Star comedy caricatures Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, who’ve been pretending to be MPs for the last 20 years, want to showcase their bumbling politician act in front of a wider audience.
The gruesome twosome say they’ve achieved all they can in the limited world of political satire and want to break through into mainstream show business by appearing on Britain’s Got Talent.
It means a new phase in their unexpectedly successful act as a couple of incompetent idiots who, through a series of bizarre coincidences, stumbled their way to the top of British government.
The pair first met when they were just budding comedians at Oxford University more than 30 years ago. Johnson said: “We were both doing individual stand up acts at the time. Mine was based on a kind of village idiot. My signature gag was breaking wind in time to French national anthem, in between telling sexist jokes and insulting foreigners but Michael was a bit more political and cerebral.
We modelled our act on the Chuckle Brothers
“Cerebral maybe,” added Gove, “but not getting too many laughs. The truth is we were both struggling to break through until inspiration hit us when we saw the Chuckle Brothers at a comedy club.
“They just blew us away with their mix of bumbling incompetence combined ridiculous statements and we thought, what if we could take that kind of lunacy but put it in a satirical political setting?”
Johnson takes up the story. “We tried it a few Conservative clubs that had a soft spot for talentless posh boys and the audience loved it. We bumbled along and even did a pastiche of the Chuckles Brothers sketch ‘to me, to you’ with us both pretending to offer the other one the job of Prime Minister before stabbing each other in the back…that always went down a storm.”
Gove added; “We then started playing more and more to our audience, which being Conservative clubs was obviously very right wing. Boris told a lot of his racist and sexist stuff while I pretended to be a snowflake leftie who cared about the environment.
“Before long, the act developed into us being two ‘young fogie’ right wing MPs who adored Margaret Thatcher and hated the EU.”
We tried to outdo each other with ludicrous statements
A fleeting glimpse of nostalgia flashed across Johnson’s face as he recalled those heady days. “I started making up the most ludicrous things I could think of to slag off the EU, you know, nonsense about straight bananas and the like. The audience lapped it up and so I gave them more and more of what they wanted.
“Well, things just sort of snowballed from there and got out of hand. The next thing you know, people think we really are MPs and then, I don’t quite how this happened, but we discovered we actually were MPs and had to do grown up things like run the country.
“Well, old Gove took to it reasonably well but I couldn’t be bothered…reading all those government papers…frightfully dull.”
Gove may have had a hint of a frown or a touch of regret as he added. “The trouble is that we were in too deep. People were actually believing what we were saying and we didn’t know how to end it…maybe we didn’t really want to end it. The money as a government minister was way above what we were getting in the clubs and you know, we’re only human, there was a lot of prestige involved.
We couldn’t stop lying…there was no way out
Johnson added: “Yes, it all became a bit addictive. The lies became like drugs. I was telling dozens every day. Before you know it, I’m telling people we should leave the EU. Honest, it was supposed to be part of our comedy routine but our fans took it seriously.”
Gove added: “We tried to outdo each other with ludicrous statements in the hope that people would realise we were only joking. Remember, I said we should stop listening to experts; Boris wrote that stuff on the bus about giving more money to the NHS. We’re Conservatives for goodness sake. How could anyone believe Conservatives wanted to give more money to the NHS…but they did, nothing was too ridiculous for them.”
“Partly I hated myself but partly I loved the whole thing,” Johnson admitted. “The easy power and easy prestige. But then when we actually left the EU, when personally I think it’s the best thing ever in European history, it was time to stop the political act and try something new.”
That new direction will see Gove and Johnson abandon their political personas and reinvent themselves as a Chuckle Brothers tribute act. They’ll launching the new show with a national tour to coincide with their appearance on the first episode of Britain’s Got Talent later in the year.