Keir Starmer likes to be prepared – but when he goes off-piste at PMQs it’s pure adrenaline

Sticking to a script is reassuring but last week the Labour leader was spontaneous and had his best showing by far, writes Katy Brand

Friday 19 November 2021 23:46
<p>Spontaneity is part of the fun and it’s what the audience responds to</p>

Spontaneity is part of the fun and it’s what the audience responds to

I wrote here a few weeks ago about Boris Johnson using all the tricks of the trade any jobbing stand-up comedian knows, and using them to great effect. Until of course the joke wears thin and we see the paucity of actual material.

In showbusiness, you tend to get found out in the end if there is literally nothing of substance there at all. A sparkling personality will get you some distance, but after that, at the risk of sounding like Joan Collins, “you have to put in the work, darling”.

So I was interested to apply some similar entertainment world principles to Keir Starmer, because why not? It’s literally the only thing I’m trained for. When I first started performing live comedy I always wrote myself a full script. I would print it off, learn it, put on a costume and a wig, and take to the stage in some underground comedy bunker that smelt strongly of urinals, feeling that I had done the requisite preparation to deserve a laugh or two from the crowd. So I was always tightly scripted and prepared. I never went “off piste”, as we say when we improvise. I felt I owed the paying audience a clear sign that I had done my homework.

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