Comedian Frankie Boyle has defended his right to use derogatory racial terms when "ridiculing" racism after suing a tabloid newspaper for libel damages.
Lawyers for Mr Boyle told a High Court jury that a Daily Mirror article which started with the words "Racist comedian Frankie Boyle" was defamatory.
They said Mr Boyle "actively campaigned" against racism and complained that the newspaper had "misunderstood" the context of the comedian's language.
But Daily Mirror publisher Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) is defending its article - published on 19 July, 2011 - at a trial in London expected to last a week.
MGN lawyers said Mr Boyle was a "racist comedian" who gratuitously exploited negative stereotypes of black people for "cheap laughs".
But Mr Boyle's barrister David Sherborne said the comedian was ridiculing racists when telling jokes, and expressing views of people he detests.
"We say the use of the word is clear," said Mr Sherborne. "The defendants have misunderstood it."
He added: "Surely we have not got to the stage where we cannot use the word at all."
Mr Sherborne said some of Mr Boyle's humour was extremist and he told jurors that the comedian had a thick skin.
"He would not have sued the defendant if he had been called 'tasteless' and 'offensive'," said Mr Sherborne.
"But he was not. He was called 'racist'. That is a different matter and he will explain to you why it was so upsetting."
Mr Boyle told the jury that he was born in Glasgow in 1972 and said his parents were "economic migrants" from Ireland.
"I am completely anti-racism," he said. "I have never expressed in any serious point anything that has been anything but anti-racist."
Ronald Thwaites QC, for MGN, argued that Mr Boyle was a "racist comedian" and said the newspaper would claim that its use of the word "racist" was a fair opinion.
He said Mr Boyle used negative stereotyping of black people "usually in a sexual context".
"What he has done is to take the negative stereotype of black people and exploit that for cheap laughs gratuitously," Mr Thwaites told jurors.
"This is not part of some intellectual cause. This is not part of some clever message."
Mr Thwaites told jurors: "We have selected some stark examples of where he is racist in his comedy."