Barry Humphries defends ‘unsavoury’ comedy after transphobia backlash

barry humphries as Dame edna in absolutely fabulous the movie
Photo: 20th Century Fox

Australian comedian Barry Humphries has defended his controversial brand of comedy after his named was stripped from a top comedy award.

Humphries’ name was this month removed from the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s top award, in part because of a series of the comedian’s history of transphobic comments.

At a comedy Q&A session in London on Sunday night, Humphries did not address the controversy directly but didn’t back away from his style of comedy, according to The Australian.

“Comedians aren’t always terribly nice,” he said.

“We don’t have to be nice, do we?

“We’re not obliged to be nice, we’re generally pretty unsavoury.”

At the London event on Sunday, Humphries joked in character as Sir Les Patterson that his semen was named “gender fluid” and also joked about LGBTIQ people during a story about complaining to a director about wearing tights onstage.

“He said, ‘Your legs are good, according to my wife,’ and it was the old days — his wife was a woman,” he said.

The 85-year-old comedian made headlines last year after making comments to The Spectator which were widely panned as transphobic.

The comedian dismissed transgender activism as “terrible rat-baggery” and said transgender issues were a “fashion,” asking, “How many different kinds of lavatory can you have?”

“And it’s pretty evil when it’s preached to children by crazy teachers,” he continued.

In 2016, Humphries slammed gender affirmation surgery as “self-mutilation” and called Caitlyn Jenner a “publicity-seeking ratbag” who wanted to “steal the limelight” from other women.

Humphries attempted to walk back some of his past comments last month in an interview with the Sunday Times, saying that “nothing has been more grotesquely interpreted”.

“Edna carefully said she thought that men who had themselves castrated did not become women, and that got taken the wrong way,” he said.

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