Jews don’t ‘get’ irony? Don’t make me laugh

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY DANIEL SUGARMAN

Irony with a twist: com­edy writer Jonathan Lynn’s hit show, Yes Min­is­ter

THE JEWISH cre­ator of two of the most pop­u­lar Bri­tish TV com­edy se­ries of re­cent times has re­sponded to Jeremy Cor­byn’s com­ments about “Zion­ists” not un­der­stand­ing “English irony” — with a joke.

In a let­ter to The Times, Jonathan Lynn wrote: “I am Jewish. Although I wrote Yes Min­is­ter and Yes, Prime Min­is­ter, Cor­byn says I don’t un­der­stand English irony.

“My co-writer Tony Jay was only halfJewish, so per­haps he half-un­der­stood irony and was able to sup­ply some.”

In a speech in 2013, Mr Cor­byn, then a Labour back­bencher, was filmed talk­ing about a group of Bri­tish “Zion­ists”.

He said: “They clearly have two prob­lems. One is that they don’t want to study his­tory, and se­condly, hav­ing lived in this coun­try for a very long time, prob­a­bly all their lives, don’t un­der­stand English irony.”

Mr Lynn, who also di­rected films in­clud­ing The Whole Nine Yards and The Fight­ing Temp­ta­tions, con­tin­ued by quot­ing Sir Humphrey Ap­pleby, the allpow­er­ful civil ser­vant from Yes Min­is­ter.

He wrote: “The Labour Party con­tin­ues to deny that Cor­byn is an an­ti­semite but as Sir Humphrey said: ‘Never be­lieve any­thing un­til it’s been of­fi­cially de­nied’.”

Broad­cast in the 1980s, the shows rank among the UK’s most pop­u­lar sit­coms. They fea­tured Jim Hacker (Paul Ed­ding­ton), first as a min­is­ter, then as prime min­is­ter, try­ing his best to pro­mote changes in poli­cies, with Sir Humphrey Ap­pleby, played by Nigel Hawthorne, do­ing his best to stop them.

Mr Lynn, who is the nephew of Is­raeli diplo­mat and states­man Abba Eban, re­ceived three BAFTA awards and two Broad­cast­ing Press Guild Awards for his work on the se­ries, as well as a Di­a­mond Ju­bilee Award for Po­lit­i­cal Satire in 2010.


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