No need for ‘lynch the Lynch’ T-shirts

Gary
Gary MacDougall
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Wade Lynch AKA Queen Elizabeth chats with Anne of Green Gables during a celebration at Province House Monday night.

I have often quoted P.E.I. poet Milton Acorn’s observation about Islanders and their opinions. “The Island’s small…every opinion counts,” he wrote in the poem I, Milton Acorn.

The fact Islanders are free with their opinions was obvious this week during the royal tour by Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.

Popular actor Wade Lynch’s impersonation of Queen Elizabeth II during a Victoria Day concert staged for the royals had many people hyperventilating in their hyperbole. They were aghast for a number of reasons.

For starters, some had a belly full of bile over the fact P.E.I. organizers of the trip would hire someone to impersonate Her Royal Majesty and make jokes at her expense — in front of her son.

Since the royals didn’t fall out of their seats in laughter — in fact, they sat fairly stonefaced — many people felt they were insulted or felt uncomfortable during the performance. And lastly, the performance was not Lynch’s best. He seemed a bit nervous, some of his jokes fell flat and the skit went on too long.

But to hear some of the talk on the street and in the media, especially the social media, one would have thought Lynch had started the Third World War. It was almost as if  “A lynch for Lynch” T-shirts were about to be printed.

Islanders love to be good hosts, and the mere thought Charles and Camilla might have been offended had the coffee shop chatter in overdrive, in addition to the online world and in letters to the editor.

Tasteless, insulting and shameful were among the descriptions given to Lynch’s tongue-in-cheek performance.

Lynch himself says he approached the gig with trepidation, fearing it sounded a bit tacky. One thing helping ease his angst was the knowledge his script was cleared by Clarence House, the official residence of the prince and his wife.

“If the actual Royal Family was offended, I am really sorry because that was never the intention,’’ Lynch said in a Guardian interview the day after the show. He thought the show went well.

Gail Shea, the MP for Egmont and Canada’s fisheries minister, sat next to the prince during the show. She felt Prince Charles took it all in good stride, as did Premier Robert Ghiz, who also shared a front row seat.

If I did theatre reviews, I would have to point out it wasn’t the talented funnyman’s best performance. On the question of whether the impersonation of the Queen should have been in the show, that’s a no-brainer — it shouldn’t. Everyone had an icky feeling about it long before Lynch put his wig on . Surely we could have offered up something more representative of P.E.I. culture.

Having said that, I doubt Prince Charles has lost any sleep over the skit. In fact, we should all be as easy going as him the next time someone makes fun of our mother.

But, c’est la vie. Everyone needs to relax; it was just a small skit, in one event, during an otherwise delightful royal tour. I doubt Prince Charles, now safely back in London, is plotting with the Royal Navy to reclaim Prince Edward Island and bring the former colonists back in line.

Rather, I think he is quite happy with his visit to our fair isle, as we should be.

 

Gary MacDougall is managing editor of The Guardian. He can be reached by telephone at (902) 629-6039; by email at gmacdougall@theguardian.pe.ca; or on Twitter.com/GaryGuardian.

Organizations: Royal Majesty, Clarence House, Royal Navy The Guardian

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Canada, London

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Recent comments

  • Let It Go
    May 28, 2014 - 08:32

    Every adjective and adverb known to man in the Webster's dictionary has been used to describe this event. Just how many more times must we be subjected to articles that pretty much say the same thing. Let it go!! Move on!! You can't undo the past.

  • Dan Aiken
    May 25, 2014 - 17:05

    I'm not on board with this one, Gary. You don't invite a man over for supper just to spit in his soup. This was painful, inappropriate, and should never have been presented knowing the risks it posed to our reputation. We invest heavily in cultivating an image of our province for tourism and marketing our products. As with all reputations you can spend a lifetime building them but it only takes one incompetent blunder to put it all to waste. The Ghiz government gave one of their pals a patronage appointment as Chief Protocol Officer (which had formerly been the responsibility of the Chief Electoral Officer) and this is the result. Let's help out the deficit and turf the protocol officer who isn't that great with protocols.

    • CT
      May 26, 2014 - 09:20

      Dan...see the quote below. He said it should have been included. Did you read the entire article? On the question of whether the impersonation of the Queen should have been in the show, that’s a no-brainer — it shouldn’t.

  • TWO CHANGES
    May 25, 2014 - 08:52

    Two changes should be made. The person responsible for this farce should be fired immediately and not rehired in another Government backed overpaid position and second the so called actor should look to find a different kind of employment because he is neither funny nor talented and when he realized that this was not appropriate should have backed out.

    • Den
      May 25, 2014 - 12:52

      Fired? Maybe so, but a better penalty to hand out to this genius would be to demote them to something beneath their uppity status like cleaning toilets or some other manual labour that would actually make them break out in a sweat for a year or so.

  • Resident
    May 25, 2014 - 07:44

    Gary, it is very nice of you to write this editorial. But it surely reads like you don't mean what is said, and like you have been forced to do this to clear up some mess.

  • Differ
    May 24, 2014 - 14:20

    You go on thinking that way. It is your right. We are all entitled to our opinions which is the way it should be. I disagree. It was amateurish, insulting and non laughable. Try doing something similar to Ghiz or Harper and I bet the result would be even flatter and worse. No its not the end of the World but in reality it was a pi-s poor effort and display IMO. One that should have been thoroughly reviewed before it came to light. My opinion only. As for a lynching shirt ......that would open even more craziness. Lynching is a word that brings up horrible history for blacks . So it probably would just open up a new can of worms and more bad reviews for PEI How much more negative attention does PEI need? I AM HAPPY WE CAN ALL HAVE OUR OWN OPINIONS.