Comedy review: The Imperfect Guide to Picking the Perfect President

Written by Sebastian Whale on 20 October 2015 in Culture
Erich McElroy lampoons various Republican figures as he provides a guide to US politics

Some 13 months before the voting booths open, America’s presidential race is already well into its stride.

Britain’s ‘West Wing’ generation of politicos has long been curious about the USA’s political system – with some degree of envy, and some degree of sheer confusion.

So American comedian Erich McElroy, who moved to the UK 15 years ago, has formed a 50-minute routine formed to remove the obfuscation and illuminate what it takes to win the presidency in the United States.

McElroy makes no bones about being a Democrat. Consequently Republicans receive the sharpest tongue-lashings, token digs at vice-president Joe Biden and presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton aside. McElroy's chart detailing the positioning of parties jokingly sees the Republicans to the right of fascists.

Via a presentation McElroy takes his audience on a journey through calamitous political errors and seemingly unbelievable one-liners from would-be Republican presidential candidates on issues such as rape, homosexuality and abortion.

Faux pas from figures including Rick Perry and George W Bush all feature, alongside the expected attacks on Donald Trump, although the billionaire businessman emerges largely unscathed. Perhaps you could say Trump writes his own material.

McElroy possesses a charm that allows him to take aim at certain political groups and individuals while the audience remains on side. So Ukip are “like the KKK only less successful” and the Labour party are a lot like Coldplay – “great in 2000 but now they’re shit”. Chelsea fans beware also; at least three punchy gags are reserved for you.

The routine relies mainly on video segments of embarrassing errors by right-wing politicians – of which the hardened observer is likely to have seen already – as he gently guides his audience through a brief history of the worst the Republican party has to offer.

In that way it’s more of an amusing lecture than a piece of stand-up brilliance or incisive satire, but nonetheless for those with a particular political disposition it ticks a lot of boxes.


Erich McElroy will be hosting an event titled The Imperfect Guide to the Presidential Debates at the Top Secret Comedy Club in London. Buy tickets here.

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