Politics and Policrosses

It is a constant frustration for me that I don’t understand more about politics than I do. Sure you could argue that I could learn, but that’s not what’s holding me back. Its a complete in ability to take the knowledge in without feeling an immense desire to sleep. I sifted through the list of quangos that are to be closed down yesterday, in the hope of gaining some comedy gold from them to be used at last night’s gig, and made it only halfway through before having to stand up and walk round the room or otherwise nap there and then. Luckily before that point I’d found the Child Maintenance Commission which I used for a shoddy gag about where on earth you’ll be able to get your child MOT’d now that’s gone. Yes, not great. Still, I’ll be using it again tonight. Here’s the crux: I really do care. I’m hugely terrified of a dystopian society destroyed by the privatisation of all public services, anyone without an Eton based education struggling to ever get to university and a health service that’s only for the rich. I still can’t understand why we, as the public (and yes I count myself as one of those) should be paying for this deficit with our jobs (and yes, I know I don’t have a job as such), savings and benefits, when there are huge corporate machines that could clear it with one deposit of the taxes they avoid paying by keeping them offshore. Now, here’s the trick, I just don’t understand all the nuances, the figures and the fiddly important bits as to how that’s all happened. I know the results, but if I had to show you the workings out, it’d featured several doodles of Cameron’s face with knives in it and then I’d have got bored and written my own name in graffiti font a few times over for no real reason.

Last night’s gig was nerve wracking because the audience were people that did know all of this stuff. They are people who actively campaign against it and who I hugely admire because they aren’t just all talk. Somehow, I had to go onstage and do political material to people who at any point were within their full right to tell me I clearly didn’t have a clue and should probably just go away. They didn’t. They were very nice, but there were clearly things that didn’t make sense or didn’t quite work and thankfully they were forgiving. I still walked offstage with a determination that I will endeavor to work on it harder and come up with a set that sums up exactly how I feel about the coalition government and one that’s actually funny too. There are several hurdles with this sort of comedy though. Firstly, as its topical, you can make a gag you feel really proud of, audiences love and then three days later, you can no longer use as everything’s changed. Some people don’t adhere to this policy and still insist on banging out old stuff – if you have a neat twist on it, there’s no reason not to. If you don’t there are many reasons. Then I have the problem where I can’t find the funny so easily in things I find so infuriatingly anger making. How can I pluck humour out of a situation where, when I read about it, I just want to shout a lot? Its not easy. And then finally, my major issue, is making the jokes coherent, and mean something. Its the comedy krypton factor and I’m constantly in awe of people like Mark Thomas who manage it seemingly so easily.

Josie Long did a cracking set last night, where, despite her pre-stage gripes about whether or not it’d be any good, she completely smashed it with a series of honest, interesting and political gags. It was brilliant to watch. Chris Coltrane and Grainne Maguire also did top sets and there were several musicians and speakers that all provided us with some interesting info on what’s actually going on. I listened to most of it, but being a huge stupid child, kept getting distracted by a small kitten that had wondered into the room and was being cute. Again, political fail. I worry that I’ll eventually get to the stage of leading a demonstration against the empire in 2031, with a burning flag in one hand and a battle cry about how they will never take our freedom, only for someone to release a red balloon, I’ll get distracted and then arrested. Or shot. Or both. Still baby steps as they say. Which is odd as most baby’s can’t walk. But I’m going to try my best to rectify this and keep reading the papers and keep writing stuff that I can understand.

Also, I fully aim to do stuff like this on Wednesday. if you’re around in London and don’t agree with what’s happening – especially after seeing the spending review that morning – then be there:


And the group that set up yesterday’s show are the brilliant The Cuts Won’t Work. Check out their website here:


2 thoughts on “Politics and Policrosses

  1. I 100% agree on how frustrating it is that writing truly topical material has such a short shelf-life. It's very difficult, but I think that history does repeat, and that if you keep on writing topical jokes then eventually you will be able to re-use them, or at least re-use the punchline, with a big of jiggery-pokery. But the ability to admit that a joke has passed its shelf-life puts us above those comics who will come on stage in February and ask people if they had a fun new years party.Having said that, I am positive that Cat In The Bin Lady will be timeless. Even in the year 2050, we'll be able to ask who remembers her.– Chris Coltrane (I tried posting under my LiveJournal ID, but it says "Your OpenID credentials could not be verified". How rude. Does Blogspot not understand how important I am on the internet?

  2. Ah – I was supposed to be there last night, but obviously had been reading too much political stuff, as went home from work and to bed rather early instead. If I had gone, though, there would've been at least one person in the audience who is very much like your description of your political self.I also can relate to the whole thing of just wanting to shout about things – though, not being a comedian means I have more leeway with that sort of thing. That said, it doesn't exactly make me popular with colleagues when, sat at lunch, one says they're flying to spain FOR THE WEEKEND (I can't even think about that without wanting to shout) because well, it's so cheap and easy, so why not, I respond 'well, punching a baby would be cheap and easy, but that doesn't really justify doing it does it?!'. Queue uneasy silence, mutterings of 'what the hell's punching a baby got to do with it' and everyone moving away and never speaking to me again. Ah well.

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