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