Opinion: Jeremy Corbyn – Good For Politics & Good For Comedy Too?

It is still too early to say whether Jeremy Corbyn’s landslide victory will be good for the country but one thing is certain. It will be good for comedy. If there were not enough jokes already hurtling around the Twitterverse following his election, we can expect plenty more in the weeks and years to come.

For starters it helps that he has a genuine character that satirists can get hold of. This may, on the other hand, make it difficult to come up with some new striking images such as cartoonist Steve Bell’s image of John Major in his underpants.

I guess the default take on Corbyn will be as an ageing old school socialist, somewhere to the left of Stalin eating mung beans and wearing a jumper knitted by his mum made out of second-hand string. The challenge for commentators will be finding something more original than that kind of low-hanging comedic fruit.

But it can be done. In the post-Thatcher years when new party leaders were elected satirists have worried that the subjects are too bland and they would have nothing to grab hold of. It is hard to believe now that they said this about Tony Blair when he became Labour leader. And when David Cameron entered 10 Downing Street there was a worry too. In 2010 Rory Bremner said “There are simply no politicians in the new government that anybody recognises. That does make life a bit trickier for me."

Yet as we’ve seen time and time again from the likes of Bremner and co, it doesn’t take long for the comedians to get to work. While critics says Westminster is becoming increasingly populated by identikit public school spods this could not be further from the truth. Nigel Farage and George Osborne might both be posh boys in suits but that doesn’t mean that they aren't fertile ground when it comes to a send-up. Andrew Lawrence has already had his say on Facebook, mocking the entire UK left wing in one go soon after Saturday's result: "Fuck me, a massive victory for the Leftists, and yet they're still whinging about me making jokes. Utterly humourless people".

It has been said that politics is showbiz for ugly people and that has never felt more true than it has in the last few years. Politicians are constantly in the headlines as commentators listen out for every gaffe and scrutinise every sentence. There is comedy potential every time they open their mouths. I don't know if Corbyn has much of a sense of humour, but he did meet some comedians up in Edinburgh last month, including Mark Steel, Angela Barnes and Magaret Thatcher, Queen of Soho (pictured).

As for the impressionists I guess Rory Bremner will be delighted that someone older than him has been elected for a change. As Bremner has aged and the party leaders have got younger it has been getting harder and harder for him to do convincing visuals. Prosthetics can only help so much. He is also probably delighted that a man won the election. Bremner was on a much surer footing when Tony Blair was in power. Previously he tended to leave Mrs T to Steve Nallon.

So as we sail into uncharted waters in British politics it will be interesting to see how the comedians cope with Jeremy Corbyn. Critics might accuse him of being a knee-jerk lefty. Let's see if the jokes are little less than knee-jerk.

There is a fundraiser and a celebration for Jeremy Corbyn at The Forum, NW5 on September 14 featuring Jeremy Hardy, Francesca Martinez, Mark Steel, Sara Pascoe and Ava Vidal, hosted by Arthur Smith. Guest speakers are Owen Jones and Brian Eno. Jeremy Corbyn himself has promised to attend unless circumstances dictate that he can't. Tickets here.


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