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Stand-up comedy review: Mega-Richi’s Budget nightmare

It is every stand-up’s worst nightmare. You turn up for a booking and realise that the venue is a complete disaster. Theatre critic Philip Fisher gives the Chancellor’s humourless Budget performance a one-star review.
4th Mar 2021
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How would Chancellor Rishi Sunak fare as a stand-up comedian?

One star review

Mega-Richi Sunak is probably going through the phone book as this review is being written looking for a litigation solicitor so that he can sue his agent. Who in his right mind would book an aspiring stand-up, even with a growing fan base, into a crumbling 650-seat venue in Westminster when his likely audience cannot exceed 50?

Any competent agent would immediately have looked up the road at Trafalgar Studios and then only booked the 100 seat studio space, which Mega-Richi might just about have filled after concerted flyering on Whitehall and papering the house with family and friends.

History should have been a good indicator. Phil “the Ham” Hammond regularly died a death at the same podium, not helped by its location in the middle of the theatre rather than end-on. That can best be described as unfortunate but doesn’t compare with sad Sajid Javid who ducked his own opportunity to please this audience and was so discombobulated he hasn’t been heard from since.

More to the credit of the aforementioned booker, he or she did at least manage to get TV on board, though they could do no more than record an embarrassing failure to amuse in glorious Technicolor. It might also have been more appropriate to go for Nickelodeon or More 4 Extra Double Plus rather than the Parliament Channel.

In any event, fresh-faced Mega-Richi was always going to have a hard time. It is a well-known fact that the world does not like right-wing comedians. Primarily, this is because their jokes aren’t funny but it is also hard to empathise with someone who turns up in a royal blue Savile Row suit, Jermyn Street shirt and complementary Italian silk tie looking more like an investment banker or aspiring politician than a comic.

Has nobody told the smug wannabe jokester that he would be far better off modelling himself on the sartorial elegance favoured by the likes of Arthur Smith by wearing a beer-stained T-shirt bearing a political message (“Boris Must Go!”?) paired with some badly fitting, unwashed blue jeans?

So Mega-Richi was behind the eight-ball before he even stood up to begin his curtailed hour-long set. Rumours that he is teetotal were an additional turn-off, not to mention a 12.30 tee-time rather than the late-night slot favoured by seasoned pros.

Goodness knows who wrote his material but they should be going the same way as the agent.

It’s fair enough to observe that the audience at the performance on 3 March was particularly humourless, but then so were the jokes, never mind the delivery.

Any decent stand-up has been bred to understand that every third word should be obscene and, whatever your shtick, the topic that always sends an audience wild is what had better be referred to here as the “T” word.

For reasons that were unclear, Mega-Richi seemed intent on avoiding the “T” word. This evasion was a really big mistake and frankly should be outlawed.

If newspaper articles are to be believed (and that’s a funnier joke than anything that our budding stand-up managed to land), Mr and Mrs Mega-Richi have a personal problem with the “T” word, rarely allowing it to impinge on their lives. It is even rumoured that Mrs M-R only enjoys it overseas.

Considering how small the audience was in the Westminster venue, you have to admire Mega-Richi for persevering.

From the start, his jokes got very few laughs, which isn’t surprising when his finest effort relied on the hilarious proximity of Pudsey to Leeds.

Even those mild sniggers that did leak out seemed to come from loyal friends sitting on stage behind the aspiring superstar rather than the few paying members of the audience, who were intent on baying, neighing and desperately trying to stave off sleep rather than falling around in the aisles.

Rumour had it that most of them were only there to hear the main attraction, a Scottish comedienne with a growing reputation by the name of Anneliese Dodds, who must eventually have shown far more wit than her bland warm-up act, “Sucker” Starmer, though even he managed more laughs than Mega-Richi.

It always seems unfair to quote too many of comedian’s funniest jokes and in this case, it is impossible, since not a single one of them tickled this critic’s funny bone.

It is never much fun to give a one-star review to an ambitious, if talentless, stand-up but this one will at least be tempered with a little bit of what is supposed to be constructive advice.

Mega-Richi, mate, perhaps it’s time to think about a change of career. Have you ever thought about becoming Prime Minister?

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By mumpin
06th Mar 2021 20:24

"...a Scottish comedienne with a growing reputation by the name of Anneliese Dodds..."

Anneliese was a perpetual student who jumped onto the Brussels gravy train. Her supposed ability to be Chancellor of the Exchequer seems to be based on the fact that her father (a CIMA member in practice) ran a small accountancy practice in rural Scotland. Hopefully she never gets near the levers of power...

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Replying to mumpin:
Hallerud at Easter
09th Mar 2021 11:05

Somewhat harsh, three years in the EP, yes she has three degrees (Inc PPE Oxford) but that is normal for most people with a doctorate, the MSc seen as the stepping stone, and she also has seven years as a lecturer.

Her stint as shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury will also have been useful. To my eye she is as qualified to be Chancellor as most who have had the role, in fact better qualified than a fair few.

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