Rob Gilroy

Satire and Piggate

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Following on from last week’s piece about the death of comedy, I thought I’d talk a bit about satire.

Quite apt, on a week where the Prime Minister of Great Britain was outed as some sort of pork-obsessed necrophiliac. I mean, as news stories go, that ones a bit of a doozy.

I can’t imagine this story past you by, but if it did, then a respected and by no means bitter Tory peer, revealed that there was an incident in David Cameron’s student past, where the now-PM was seen inserting his penis in the mouth of a dead pig. It was played as some sort of archaic and elitist initiation ceremony, not inappropriate behaviour at the deli counter.

Let’s just take that in for a moment, the man in charge of leading this country to economic recovery and a more prosperous future, has allegedly been unmasked as some sort of porky tea-bagger. A satirists’ job has seldom been this easy.

But, when it comes to satire, is this pokey-in-a-pig scandal really that rich? The best topical jokes build on a story, expanding and exaggerating it until the sheer sense of the ridiculous can’t be topped. But if a world leader is caught schtupping a farmyard animal, surely you’ve put the pig before the ginnel, if you catch my drift?

In the past, I’ve been in a fortunate position to write topical gags for radio and TV, and in that time there have been some great stories coming out of Number 10 (‘Coming out of Number 10’ being the name given to the sex act David forced on Piglet). But almost always, the more ridiculous the story, the harder it is to make jokes about. You can’t lampoon a comedy – just ask the guys behind The Hungover Games.

The question seems to be: if a political scandal is so sublimely unbelievable – such as this incident in which an old Etonian is embroiled in pork-based buggery

– Does that mean comedians should leave it alone? Is the story working hard enough as it is, that we can take the week off?

It’s not as if we’re bereft of hammy humour. You only need to look at Twitter to see a constantly rejuvenating torrent of pig innuendos. Just as one joke starts to go stale – not unlike the porky corpse our leader allegedly dry humped – a fresh take bursts on to your timeline, defibrillating our boredom with the subject.

Due to a well-deserved lie in, I didn’t really engage with the story on Twitter. By the time I’d logged in, it was 10am and already there’d been a cacophony of jokes about porcine-poking, bacon-wrapped sausages and ham rolls. It was like waking up to the long-mooted David Lynch/A Private Function remake. I could neither think of anything new to add, nor deny the hunger that was growing inside me. (Not a veiled joke at the expense of DC’s pulsating member.)

If the vast majority of the public are getting in on the craic-ling, then is there any point professional joke makers jumping on the bandwagon? Well, yes there is. Admittedly, there are pitfalls to making jokes about a topical subject that are already well worn – again not a reference to the effects of a toffs cock on a pig’s tongue – but that just means comedians should strive for a fresher, better class of joke.

It’s easy to think a well-trod subject is best avoided, but like the Findus scandal before it, the number of people talking and joking about it, means it’s captured the publics imagination. Comedians shouldn’t ignore that. So, if they want to talk about the Conservative Bigwig sticking his horsey mean in a pig’s crispy pancakes, they should. Hopefully, they’ll find something fresh to say about it.

There’s always going to be low-hanging fruit, in this case Tory plums in a pig’s pork chops, but we should always be looking for the new angel, the definitive take on that thing people know well. To stay clear of a subject because others are joking about it is to shirk our responsibility.  We should stand tall and crack gags with the best of them. If politicians fall on their own pork sword, we should at least be able to drive it home.

After all, it’s not everyday the PM fucks a pig.