Famous for their hilarious skits and humorous musical routines, The Two Ronnies were one of the most popular comedy groups throughout the 1970s and ’80s, bringing tears of laughter to family rooms across the world for years.
Ronnie Corbett and Ronnie Barker were household names thanks to their BBC program, which reached audiences of 17 million in its peak. However, it seems their comedic acts are no longer accepted by some, who have labelled their once much-loved skits as “racist”.
While they may have laughed along with friends at the famous skits such as “four candles” and “crossed lines” as teenagers, parents of students at a school in Gloucestershire in south-west England were left outraged when staff showed one of the comedy duo’s famous skits at a Year 9 presentation evening, The Mirror reports.
According to the publication, things took a turn for the worse when the school decided to show a skit featuring Corbett dressed as a Middle Eastern man, complete with skin painted brown and a traditional Arabian dress. In the clip, Barker repeatedly misunderstands Corbett due to his put on thick accent.
The event was meant to focus on building stronger communication between parents and staff, however, it just brought conflict between the two parties with many parents slamming the school for running the clip, saying while it was funny years ago, it does not fit with the modern world.
“I love the Two Ronnies but showing someone with their face blacked up in order to laugh at their accent in this day and age… I was furious,” the publication reported one parent said.
Another added: “The Two Ronnies are brilliant, but there’s just no place for this racist humour anymore.”
This isn’t this the first time comedies and literature of the past have been deemed inappropriate in this day and age. Back in 2009, popular show Hey Hey It’s Saturday was forced to make an apology after a skit during its Red Faces talent segment caused outrage. Five men covered in black face paint and black wigs re-enacted their skit ‘Jackson Jive’, which appeared years ago when the show was on air. However, this time the Michael Jackson character painted his face white.
The skit drew the ire of Harry Connick Jr, who was a guest on the episode. He negotiated an on-air apology from host Daryl Somers during the ad break and said he never would have agreed to appear on the show if he’d known the skit was running.
Some of the world’s most revered literature has also been in the firing line of late and just months ago American author Laura Ingalls Wilder was stripped of an award due to the negative stereotyping of Native Americans in her much-loved Little House on the Prairie books.
The racist context highlighted throughout the book series led to the decision by a division of the American Library Association to remove Wilder’s name from its children’s literature award.