We may not have had the night we envisioned, but it was still an incredible night for the Irish at the Oscars, with 25% of the acting nominees being Irish, and the first ever Irish language film was up for best international feature. But if you’re in the US, you’d be forgiven for not knowing any of that, and just thinking the Paddies were over for a sesh and a brawl.
Saturday Night Live” started the ball rolling on the offensive Irish stereotypes by having comics Mikey Day and Molly Kearny rock up to a red carpet playing Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, speaking in entirely unintelligible accents. The punchline? As per the interviewer: “Wow, and they haven’t even started drinking yet!”
Not only is this dull and unimaginative, it is extra offensive due to Colin Farrell famously being sober following addiction issues. No research was done (and if there was, even worse) to throw in an unfunny joke based on tropes that have long demonised Irish people abroad.
But it didn’t stop there, oh no. Along came the Oscars, and quite literally any time an Irish nominee was mentioned, it was to joke about stereotypes plucked straight from the EPIC Museum ad campaign. After saying that there were Irish nominees from every corner of Dublin – neither Paul Mescal nor Kerry Condon are from Dublin, but let’s park that one – host Jimmy Kimmel quipped during his opening monologue: “Five Irish actors are nominated tonight, which means the chances of a fight just went way up.”
Because the Irish like to fight? Do you get it? Hahaha, isn’t that hilarious?
Fast forward to a segment where Kimmel asked celebs in the audience “questions from the public”, and stopped to ask Colin Farrell “just what he was saying in The Banshees of Inisherin”. Hahaha, isn’t that funny? Us Irish, you just can’t understand a word we’re saying with these silly little accents of ours! Weirdly, you could understand the film enough to nominate it nine times, but aren’t we an uneducated bunch!
“Aside from being offensive, the jokes are just wildly boring”
I’m really sad for those incredible actors who produced some of the year’s best work, only to be the butt of tired and offensive jokes that don’t track with modern Ireland. You can say that I’m being too sensitive, but the consistency of these digs this weekend seems to show that many people don’t care about the fine writing and acting and art coming from our country – at the end of the day, we’re just drunken louts that nobody can understand, even if you’re a teetotal Oscar nominee that brought his son to the awards.
But aside from being offensive, the jokes are just wildly boring. We can take a joke. We are a people whose main term of endearment is slagging. But make it funny! You’re telling me that you can write a brilliant Scientology dig (“L Ron Hubba Hubba”, take a bow) but for the Irish, you rely on centuries old stereotypes that aren’t even original? Would you make garlic jokes about Marion Cotillard? I thought you were comedians!