Mandela tweets and Jimmy Savile jokes … has comedy crossed the line?

Spoof preacher Reverend Billy faces community service, Frankie Boyle and Simon Amstell provoke tabloid outrage and the Edinburgh free festival schism widens

This week's comedy news

Comedians are in the dock this week, but no meaningful crimes have been committed. First, the good news: New York activist and spoof preacher and activist Reverend Billy, who was facing one year in jail for "riot in the second degree" (among other things, such as the scary-sounding "menacing in the third degree"), last week had his charges reduced in a Manhattan court. The charges – reported here last month – concerned a musical protest that Rev Billy and his Church of Earthalujah choir held in September in a branch of JPMorgan Chase and Co bank against a controversial form of coal mining known as mountaintop removal that the bank financed. Reverend Billy (real name Bill Talen), who dressed as an American golden toad for the protest,
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