It’s time for a sharp exit af­ter Boris re­mark on elec­tion night


Sud­denly I was sat on live tele­vi­sion and I didn’t re­ally know what to do

IWAS on STV’s elec­tion cov­er­age the other night, and I called Boris John­son a rep­tile on live TV.

On the drive home, the taxi driver asked me, “Were you on at the elec­tion show?” and I was like, “Aye.”

“What party do you work for?” he asked me.

“None of them,” I said. “I don’t re­ally know why I was there.”

I still don’t know, re­ally. Why do co­me­di­ans get put on these pro­grammes?

The lovely and kind Rona Dougall was host­ing, and she gave me a great in­tro­duc­tion: “Here’s an up-and-com­ing co­me­dian, Christo­pher Macarthur-Boyd! What did you think about the lead­ers on the elec­tion trail, then?”

Un­til a few min­utes ago, I’d been sit­ting in the green room with a bunch of young po­lit­i­cal ac­tivists. It’s in­cred­i­bly strange to find your­self slouched in a faux-ca­sual couch-based set-up with the Young Scot­tish Tories of To­mor­row; glassy-eyed man­nequin boys with poor fash­ion senses and hor­rific ideals.

A pubescent man among them said he was a LibDem cam­paigner, but would have voted for Rory Ste­wart if he was the Tory Leader. He was wear­ing Clarks-style black leather slip-ons, beige an­kle socks and he had a sur­pris­ingly good hair­cut. I hated him.

Then, sud­denly, I was sat on live tele­vi­sion and I didn’t re­ally know what to do.

“Well, some peo­ple say that com­edy is tragedy plus time,” I sput­tered. “We’ve had the tragedy hap­pen tonight, so I sup­pose we just need to wait un­til it’s funny.”

Over on Chan­nel 4, they had an Al­ter­na­tive Elec­tion show that was choc full of co­me­di­ans. Big­time names like Nish Ku­mar and Katherine Ryan. But what were the co­me­di­ans there for? They’re there to make peo­ple laugh, in the­ory. But what can a raised eye­brow and a pithy ironic one-liner do in the face of the ris­ing tide of rightwing English na­tion­al­ism? It doesn’t re­ally seem ap­pro­pri­ate.

I ac­tu­ally felt re­ally bad for Nish when I watched the Al­ter­na­tive Elec­tion show. He was shar­ing a panel with Boris John­son’s dad, and the old guy was hit­ting out with some ridicu­lous non-sequitur about how fighter pi­lots shouldn’t wear hi­jabs. Nish had to be the sane voice of rea­son, which seems like an odd role for a stand-up co­me­dian.

The STV elec­tion show had a bit of a dif­fer­ent feel, as the Scot­tish cov­er­age was a bit less about the slaugh­ter of Labour and a bit more about the land­slide ma­jor­ity of the SNP.

Along with the Young Scot­tish Tories of To­mor­row, there was a Labour cam­paigner in the STV green room too. He was a heavy­set guy with a North­ern English ac­cent wear­ing a track­suit, and he tried to give the Tory boys a bit of cheek for laugh­ing about the re­sults of the exit polls.

“This isn’t like t’football to me, where your team has won and mine has lost,” he said to them in­cred­i­bly earnestly. “This is my class on the line, here: the work­ing class. Peo­ple are go­ing to die.”

I agreed with him ide­o­log­i­cally, but his solemn procla­ma­tion re­ally put a damp­ener on my rapid ner­vous con­sump­tion of com­pli­men­tary snacks that were on dis­play.

“What did you think about Boris in the fridge?” asked Rona, al­lud­ing to when John­son re­treated into an in­dus­trial freezer to es­cape a po­ten­tial live in­ter­view with Piers Mor­gan on Good Morn­ing Bri­tain the night be­fore.

“Well, he went in a fridge, didn’t he?” I said. “That’s what hap­pened. He went in a fridge. I didn’t know cold-blooded crea­tures could go in fridges. You put an iguana in a fridge, it’ll die. The guy is a rep­tile.”

I think that threw Rona a wee bit. Her eyes widened, and she said, “Oh, you can’t say that!” and then the at­ten­tion shifted from me to some other folk that needed in­ter­view­ing.

I would like to clar­ify that by call­ing Boris John­son a rep­tile, I wasn’t al­lud­ing to the Ick­eian con­spir­acy the­ory that the planet is gov­erned by a new world or­der of shapeshift­ing lizard­men. I sim­ply meant that I thought our new prime min­is­ter was cold-blooded and cal­cu­lat­ing.

Min­utes later, I was shep­herded out of the STV build­ing on Pa­cific Quay and ush­ered into the taxi to take me home. I felt quite numb about the whole thing. What was the point in it? Why was I there?

A pal of mine ripped the footage from the chan­nel’s on­line player and up­loaded it to Twit­ter, and the clip of the rep­tile footage got a few views, and I got a few fol­low­ers out of it. Peo­ple thought it was funny, so… job done. I think.

It’s prob­a­bly counter-in­tu­itive ca­reer-wise to say this, but I don’t think co­me­di­ans should be on pro­grammes like that. There are some knowl­edge­able co­me­di­ans – Frankie Boyle, for in­stance – who be­long there, but not me.

I see my role as a co­me­dian is to of­fer a dis­trac­tion to peo­ple from the re­lent­less hor­ror of their dayto-day ex­is­tence.

I’m go­ing to try and write some bet­ter jokes, be­cause it seems like we’re go­ing to need some laughs in the years ahead.

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