The Canadian Human Rights Commission hits a new low by investigating a stand-up comic who heckled hecklers.
When an eight-year-old Guy Earle was bouncing on his bed, reciting along to Steve Martin albums and dreaming of being a famous stand-up comic, he never imagined how that fame would finally arrive: in the form of a Canadian Human Rights Commission (HRC) complaint, brought by a lesbian heckler, accusing Earle of not being funny.
After getting a degree in physics and working for the likes of Corning and the British Navy, the British-born Earle toured the U.S. and Canada, honing his comedy routines in more than a thousand performances over twenty years.
Earle takes his comedy seriously. He explains to Pajamas Media:
Stand-up is an art form. I like the guys that live this rule. Traditional “Lenny Bruce” school of comedy is my bread and butter. It must contain social commentary and have “a message” — not Carrot Top or prop acts.
He claims it was his dedication to his art that led to the events at Vancouver’s Zesty’s Restaurant on May 22, 2007; he wanted some hecklers to give the evening’s final open mic comic a break. He told Pajamas Media it’s something he’s done countless times before as an MC:
I’ve said some awfully derogatory remarks to people who show no respect to a live stage show. My remarks are meant to shock and silence an unruly, disruptive group or person. I have generally offended a few people over the years but I never regret it because it is a function of being in a live and dynamic show and my jabs never come unsolicited. I can be accused of acting in poor taste but I cannot be accused of hating.
The Vancouver Sun tried to sort out the “he saids” and “she saids” of the booze-event, but only Earle agreed to speak on the record: