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.



  • Nicholas - 2012-02-15 11:11

    These guys are all the same! They do something that they know damn well is going to cause an uproar, then act dumb when it happens. He's surprised is he? I bet he is.

      Stefanus - 2012-02-15 12:20


      Bokfan - 2012-02-15 12:31

      This jerk needs to be de-Amerikanized. In the Us its ok to laugh at other people's pain. But here we are still hoping one day to be civilised.

      Foc - 2012-02-16 08:58

      There is NO such thing as BAD publicity!! I think people or oversensitive because it is Joost... the same people will laugh their butts off if a comedian joke about Steve Wonder's blindness or Naas Botha's teeth and manner of speaking ... come on people Joost is NOT some sort of demi-god ....

      Jason - 2012-02-16 09:22

      Look we all love Joost, cocaine sniffing prostitutes and all! but are you holier than thou mense sure you didnt giggle just a little bit at all the Whitney Houston Jokes???? Come on be honest with yourselves! Its a comedy sketch..............get over it.

  • calliedj - 2012-02-15 11:14

    The biggest joke of this was that it wasn't even funny on any level. Poor show Breytenbach. And I am not a Joost supporter at all. You should learn from Dave Levinson what comedy actually is.

  • jrheeder - 2012-02-15 11:22

    Poor Form.

  • Annelise - 2012-02-15 11:31

    Not funny to make jokes of a illness.......period!!!!!!

      Craig - 2012-02-15 14:02

      So vd Merwe jokes should be banned, that's moking people who are not as bright as you, I know a few vd Merwe's and none of them are stupid, can't say the same for the Irish though.

      Moi - 2012-02-15 15:44

      @Craig - there's a rather big difference between vdmerwe jokes and taking the p1ss out of someone that is slowly dying due to a debilitating illness.

      camp.j - 2012-02-16 08:53

      Craig, you cant compare dude, vd Merwe jokes generalise and we've all been called stupid at some point in our lives. This is personal and out of order

      Jason - 2012-02-16 09:29

      We are way to sensitive for our own good in this country! Not too long ago people were screaming for his head after he was filmed shnarfing coke off a whore! It amazes me how selective we are about the things we moan about.

  • GrootWitHaai - 2012-02-15 13:45

    The morality police are out in force.

      Jason - 2012-02-16 09:31

      Something about stones and glass houses comes to mind.............

  • Christopher Zoony De Croes - 2012-02-15 14:00

    well @least joost prob has clean & proper underwear now hahahaahaha

  • Hendrik - 2012-02-15 15:30

    One would imagine that these "comedians" follow some sort of thought process, which one could only hope would lead to the million dollar question - What am I trying to chieve - a short round of suppressed laughter or Grand scale scorn, and possibly a liberal portion of "don't touch this guy with a pitchfork" cladding that will result in less work oppportunities for the artist. I think any attempt to induce laughter through the misfortune of anybody else, regardless of whether they are well known or not is tasteless and lacks in cognitive process.

  • Shiraz - 2012-02-15 19:50

    well the upside is there more exposure for Joost and this terrible disease !!! and its free

  • Ronel - 2012-02-15 20:29

    STOP labelling this to 'Afrikaans'. It is the PERSON that's a fool. You get in in every society. SashA Baron has done the same. Not forgivable. I.m afraid. AND, dudes, I am an Afrikaans speaker. Also Sotho, Dutch, German, Japanese and Nonsense. Bad speak is BAD SPEAK. No language luggage, please. that is ultimately as bad as vloeking someone who deviles a sickeness. Get real. Good & sad people exist in ANY language.

  • Rudolph - 2012-02-16 08:26

    Now everyone is a Joost fan. Joost fcked up. Not only his own life, but also his childrens'. The effect of divorce on children is devastating. Not a good idea to make fun of Joost, that's in poor taste, but lets not forget that Joost is not the fckn victim.

      Moi - 2012-02-16 09:15

      What does his divorce have to do with his illness? So because he "messed up", that entitles people to poke fun at his illness?????

  • acsteyn - 2012-02-16 09:05

    Comedians so often behind just that and don't think of or care about the hurt theit actions and/or words could cause family and friends. Comedians must act responsibly and with maturity. Being a comedian does not give one an unlimited license to say unkind things and hide behind the guize of humour and/or satire.

  • Chris - 2012-02-16 09:17

    Himself is a ASH Hole

  • Sandy - 2012-02-16 09:38

    Poor poor taste boet! Sad that you're so desperate to capitalize off someone else's misfortune so that people can think you're funny!

  • leonardus.breedt - 2012-02-16 10:05

    WELL he has sleep around and use drugs.Then this guy must make joke's about that also.Oh yes he tell the whole world that is not him on the camera.You people must under stand jokes are jokes and is not harmful.Remember he is in the public eye.

  • Joy - 2012-02-16 10:08

    I have recently lost my grandmother to Motor Neuron Disease, it slowly destroyed her and my entire family. This disease only brings on devastation to the victim and those they love. To make a joke of it, on something he clearly has NO F**ing clue about. Should rather keep his mouth shut, before someone does it for him.

  • etienne.vanrooyen - 2012-02-16 10:32

    Done in bad taste...

  • errol.wagner - 2012-02-16 10:57

    If you have seen someone suffer from Motor Neuron disease you will realise that it is not something you joke about - what a heartess, callous, and childish society we have become - to joke about someone's suffering, it is like children laughing when another child falls and is hurt.

  • Cynthia - 2012-02-16 12:58

    i neither like nor dislike Joost but I think it is in very poor taste to mimic or make fun of anyone with a terminal illness.

  • Sean - 2012-02-17 10:08

    I don't really care for JvdW and never have, BUT he really does not deserve this treatment, especially now that he has this serious condition! In total bad taste!!!

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