Five Icelandic comedians who star in a weekly comedy sketch called Spaugstofan on public broadcast RÚV, have been criticized by the Prime Minister’s Office for distorting the national anthem on their show last weekend.
On their show, which was the 300th Spaugstofan episode, the comedians changed the lyrics of the national anthem and sang about the heavy industry and smelters in Iceland, RÚV reports.
According to the national anthem law, it is forbidden to perform the song other than in its original form. The national anthem is considered the possession of the Icelandic nation and the Prime Minister’s Office holds the copyright authority.
In the event of a disagreement about the national anthem the Prime Minister is to decide which actions to take. Those who violate the national anthem laws may have to pay fines or serve a prison sentence of up to two years.
Bolli Thór Bollason, the director of the Prime Minister’s Office, said people had contacted the office to complain about the distortion of the national anthem on Spaugstofan.
Bollason said the Prime Minister’s Office considered the distortion “in poor taste” but said no decisions had been made about any actions against the five comedians responsible.
Bjarni Gudmundsson, acting director of RÚV, said the station tends to give the comedians “a free rein” when they are “making fun of us and our closest environment.”
The Spaugstofan five have been criticized for their sketches on earlier occasions; for airing alleged pornographic material and for making fun of the Christian religion.