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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 20 March, 2019
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'I wish I had a pound for every time I offended someone. Wait, I do': Gervais defends 'dead babies' joke

The comedian came under fire after a recently bereaved couple walked out of his show.

Image: Ian West/PA Wire/PA Images

COMEDIAN RICKY GERVAIS has defended himself after he came under fire for a joke about dead babies in his latest show.

Gervais has been touring his latest stand up show Humanity, and performed a string of shows in Northern Ireland this week.

A couple who had recently lost a child attended his show in Belfast on Thursday, and reportedly walked out after Gervais made a joke about stillborn babies.

This prompted the group Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Support (SAND) NI to issue a warning on its Facebook page about the event on Wednesday.

“We have just had a message from a bereaved couple who were at the Ricky Gervais show in the Waterfront Hall in Belfast,” the group said.

“They have asked us to make any bereaved parents attending the show tonight (aware) that there is a joke in the show about dead babies which upset this couple so much that they had to leave the show.

If you are going to the Waterfront Hall tonight please be aware of this part of the show as it may be upsetting.

Following the message and the testimony of the couple being picked up by a number of news outlets, Gervais took to Twitter yesterday morning to defend his comedy.

“‘Is there any subject you shouldn’t joke about?’ is no less ridiculous a question than ‘Is there any subject you shouldn’t talk about?’,” Gervais wrote.

“I see offence as the collateral damage of free speech. I hate the thought of a person’s ideas being modified or even hushed because someone somewhere might not like to hear them,” he said.

Gervais sent a number of tweets around the subject of free speech and comedy, saying that jokes about “bad things” don’t necessarily have to be pro those bad things.

Gervais is due in Dublin in June for his Humanity tour, which he said his “angriest, most honest and I think my best tour yet”.

“It’s probably my most personal too.”

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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