jo brand's week

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The Independent Online
Look what's happened. A Labour landslide, goodbye to the Tories and the dawn of a new era, which leads me to wonder how comics are going to deal with the next five years and tackle the characters who will make up our new government. Well, many comics will be doing what they have always done, which is to ignore politics altogether. Popular television comedy these days, with the exception of a few like Rory Bremner and Mark Thomas, shies away from any political stance at all. The Day Today, Mrs Merton, French and Saunders and Alan Partridge all keep it shut as far as political opinion is concerned, which is probably why they are on big telly channels.

Over the last 12 billion years of a Tory government, we comics have been spoiled with a wealth of flawed characters, particularly male Tory MPs who have had difficulty attempting to keep their wallets or flies shut. David Mellor, Cecil Parkinson, Jerry Hayes and the like have all been very welcome grist to the comedy mill as the press has revealed indiscretion heaped upon indiscretion. This coupled with Back to Basics, which underlined splendidly the problems MPs had living up to the Victorian ethos of little Johnnie Major, have great comedy joy to many on the circuit.

And then, of course, there was the great she-devil herself, Mrs Thatcher, whose comedy potential can never be underestimated. Not only did she have no sense of humour, a complete inability to understand and empathise with the lives and minds of working people, she also had the comedy equivalent of the Adams Family at her side. Her ever increasing megalomania attended by the proper demon eyes, not ones that had to be invented by advertisers, was a true gift to many comics. Throughout the miners' strike and the Falklands, she popped up time and time again on the comedy circuit, whilst her son Mark became a by-word for getting lost and Denis replaced Oliver Reed as the comedy tippler.

Her replacement by John Major depressed quite a few comics. Apart from his rather strange upper lip arrangement, he did not offer the wealth of psychopathic personality traits that could be identified in La Thatcher. However, his voice is very easy to imitate and has therefore found a place in many comics' acts, even mine when I've had a few bevvies.

One should not forget, as well, the vast range of appalling Tory women who were ripe for a good ripping apart. From Ann Widdecombe to Lady Olga Maitland, there has seemed to be an endless stream of horsey, home counties types with hearts like ice ready to attack single mothers or any other group which has the temerity to appear in public minus its pearls and twin set. Add to that Theresa Gorman who appears to have some form of BSE following an overdose of HRT, and Edwina Currie, who thinks she is some sort of vamp that men yearn for, and you have an easy gang to attack.

So who have we got now? Some of us have been digging at Tony Blair for years already, targeting his fixed smile, inexorable shift to the right and shedding of socialism. This, I suspect, will continue, but as the Shadow Cabinet becomes the Cabinet, attention will focus more on those members of the party, who hitherto have managed to retain a fairly low profile. The pickings look slim.

Will there be an Alan Clark type living in a castle and nomping entire families of women? I think not. Can we expect to find some Labour MPs discovered in flagrante under the thigh-length boots of a dominatrix? Doubt it.

The thing about comedy, is that it thrives on the excesses of the human personality and there is not an awful lot to say about someone who is trustworthy , does their job properly, loves their husband/wife and doesn't take bribes. Labour may look like this now, but as we all know, there are few people in politics that haven't got something seriously wrong with them. In the meantime: HURRAH! a million times ... we've got rid of the bastards at last.