Overweight celebrities such as Gavin and Stacey star James Corden are perpetuating the stereotype that all fat people are funny, a medical expert is warning. Professor Nicholas McKay of Nuffield Health says fat stars are seen as role models, helping to make it acceptable to think that obesity is linked to humour.
But a survey for the healthcare provider has now revealed that many obese people are not actually that funny. Researchers found many obese people refused to use a proper punch line when telling jokes and almost one in five did not appreciate the importance of timing when telling a joke. The survey of over 2,000 individuals, some of whom were very, very fat indeed, also revealed many obese people fail to recognise that they have a humour problem at all.
Professor McKay, an expert on obesity comedy said: ‘The increasing profile of larger celebrities, for example James Corden, Eamonn Holmes, Ruth Jones and Beth Ditto, means that fat people increasingly think that they are funny as well, even if they are just slightly overweight and actually quite boring.’
Although he does not think large celebrities have been in any sense responsible for perpetuating the stereotype that exists today, he says the increased numbers of fat people who think they are funny is alarming.
‘If fat people continue to turn a blind eye to their complete inability to tell a joke, they will see their life expectancy considerably shortened,’ he warned. ‘Probably by someone sitting in the audience.’ he added.
1st July 2009