Sue Perkins: “It’s not all right to make rape jokes”

The Bake Off host worries comedy has become tribal - but believes there's never been a better time to be a young female comic

Sue Perkins fears there has been a backlash against female comedians.

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“It’s not all right to make rape jokes,” she says in this week’s edition of Radio Times magazine. “I think comedy has become very tribal and worryingly sectarian.

“There are some fantastic female comics who are doing really well and they have been labelled ‘feminist comics’ and therefore a small section of male comics have decided to react against that and do material that is provocative and incites almost hatred against women, where the world ‘rape’ is a punch line. And that is to their discredit and to their shame.”

However, Perkins believes the female comedy scene has never been healthier: “There’s never been a better time to be a young female comic. There is a list as long as my arm and they are absolutely jaw-dropping and I’m delighted because it’s what you’d want…younger, better versions of yourself!”

Perkins is interviewed alongside fellow Bake Off presenter Mel Giedroyc for their new afternoon show for ITV, Mel & Sue, which begins on Monday 12th January. It’s 17 years since they were first paired up on screen in Channel 4’s chat show Light Lunch.

“I think the spirit of what we did then will come out in this,” says Giedroyc. “In the sense that we’re old pals, we know each other really well, and we like to have a laugh and make people feel welcome – and I don’t think time changes that.” 

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Read the full interview in this week’s issue of Radio Times magazine, on sale on Tuesday 6th December