re John Cleese and imperialist humour

James Daly james.irldaly at
Wed May 28 08:51:14 MDT 2003

My thanks to Lou for letting me down so lightly. I was beginning to
think I would have to pack my bags, by public acclaim.

I should point out that I spoke in my first sentence on the thread of
"a team of *social* chauvinists" (emphasis added). This only adds to
the smugness with which they view the rest of the world. Some listers
have referred to differences in the politics of individual members of
Python.  But the politics of the SDP were those of Blair, in
preparation for whom the SDP held onto the right.

I hadn't thought of comparing them to Evelyn Waugh or V. S. Naipaul.
But I often contrast them in my mind with the ultra-brilliant but also
politically faultless comedy of the TV political impersonator Rory
Bremner, who is probably not seen outside Britain and Ireland, but who
for decades has been the one-man and formidable opposition to Blair
and New Labour. He has built up his team, Bremner, Bird and Fortune,
with others such as Annette Crosbie who does a wonderful Queen
Elizabeth. There's comedy which comforts the afflicted and afflicts
the comfortable, and which does inspire the hope and bonding which
several contributors to the thread have urged is so precious.

To join with those who have reminisced about good comedic moments, one
of my favourites was on another probably untravelled programme, "Have
I Got News for You". The supercilious snooty compere Angus Deayton
conjures up the image of a hypothetical but typical Irishman "with a
pig under his arm". His teammate Paul Merton protests, and a genuinely
surprised Deayton inquires haughtily "Well isn't that what you think
of when you think of an Irishman?" His little teammate on the other
side Ian Hislop (of Private Eye) interrupts devastatingly. "I've never
seen an Irishman with a pig under his arm, but I've seen a pig with an
Irishman under his arm. He was a member of the East Midlands crime
squad". (Their custodial exploits had been in the news for some time).


James Daly

More information about the Marxism mailing list