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Comedian angers fans with Joost joke

2012-02-15 10:50
Johannesburg - Comedian and actor Pierre Breytenbach has angered Joost van der Westhuizen's supporters after he mimicked the former rugby player and motor neurone disease sufferer's condition on the kykNET programme Skerp.

Breytenbach mockingly slurred his speech on the programme and walked slowly and stiffly as he supposed Van der Westhuizen would've acted at this stage of his incurable illness.

Breytenbach said he believes comedians should accept responsibility for their jokes, but he was "surprised" about the violent reaction after the broadcast in question.

"Standup comedy is a satirical genre in which any topic is mocked. The opinions and perceptions of any standup comedian are just that: opinions and perceptions. If the audience is offended by the material, they are free to make comments about it during and at the end of each show. If comedians want to distribute it, they must be able to take it as well.

"It was never my intention to inconsolably offend anyone. To Joost and all motor neurone disease sufferers, I apologise."

In poor taste

The episode of Skerp was broadcast on Friday at 21:00 and rebroadcast on Saturday at 22:30.

Haddad Viljoen of kykNET said such comedy programmes do not always fall in everyone's taste, therefore it is broadcast late at night and with an age restriction.

Viewers described the sketch at the weekend as "disgusting", "humiliating", "shocking" and in "poor taste".

The Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) received two complaints.

According to Viljoen kykNET sometimes receives complaints due to the nature of the programme.

"This necessitates that we finely monitor our material. Due to a bona fide logistical error, the sketch wasn't seen beforehand. It would never have been included. The joke is in bad taste and we apologise that it slipped through."

When asked why the programme was not removed from the broadcast schedule after the first series of complaints, Viljoen said it was very difficult to remove programmes from the air because of the profound impact on the broadcast schedules. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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