You’ve got to love Jonathan Pie. His off-camera rants have come at the perfect time with Trump in the White House, the Brexit shambles and May and Corbyn seemingly about to swap places. It’s always a joy when a new video pops up on Facebook or YouTube; the modern equivalent of waiting for Spitting Image to appear on a Sunday night in the 1980s, so would Tom Walker’s exasperated, zeitgeist-capturing political commentator be able to make the jump to the live arena?
The short answer is an emphatic yes. Billed as a dry-run for a proposed TV show called The Jonathan Pie Political Roadshow the show uses a set with a laptop podium, big screen and interview area and the promise of two ‘fucks’ a show. It began with Andrew Marr style opening titles and an opening rant on the fate of retired news reporters. A Jill Dando joke was a good test of the audience and it was clear early on that this was a well-scripted performance from a fully-formed comedy character that sits somewhere between Mark Thomas and Alan Partridge delivering a David Icke lecture. Millennials (or “Generation Twat”) got the Pie treatment with the threat of being beaten up afterwards if anyone was found texting during the show.
Obviously the Tories bore the brunt of his scorn beginning with those that keep voting them in “like flies repeatedly diving into a cafe light zapper and being surprised at the outcome”. His comment that everything wrong with the country is Thatcher’s fault and he’s glad that she’s dead went down well as did his description of Theresa May as a mangy barn owl Jim Henson creation. His political rhetoric is as well-researched as Peston and co which adds to the authentic feel of the character.
A look at Twitter provides a peek into Pie’s backstory as he sees that his ex-wife and child are having a great time with her new partner but he soon composes himself as he launches into Trump, the greatest gift for modern satirists. He’s a fan of political correctness but not how it’s been turned into the ‘Offended Olympics’ and delivered an incisive piece on racist language.
He’s called aside by an assistant to be told that someone has posted a clip of the show and browses through a wave of outrage on a ‘live’ Twitter feed that sees Mary Berry calling him a wanker and causing another perfectly executed meltdown.
This was a political comedy tour-de-force from a skilful, supremely talented character actor brave enough to tread on toes and test an audience’s moral compass. Long may he continue.
Brighton Dome Concert Hall, Saturday 3rd March 2018