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David Baddiel claims comedy sketches are like high-art novels

David Baddiel claims comedy sketches are high art like novels credit:Bang Showbiz
David Baddiel claims comedy sketches are high art like novels credit:Bang Showbiz

David Baddiel insists comedy sketches are as "high" an "art form" as serious novels.

The 59-year-old comedian, whose TV shows have included 'Baddiel and Skinner Unplanned' with fellow comic Frank Skinner, 67, revealed he received "pushback" from the "snobbish" cultural world after he began writing books.

David has since hit back at his critics, and argued that comedy sketches should be consider as much of "a high art form" as novels.

During a talk at the University of Oxford, he said: "I perceive that some art forms are considered by the gatekeepers of culture to be higher than others and that idea that you should stick to your lane as a storyteller has a snobbish element to it.

"I noticed this very much when I first started to write novels. I wasn't the first ever comedian to write a novel but it was certainly the case there was a pushback, 'Well, I don't know if a sketch comedian should be writing novels.'

"I like novels a lot, but I don't see it as a higher art form than the sketch or even the stand-up comedy."

David also pointed to a number of "great" comedy sketches, including "the Nazi one" from 'That Mitchell and Webb Look', which saw David Mitchell, 49, and Robert Webb, 51, play SS officers that question the ethics of German fascism during the Second World War and worry they are the "bad guys" of the conflict.

He added: "It is such an incredibly profound and comic question about how bad people never understand that they are bad people.

"How is that, or 'Peep Show' or 'Monty Python', not as high an art form as (novels that compete for) the Booker prize?"

David then cited the advent of alternative comedy by the 71-year-old comedian Alexei Sayle in 1979 as a turning point for stand-up, which he said marked the point when comedians became "storytellers".

He said: "Alexei Sayle began talking about his life and writing his own funny stories, an oral tradition out loud. That seems to be a good grounding to writing a longer-form story."