Beake Speaks: Why vegan jokes are outdated and unimaginative
I have been reliably informed that there are many comedians who are vegan.
Comivegans if you will. Or veganicoms. I had the pleasure of meeting a vegan runner when I was out and about as a roving reporter for the Lynn News. I am sunburnt as a direct result of being in Sunny Hunny all day without my factor 100.
A beaming runner bounded towards me with a contagious energy and personality.
We chatted about her lifestyle and the benefits from being vegan in health and wellbeing.
As I have described in a previous article I did attempt to be vegetarian as a new year’s resolution and after six months failed when I accidentally ate a sausage McMuffin.
Possibly veganism gets unfair press as a way of life - there is a joke within comedy where the audience are asked to put up their hands if they are a vegan, and if no one does the punchline is that they probably don’t have the strength to raise their arms.
Comedian Jack Whitehall said: “Targeting vegans is amongst the ‘low-hanging fruit’ of comedy. The cheapest shot is to say they’re weak — they can barely clap or cheer.”
When Camilla Ainsworth, with her premium vegan milk brand didn’t win The Apprentice in 2018, comedian Russell Kane annoyed some people with his attitude: “There’s going to be a lot of angry vegans out there. If only they had the strength to type a complaint.”
But this is a tired trope of comedy, and reflective of a mainstream attitude towards vegetarians and vegans, wilfully and unimaginatively mocking people based on a myth.
I am always happily proved wrong and to admit that the vegan runner I met had the strength and passion for a plant-based way of life that was inspiring. I intend to Replace the usual dairy items I buy with soya milk, plant based butter. These ingredients are far more available and affordable than the perception may be.
The vegan runner encouraged me to research some vegan comedians, who as well as top sports people like Serena Williams, live a lifestyle that is non dairy and meat free. Comedians are usually thoughtful, inquiring people so it is perhaps not a surprise that many are vegetarians and vegan.
So here are some comedians who are vegan. Vegedians as I wish to call them, who were named by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals as their favourite animal-friendly comics.
Ricky Gervais , Ellen Degeneres, Bill Bailey, Alan Davies.
Oscar Wilde said imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Perhaps I can try again to make a personal lifestyle change that helps not only my wellbeing but the health of the planet too.