satirist; contrarian; academic
William Franken is best known for his satirical and psychedelic multi-character one-man shows which vacillate at breakneck speed between the scathing and the irreverent. In 2016, he incurred the wrath of the comedy community by presenting the ‘Defining the Norm Awards’ at the Edinburgh Fringe, a mock ceremony ridiculing the leftist orthodoxy and identity politics of the current stand-up scene as well as the predatory greed of the PR machinery that fuels its ongoing monotony – an act which resulted in his blacklisting from the comedy world. He has, however, taken advantage of the subsequent free time to write, direct, and present a documentary on the works of the rebel poet William Blake (Red, White, & Blake) with the intent of mocking new left academia in the same fashion as he has done with new left comedy. Franken has written for spiked, The Independent, and The Federalist (US), among other publications. He has been called a ‘bully’, a ‘racist’, a ‘sexist’, and a ‘genius’.
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