COMEDIAN Jimmy Carr tried to put the week’s furore over his tax arrangements behind him last night as he appeared on one of his TV shows for the first time since the scandal broke.
Hosting Channel 4 panel game 8 Out Of 10 Cats, he was met with extensive ridicule from fellow comics following a barrage of criticism over only paying about 1 per cent tax.
But Carr said he took full responsibility for the decision.
In the show, filmed on Thursday, Carr’s fellow panellists teased him about his domination of the headlines this week.
Team captain Sean Lock told him: “We all like to put a bit of money away for a rainy day, don’t we? But I think you’re more prepared than Noah.”
Broadcaster and team member Georgie Thompson then chipped in: “On the plus side, at least you’ve been in a top five list of something.”
Prime Minister David Cameron joined a chorus of criticism of Carr, whose tax arrangements were disclosed in newspaper reports on Tuesday.
On Thursday, Carr bowed to pressure and issued a statement apologising for his actions, saying he had “made a terrible error of judgment”.
But that did not stop his fellow comedians turning their wit on him during filming for the Channel 4 programme.
Carr said: “I’ve been dishing it out for years, it’s about time I got some.
“I hate to sound like I’m passing the buck, but I’ll tell you who I blame for this whole mess – me. It’s entirely my fault.”
The comedian was revealed earlier this week as one of the main beneficiaries of a scheme to avoid paying substantial amounts of income to HM Revenue & Customs, along with other famous names including Take That singer Gary Barlow.
However, Mr Cameron has been branded a hypocrite by Labour critics for not making similar “moral” judgements about Cabinet colleagues and party supporters, including Barlow.
Public relations expert Max Clifford said he did not expect long-term damage to Carr’s career from the criticism, but also said the comic should not have apologised.
Mr Clifford said: “I think he did the wrong thing in apologising in the way he did. He should have said, ‘I’m apologising to people offended, but I was recommended by my accountant, and everyone out there, if they had the chance to save tax with something that’s legal, I doubt that many would haven’t have taken the chance’. How many people would not do the same?
“Fans, particularly for someone like Gary Barlow, will not care as long as he is not robbing people, because fans are very loyal.
“This has been damaging to Jimmy Carr, and for a controversial comedian, he should have stuck to his guns.
“But this is not a Michael Barrymore [case], nobody has died in suspicious circumstances in his swimming pool – that finished his career.”
He added: “In a month’s time, I think most people would have moved on. How he survives it depends on how he handles it in the weeks ahead.”
In a statement in which he admitted making a “terrible error of judgment”, Carr said he met a financial adviser who asked: “Do you want to pay less tax? It’s totally legal.”
The K2 Jersey-based scheme used by Carr is currently also being used by more than 1,000 people.