Should We Be Laughing?

A two-part series exploring comedy's treatment of disability.


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Audiences have been laughing at disabled people for centuries. We hear modern and archive examples of sketches that are both offensive and welcomed by disabled people, plus how most of our much-loved sitcoms of the last 40 years have used disabled people as figures of fun.
Disabled comedians and academics give their verdicts on what non-disabled comics have done for their community. Both sobering and hilarious - but should we be laughing?
Presented by disabled comedian Francesca Martinez

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There are many disabled comedians who often play to mainstream audiences. Many of them are pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable to discuss on stage, screen and radio. Their targets include not only disabled people and the barriers they face, but range much wider too. Are there any taboos for these comedians? We hear examples from The Nasty Girls, Laurence Clark, Mandy Colleran and Philip Patston, plus a surprising accusation about Lord of the Rings. Prepare to laugh, nervously! Presented by disabled stand-up comedian Francesca Martinez. Written and produced by Turan Ali.