A sketch from the series, being shown on BBC Three, begins with a white woman called Sienna asking a black hairdresser called Fran to give her dreadlocks like Bob Marley. Sienna says she has no idea who the iconic musician is in the segment which went viral for all the wrong reasons.
During the 79-second clip Fran refuses to style Sienna’s hair in dreadlocks claiming it would be “cultural appropriation”.
A clueless Sienna responds that she “loves culture” before non-binary character Em kicks her out of the salon saying “it’s nothing personal, it’s just that we hate you”.
Online the show was quickly branded “embarrassing”, “garbage” and “about as funny as a bayonet in the neck”.
Leo Kearse, a previous winner of Scottish Comedian of the Year, slammed the show and said comedy like this is “dead in the water”.
“The black hairdresser then explains that if she herself wore her hair in dreadlocks in an office, she would get told to wear her hair straight to look more professional, despite this being 2021 so the reality being that she’d be immediately promoted to the board so that the company can appear more diverse.
“You’d think that the real issue with her working in an office might be that she’s a hairdresser and not a management consultant, but in wokeland actual skills mean nothing – all that matters is race, sexual orientation, gender, oppression and facial piercings.
“So in summary – a well-meaning woman enters a salon and asks for a haircut, and is bullied out for reasons which seem pretty arbitrary and aren’t explained to her.”
Shrill centres on the trials and tribulations of up-and-coming and overweight magazine journalist Annie Easton.
It says that she is determined to change her life but not her weight.
The left-leaning Guardian recently gave the show’s third series a glowing review, labelling it “truly radical TV which laughs in the face of fatphobia” and “a big fat delight”.
But even the woke publication admits that “you will end up laughing, but not very much, and not all that often”.
Mr Kearse jumped on this seemingly throwaway line and slammed the show for raising “zero laughs in my household and was met with derision and scorn on Twitter”.
He added: “The reason is that this woke comedy isn’t punching up. It’s punching down.
“The political power in Britain may currently be held by an (ostensibly) right-wing government.
“But the cultural power is held by the left – which is why right-wing comedians don’t get a look in at the BBC.
“Wokeism is old fashioned elitism – only those with the time, resources and knowledge to stay abreast of the latest woke trends can hope to have the right opinion, and any slight deviation is condemned as bigotry.
“A few years ago, JK Rowling’s defence of female-only spaces would have been applauded by wokeists as progressive feminism. Now it’s condemned as transphobic.
“Our much loved TV comedy of the past, such as Keeping Up Appearances, punches up at the snobbery of grasping social climbers exemplified in Hyacinth Bucket, desperate to elevate themselves from the flock through the right attitudes and apparel.
“The new social climbers are wokeists. Imagine how funny Keeping Up Appearances would have been if Hyacinth Bucket had gone around humourlessly lecturing people on their social faux pas, instead of sending up the ridiculousness of her attempts to appear superior?
“That’s exactly what ‘Shrill’ is. Woke comedy is dead in the water.
“If comedy commissioners had any balls or wanted to get any viewers, they’d give right-wing, anti-woke comedy a chance. Let us punch up at our cultural overlords.”