Stephen Pound MP, Backstage Comedy Club, London
Monday 27 September 2010
While luminaries such as Dustin Hoffman have graced the upstairs restaurant of Cafe Koha, the basement, where the Backstage Comedy Club is housed, is becoming synonymous with hosting political comedy freakshows.
In June, ex-Lib Dem MP Lembit Opik, fresh from losing one of the party's safest seats, performed a rather self-aware speech-cum-stand-up set there – and tonight it's the turn of the more naturally witty Labour MP for Ealing North, Stephen Pound.
Pound, who was present for Opik's gig and enjoys the favour returned tonight, opened his account by assuring us that he was only in for a penny, that this was the first, only, and last time he would "sink to such appalling depths". Though I recall he has performed at a charity night before, he's clearly being more honest than Opik was about his intentions.
Sartorially correct in a suit and tie, the opposition MP, who resembles the "evil" twin of Vince Cable, took the Pope's visit as his first target. A Catholic, Pound echoes a popular line doing the rounds about the Popemobile: "Nothing says 'I have faith in God' like four inches of bulletproof glass."
Pained by the economic downturn, Pound says he's taken to shopping in Lidl, who sell Korean meatballs that are "the dogs bollocks" and to parking in disabled spots, claiming, profanely, that his disability is Tourette's. This traditional stock fare would have gone down well in the working men's clubs of old, so perhaps Pound is the man to reconnect his party with its roots.
Pound draws on his own experience for material only in the sense of scene-setting. Among various capers related to trips to the former USSR, Pound describes how he was offered an AK47 in Ukraine as a souvenir and is only persuaded to try and get it through customs to use against the French, after umming and ahhing about using against the Americans.
When canvassing for laughs, and not votes, notions like entente cordiale and the special relationship are not politic. Moreover, like many a policy document, the content of Pound's act may be largely recycled – but the delivery of the message is at least professional.
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
- 2 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 3 Amber Peat: Body found in search for missing 13-year-old who left house after argument with her parents
- 4 Gay teenager 'forced to have sex with his own mother' to 'cure' his homosexuality, campaigners in India say
- 5 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
Game of Thrones season 6: George RR Martin doing 'anything he can' to get new book The Winds of Winter out before next HBO series airs
Game of Thrones, Battle of Hardhome: 20-minute Wildlings versus White Walkers battle took a 'solid month' to film
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 9, The Dance of Dragons: Jon Snow returns to The Wall after epic Battle of Hardhome
Touch-screen Teletubbies say hello: Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po are back, now with smart technology
Black Angel: Long lost Star Wars precursor to be made into crowdfunded feature film
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers