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Ricky Gervais defends his shocking joke after grieving parents walked out of his show.

Bereaved parents have slammed Ricky Gervais for making a joke about a dead baby which prompted them to walk out of his comedy show in Belfast this week.

The Irish couple, Suzi and Ryan Gourley were on their first night out together on Tuesday after the loss of their stillborn son Eli in July last year.

“I know people take things differently and I know our emotions are raw, but why joke about a baby being dead? It’s just wrong,” Suzi told Belfast Live.

Listen: Sometimes, it’s beneficial to structure our grief.

“Some people might read this and think we’re over-sensitive and maybe we are – but it’s just not funny.”

The couple admitted they did not know a lot about Gervais before seeing his Humanity tour show and were just hoping to “have a bit of a laugh”.

“I didn’t know what his jokes were like but I wouldn’t have expected that in a million years from anybody.”

The joke became the subject of public debate after SANDS in Northern Ireland put out a warning to followers on its Facebook page ahead of the funnyman’s second performance at the venue on Wednesday.

Suzi and Ryan Gourley walked out of the concert. (Image via Facebook.)
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"They have asked us to make any bereaved parents attending the show tonight [aware] that there is a ‘joke’ about dead babies which upset this couple so much that they had to leave the show," the Facebook post read.

"If you are going to the Waterfront Hall tonight please be aware of this part of the show as it may be upsetting."

The Office star hit back in the wake of the controversy with a series of tweets defending his right to make jokes about any topic and engaging with social media users who questioned him.

Gervais compared restricting people's ability to joke about a subject to restricting the topics they can talk about and said he sees offence as "collateral damage" for free speech.

The 55-year-old suggested that offence is a "feeling" and that his jokes could upset almost anyone, but that was no reason to stop telling them.

Gervais also put a warning out to potential gig-goers, telling ticket-holders exactly what they're in for if they attend.

If this has post raised any issues for you or if you would like to speak with someone, please contact the Sands Australia 24 hour support line on 1300 072 637.