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Russell Howard once had to change a joke on the BBC in case Isis were offended

Katie Archer
Contributor
Russell Howard (PA)

Comedian Russell Howard has revealed that the BBC once made him re-record a joke – for fear that he would offend Isis.

Howard was speaking on his Sky One show The Russell Howard Hour when he shared that producers had panicked over a quip he made during filming for an episode of Russell Howard’s Good News.

He had apparently caused a stir by questioning the faith of fundamentalist terrorists, which the show’s makers wanted him to gloss over by toning down how he had mocked them.

He said: “I did a piece about the Paris attacks where I said Isis weren’t Muslims, they were terrorists, and the crowd cheered.

“Then, at the end of the show, the BBC lost their mind – ‘You need to re-record it! You need to say Isis aren’t devout Muslims!”

He continued: “I was like, ‘Are you worried we’re going to offend Isis? Are they going to write in?”


Unable to believe the request, Howard then pretended to be an Isis member making a complaint to the BBC.

He joked: “Dear Points of View, imagine my horror when I was misrepresented on a late-night satire show.

“Farouk and I will be cancelling our TV licence. Please excuse my handwriting, I have a hook for a hand.”

Howard confirmed that the episode of Good News that aired had been with the re-recorded joke, rather than what he had originally said.

Obviously still annoyed by the incident, he said: “If (Isis) are killing people, the least I can do as a comedian is call them names. And if Isis gets upset, then f*** them.”


Russell Howard’s Good News aired on the BBC from 2009 to 2015, but his new show, The Russell Howard Hour, has been airing on Sky One since 2017.

He also stars in a comedy series with his mum, Russell Howard & Mum, where the pair travel the world together.

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