Scottish comedian feels the wrath of students

Scottish comedian feels the wrath of students

A TOP Scottish comedian has been branded a bully and banned from performing at Stirling University after jeering a transvestite in the audience of a recent gig.

The Reverend Obadiah Steppenwolfe III, who is known for his politically incorrect humour, provoked the wrath of students when he repeatedly joked about the appearance of a student who was sitting in the front row of the student union gig.

Stirling University Student Council voted to ban him from performing at any union events and to propose a motion urging the National Union of Students in Scotland to do the same for all affiliated Universities.

After the decision is ratified at the next council meeting, a motion will be proposed to NUS Scotland, which if passed, will see the comedian banned from a further 15 student unions.

In response to the move the comedian, real name Jim Muir, has invited the complainants to an open debate at The Stand Comedy Club, pledging that whoever wins the battle will take home the ticket money.

The row developed after a recent show where in one expletive-laden rant he called the student ‘f*****g weird’ and asked the audience if they agreed.

Mark Cullen, Vice President Services and Treasurer of Stirling University Students Association (SUSA), booked the controversial comedian. He said: 'There is nothing that the student movement takes more seriously than equality and he was essentially a bully. I regret booking him. We all accept that comedy will often be cutting edge and controversial but there is a line of decency and respect that was grossly crossed.'

However the self-defined transvestite student at the centre of the controversy was less scathing. He said: 'I really didn’t mind that much but I suppose he went a bit far. When every second joke was about me it was a bit far. But he’s a comic, he’s trying to get people to laugh and it’s an opportunity. I was more offended by the Islamic jokes to be honest. He was quite rude to a lot of people and he wasn’t that funny.'

Many student representatives including Mark Charters, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) officer at Stirling University, spoke out against the comedian.

Mr Charters, who proposed the ban, said: 'Humour is humour but at the point when you base your whole comedy sketch on one specific part of society, the LGBT community, and then victimise one person for being a transvestite that’s just wrong. We believe that the union should place a permanent ban on the comedy act in question and NUS Scotland should inform other unions about this act and how it breaks the equal opportunity policy. It’s our duty to do this.'

When asked to comment on the allegations the comedian said: 'The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world that he didn't have tits.'

The debate will take place at The Stand Comedy Club, Glasgow, on March 23. It has not yet been confirmed if the students will take up the challenge.


1. lex3 Mar 2009, 3:04pm Report

I seen this guy in December at the stand in Glasgow, I totally understand that by entering a comedy club there is always the chance that you may be picked on.
However when this comedian singled out and more or less based his whole act upon a young man in the crowd that had terminal cancer both myself and my friends had to walk out, there werent many laughs and the atmosphere was just uncomfortable.

2. Jojo Sutherland5 Mar 2009, 9:51am Report

I read, with interest, the comment above as I was also at the stand comedy club on the night that lex refers to and would like to point out that the rev did not "single out" the young man in question but rather acknowledged and reacted to information that he had been given, firstly by the compere who had been talking to them at the beginning of the show and also by the fact that there was a sizeable group all wearing "team chris t shirts" who were happy to divulge the reason they were all there. If lex and friends hadn't felt the need to walk out then they would have been witness to what was a very funny and enlightening exchange resulting in chris saying that he had had a brilliant night and found it really funny.
comedy is subjective and everybody has the right to like or dislike something but i do feel that being offended and dismissing an act on behalf of someone else who wasn't actually offended or upset - in fact quite the opposite- is at best naive.
with regards to the original article i think protecting peoples rights is very important but it's worth checking that the people in question feel they need to be protected before riding off on a moral crusade

3. Kim Macaskill5 Mar 2009, 10:22am Report

I attended this gig and would like to point out the following.

The LGBT took up a lot of the front row, and since a lot of Jim's stuff is talking to the audience it was enivitable that LGBT were going to get some jokes launched at them. I think the LGBT have a built up view of what happened. As being someone who doesn't get swallowed in by an audiences reaction I can safely say all Jim did was what he does to anyone of any gender,sex,race. If Jim had not touched said Transvestite for jokes then we are assuming that comedy needs to side-step a man in a dress. Which is doesn't, never has and never should.

Should he have continued to do it 3 or 4 times? I absolutely think so. Comedians do tend to pick a 'friend' for their set and it just so happened that this one was a transvestite who was actually having a good time. I've heard people say "We need to create a safe space at the University for all students" but by response to this is, is that in Comedy NO ONE IS SAFE. If that guy had been a sports student who was getting ripped in to, would anyone care if the sports student got upset about being discriminated against? Not much. And this transvestite didn't even have a problem.

The problem is with the people who are trying to make an issue out of something that other people are fighting to stop being an issue. Yes he "should be able to sit in the front row and not feel scared about it." BUT front row at a comedy gig- come on! grow up and get smart!

Jim is one of the top scottish comedians for a reason. The problem with student gigs is that there are small groups of strongly opinionated people who bond together over the rights and wrongs of a certain issue. Comedians SHOULD NOT have to cater for this.

If the audience had let their guard down and stopped listening to the trigger words such as muslum, gay etc that Jim had used. They would quickly realise that Jim doesn't single out one group, he does it to everyone. In fact that night, Jim said "You know what I've decided ladies and gentleman? That y'all muslim m*therf*ckers". Now to anyones ears thats horrific, but he is trying to make EVERYONE the target audience here. Not just muslims and by doing this he is making some interesting points.

If Jim gets banned from 15 unions then I can assure that the war won't end there. Not on my part anyway.

The debate is going to consist of some of Scotland's leading comedians who have also felt the backlash of similar small groups. It will not just be LGBT, but anyone who was offended. The Stirling LGBT are apprehensive about the idea. If they do not attend the debate and speak out against the Reverend's set then I would atleast hope for the small grace of a statement as to why they won't come and why they are continuing to ban an act who has done well before

4. Kim Macaskill5 Mar 2009, 10:28am Report


Furthermore, there was a headline act who said far worse things about the transvestite.

If I recall the comedian asked another audience member to look in to his eyes and when the audience member refused the comedian responded with "You want to know why he won't do it? It's cos your f*cked up son* and then called him ugly. The same comedian (who is an amazing act) carried on responding to the LGBT claims of liberation with "no it's not." Other comments included the comedian talking to another audience member and referencing back to the LGBT with statements like "So what? You don't care about your future? You should join the group man. (LGBT)."

Now that act was not even considered to be offensive. Why? Because the act is a nice personality while the Reverend is set character.

If the audience members gave Jim's act any thought they would realise that ALL JIM DID was the followed:

Call the transvestite f*cked up.
put a staff near his face, told him to look in to the staffs eyes and told him he was going to convert him in to christianity.
and made a few references such as "have you seen this guy? "wow, man, your f*cked up"

I will not allow such a good act to get banned by such a naive audience.

5. Mikey Boy5 Mar 2009, 4:53pm Report

All Aboard The Outrage Train *Chooo Chooo!*

6. Ro campbell11 Mar 2009, 2:47pm Report

I am rather bemused by this whole incident.

Knowing Jim Muir rather well as I do, I know him to be a man who has enjoyed close and intimate relations with more than just a few members of the transvestite, transgender and transbovine communities...

It is these frequent physical forays into such sexual subcultures that gives Jim his relaxed and uninhibited manner of dealing with members of them.

Jim's picking-up techniques are unorthodox but you'd be surprised how often they work...

and I'm sure that night was no different ;)

7. JC Murphy19 Mar 2009, 12:54pm Report

Students getting uppity for no real reason eh? Whatever next? 'Moon plans to pass between Earth and Sun in 4 weekly cycle' shocker?

8. Suze Forever22 Mar 2009, 12:03pm Report

when did it become ok to draw humour from a minority group that still receive hatred towards them? For a comedian who did not claim to self define as a member of LGBT to attack various members of the group to claim humour does not seem to me to be humour.

I was present at the event with a group of students who did not find it funny. this was a view clearly expressed by the majority of the audience who often didnt laugh.
Firslty, to put the LGBT campaign on the same level as sports students clearly shows your lack of understanding of the issue and clear ignorance towards it.
secondly, the lgbt table did not choose to be down the front in clear line of attack. this is the table they were allocated.

Entering a comedy event is to go an watch humour and be entertaining. not to be attacked and find humour in other members of the audience. I go to watch a comedian who has choosen to stand on stage and entertain. if they choose to mock themselves or minority groups that they are a member of then they make this decision themselves. to attack a member of the audience who has no control over the situation is shocking. to suggest that the individual who received most of the abuse was unaffected shows more ignorance than you can imagine. this will probably have come from similar abuse in the past or at least being aware of the attack they could receive by having the courage to self define. It was not that long ago that people were openly attacked in the street for such courage and in some places this still happens. by allowing verbal attacks such as this in comedy clubs (or anywhere) we are saying it is ok. what would we be saying now if the person being picked on was black?

I think it is important to remember that even if we are not a member of a particular group, we should still stick up for them when something happens that is wrong. we might not see that it is wrong at first, but if we are in doubt then look closer. dont attack the small group who stands up and says no.

what jim did was not all that the above post stated. there was much more. he attacked other groups and people.

another point to make is that apparently he has been at the uni before. whilst many would say, well its your own fault for inviting him back...i think its clear that this is another reason for the ban. at his last visit, we was offensive and ended up having an arguement with an audience member. many students who know her attack the character of the audience member whom he argued with but this person is still an individual with views. she was not the only person offended. the ban by the university council is to stop future mistakes.

my opinion...his act was a mistake and his jokes offensive.

9. Kim Macaskill1 Apr 2009, 11:05pm Report


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