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Wrong crowd

Everyone fancies themselves as a bit of a stand-up when they've had a few too many at their local and they fancy firing their mouth off at all and sundry. That is until someone either buys them a pint or punches them in the face - both of which are apt ways of stopping someone bad-mouthing for a while. But it took a recent court ruling and fine of several thousand dollars to convince Canadian comedian Guy Earle that he should change his material and stop slanging people off completely.

At the bizarrely named Zesty's Restaurant in Vancouver, a lesbian couple were recently on the receiving end of a series of verbal slurs from Mr. Earle, who was MCing a comedy night at the eaterie, the Vancouver Sun reveals. It was whilst in full 'vitriolic' flow that Earle called the table at which a lesbian couple were sat the 'dyke table', before going on to make disbarraging remarks about its occupants, Lorna Pardy and her partner.

'[Pardy] said Earle went on to describe lesbian acts involving her and her partner that shocked and embarrassed her. She said she booed him in an attempt to shut him up and this caused him to leave the stage and come to their table where he loomed over her, swearing and asking her derogatory questions.'

'She told the tribunal she didn’t want him near their table so she picked up a glass of water and threw the water in his face.'

The court ruled in Pardy's favour and ordered Earle and restaurant owner, Salam Ishmail to pay $22,500 in damages.

The question now remains as to whether other comedians might meet a similar fate if they take their comedy routine a step too far. Can there be that fine a line between parody and poorly disguised prejudice?

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