Oxbridge comedian Stewart Lee has threatened to quit the UK if the Government’s so-called ‘Tumbleweed tax’ is introduced in this year’s budget. The controversial proposal by the Chancellor, to improve productivity in Britain’s comedy industry by levying a charge of £5 every time a comedian wastes an audience’s time by saying something unfunny, is scheduled to be introduced in April.
Whilst some comedians say that it will make no impact on their acts, others, Lee included, are said to be facing potential tax bills of millions of pounds. A treasury spokesman said that, unfortunately, Britain lagged behind the rest of the world in terms of comedy productivity and that anything that incentivised comedians to make hard working British comedy audiences laugh was a good thing. Lee responded with a monologue that went on for 20 minutes saying much the same thing 50 times but which sounded intellectual.