Dublin screenwriter Hugh Travers is writing a comedy about the great Irish famine called Hungry.
Channel 4 has commissioned a pilot script, but there is as yet no commitment to broadcasting the series.
The 1845–52 potato famine resulted in an estimated 1 million deaths and mass emigration from the country.
The proposed series has outraged some people, and an online petition has been created to stop the comedy from going ahead.
At the time of writing, the petition had 29,065 signatures, and needed just 5,935 more to reach its target.
Created by a Glaswegian named Fairlie Gordon, the petition says:
Famine or genocide is no laughing matter. Approximately 1 million Irish people died, and another 2 million were forced to emigrate because they were starving. Any programme on this issue would have to be of serious historical context, not, repeat not a comedy.
A Channel 4 spokesperson told BuzzFeed:
We have commissioned a script set in 19th century Ireland by Dublin-based writer Hugh Travers and Irish-based production company Deadpan Pictures – however, this in the development process and is not currently planned to air.
The show's writer Hugh Travers said the series would be like "Shameless in famine Ireland".
"They say 'comedy equals tragedy plus time'," Travers told the Irish Times. "I don't want to do anything that denies the suffering that people went through, but Ireland has always been good at black humour."
But not everyone is seeing the funny side.
Others support the project, or at least feel conflicted about censoring certain topics.
And, as one Twitter user pointed out, people have poked fun at the famine before...
Yes. There's nothing funny about it.No. Comedy shouldn't have limits.
vote votesYes. There's nothing funny about it.
vote votesNo. Comedy shouldn't have limits.