Now people will be laughing at Jimmy Carr, not with him

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Jimmy Carr’s grovelling apology for his highly-profitable tax-avoidance caper was clearly intended as an exercise in damage-limitation rather than a genuine display of contrition.

But it may be too little too late. There’s nothing more harmful to the credibility of an establishment-bashing, right-on comedian than being perceived to benefit in private from that which he ridicules in public.

Who now can watch the anarchic, anti-Thatcher ranting of multi-millionaire Ben Elton in the ’80s without looking away in embarrassment? Carr will doubtless fall back on cartloads of simpering irony as he attempts to incorporate his tax affairs and the cash purchase of a £7m London home into his act. But people will be laughing at him, not with him.