‘It’s not hard to be a political humorist when you have the whole government working for you’
In his new book, humorist Andy Borowitz has a quote from satirist Will Rogers. There’s no trick to being a political humorist when you have the whole government working for you, Rogers once said.
Now, Rogers has been dead some 90 years. But it’s fair to say those who have followed in his wake, including Mr Borowitz, enjoy much the same advantage.
For, politicians often take absurdity to crazy limits, thereby offering rich material to humorists.
And it’s not just America’s humorists who are so privileged in their pickings. Britain’s new government is giving the country’s humorists a wealth of material even as it makes the country poorer.
Bear in mind that today’s humorists go beyond the traditional definition of humorous writer, performer, or artist, someone who makes their living from trading in verbal dexterity, puns, sharp takes and one-liners.
Today, there are professional comedians and then there are the Twitterati, people who don’t necessarily use humour as an economic resource.
So, Ed Luce, the Financial Times’ US-based British writer, served up a deliciously wry definition of Trussonomics on Twitter: “A pattern of thinking by people who have no clue what they’re doing.”
It’s subtly funny, just enough for your lips to twitch.
A musician in southeast England, with the Twitter handle @jasemonkey tweeted a hilarious video of Liz Truss driving a 1920s, Model T-type car and failing to take care as she reaches a dirt hump. She ploughs on with force but then gets into a right strop as the car disintegrates and Ms Truss falls to the ground. Above the video ran the line: “Actual footage of Liz Truss crashing the economy. #economy #LizTruss #KwasiKwarteng”
But perhaps the best was @leannedunks, who tweeted a screenshot of someone’s theory of trickledown economics, a la Librium Liz and Kamikwasi Kwarteng, who’ve put cash into the pockets of millionaires and City of London bankers.
If the image doesn’t appear, here’s the text of the tweet: “I saw a homeless guy and I felt bad for him. So I did what I think any of us would do – drove to a nearby affluent area, found the biggest, nicest house and put a tenner through their letter box. You mark my words, before long that money will trickle down to the homeless guy.”
Perhaps Rogers was right after all. It’s not hard to be a political humorist when you have the whole government working for you.