Can Brexit be funny?

Is Brexit actually funny? Or is it possibly one of the unfunniest things that has ever happened? Viv Groskop ponders the question ahead of her Fringe show

Brexit has the potential to be hilarious. It has to. It’s the biggest political unravelling in our lifetime, rich in ruined careers, humiliating climbdowns and spectacular u-turns.

Given time (because, of course, comedy is tragedy plus time) Brexit: The Musical has all the makings of a 21st century version of Mel Brooks’ Springtime for Hitler but with Kwik Fit fitters instead of goat herds in lederhosen.

Certainly for a while, for comedians Brexit was spectacularly unfunny. If you listen very carefully, you can hear a scrunching noise. It’s the post-Brexit sound of hundreds of comedians screwing up the scripts they’ve been working on for months.

Thanks, politicians. You’ve messed up a load of things. But most importantly of all, you have messed up a load of Edinburgh shows and wasted hundreds of carefully crafted gags. Where are your priorities?

Now it’s a reality, there is an obligation to make it funny, even if it makes you want to cry, which Bridget Christie has openly said it did. She has started her show again from scratch.

‘This is the summer for political comedy’

Tom Crawshaw’s play Boris: World King suddenly looks like a dangerously moveable feast. Spoof news reporter Jonathan Pie (played by actor Tom Walker) says he’s had to rewrite over a third of his show, which was previously a showdown between Cameron and Osborne. (Who they?)

Some, meanwhile, must be counting their blessings. This is surely going to be one of the biggest summers for political comedy in a long time.

Matt Forde is hedging his bets with this show blurb: “Why it’s great/awful that we’re in/out of the EU/UK/NATO/whatever the hell happens next.”

Political commentator Steve Richards is perhaps in the best position of all with four decades of parliamentary reporting to call on for his show Rock n’ Roll Politics: always on top of the situation, his material changes daily.

But how on earth is anyone meant to joke about any of this stuff when it all feels like such a big joke on all of us? And I mean that for Leavers as much as I mean it for fellow crybaby Remainiacs.

Because whatever you voted for or against, we weren’t all voting for or against the same things and no-one really knows what exactly is on offer. And it may well turn out we all voted for (or against) something that is not going to happen in the way anyone intended it.

That in itself is laughable.

Viv Groskop’s show Be More Margo is at The Stand from 4-28 Aug at 5.55pm:


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