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Julian Clary - The W1nners' Club

Have you ever damaged your career by making a rude joke whilst announcing the winner at an industry awards conference?

If you have, you’re not alone.

Gay TV comic icon Julian Clary made a rude joke about the then Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont whom Clary claimed he had just been ‘fisting,’ after comparing the awards’ stage set area to Hampstead Heath – a popular gay cruising site.

Clary declared: “I’ve just been fisting Norman Lamont. Talk about a red box.”

Lamont and his wife Rosemary were in the awards’ audience and to make matters worse, Michael Barrymore who was the next presenter on stage, demonstrated the remark graphically.

The joke was well-received by the watching audience who responded with uproarious laughter, but several national newspapers subsequently launched a campaign to have him barred from television as a result.

LWT were forced to offer an on-air apology and Clary was dropped from a Radio Scotland Christmas show.

“It got blown out of all proportion,” Clary later said of the event. “You’re on for 15 seconds and you’re expected to be funny. I dared myself to say it when I was in the wings waiting to go on. I thought it was slightly near the knuckle, but had one known what a fuss there was going to be, I wouldn’t have bothered really. There you go.”

When asked by Gay Times if he regretted making the Joke, Mr. Clary said: “No, I don’t regret anything! I mean, it was quite a well-constructed joke, and I quite like, so… Taxi drivers still say, ‘Oh, remember that night?!’ I know when I die, that’s what people will quote.”

The TV comic has since said that he no longer goes out of his way to be outrageous and said, “I mean sometimes, if I’m talking in great depth and about a gay sex act or something, and we’re playing in the home counties, that can cause a gasp – but when I started out in the 80s and it was Margaret Thatcher, I was kind of angry and it seemed appropriate. You can’t go on being angry like that. My interest now is the laugh – that’s become an addictive thing.”

Have a look at the video clip below and ask yourself if your career would be affected if you made a joke about ‘fisting’ a famous politician at an industry event. It’s fair to say that you probably wouldn’t be invited to present at an awards dinner for many years to come – as is what subsequently happened to Julian Clary.

 

 

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