whitehouse joins Tonight with Andrew Marr

The comedian also spoke of his children's' reaction to his skits and impressions as part of the interview.

“If I interact with my kids and even do an accent these days, they look askance at me, and Bob [Mortimer] and I discuss that - what accent’s we’re allowed to do. And that line we’ve come to is not of the oppressed.”

Reflecting on the joy of comedy, the entertainer told Marr: “It’s easy to dismiss comedy when we see all the terrible things going on in the world, but as I get older, I actually think the opposite is true.”

“We’re not going to solve most of the world’s problems overnight."

“So, the role of something that actually brings a little joy to your life, it’s not just fairly important, it’s crucial, actually.”

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Reflecting on his stint in West End stage show Only Fools and Horses, the comedian was then asked by Marr whether he had an opinion on the impending return of Fawlty Towers.

“You think I'm going to give Cleese advice? Don’t do it John! Get someone younger in!” he laughed.

Confirming a new series of his hit television series, Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing, the comedian also reflected on the “parlous state of our rivers” as part of his chat.

Labeling the discharge of raw sewage into the UK’s waterways “shocking” and “a disgrace”, Whitehouse adds: “The main protagonist and the villain of the piece here, in many instances, is the policy of the water companies.”

Reflecting on his stint in West End stage show Only Fools and Horses, the comedian was then asked by Marr whether he had an opinion on the impending return of Fawlty Towers.
Reflecting on his stint in West End stage show Only Fools and Horses, the comedian was then asked by Marr whether he had an opinion on the impending return of Fawlty Towers. Picture: LBC

Ending their conversation on the future of the BBC, the comedian said he’s a “big supporter” of the organization and has “concerns” over its future.

“There’s no doubt there’s been a campaign against the license fee,” he said.

He added those campaigners opposing the BBC license fee had “an agenda” that would financially benefit them should it be abolished.

The comedian added: “Sadly the BBC do shoot themselves in the foot on so many occasions, you do occasionally agree with them”.

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