Kae Kurd: Comedians must be quicker to cope with our crazy politics

Written by Kae Kurd on 20 July 2017 in Opinion

As the Edinburgh Fringe approaches comics' topical jokes are out of date as soon as they think of them

With the madness and sheer chaos of the political climate across the world you often wonder is there even a need for satire in 2017. Anytime I turn on the TV or log on to Twitter I think we’re stuck in an episode of “The Thick of It” or “Black mirror”, such is the surreal nature of events.

Just when you think it can’t get any more absurd than this, something else pops up out of nowhere to shift the Overton window of nonsense even wider. It makes life even harder as a comedian that is interested in current affairs and likes writing topical material when the so-called leader of the free world goes on twitter rants at 4am.

With 24-hour news cycles and social media, jokes can become old before you’ve even penned them! It was something that I was very conscious of this year when writing my Edinburgh show.

When I sat down to think about the topics that I wanted to explore within my show it did cross my mind that events could change the narrative of the jokes or they simply wouldn’t be relevant come the festival. I had to ensure that any theme that was remotely topical had to be approached in a way that was personal to me. This works in a festival environment where everyone has roughly an hour to pontificate on stage or tell their stories but where does it leave things like TV?

We’ve had a rich culture of satire in this country and being able to criticise our political parties, our government and political institutions without any repercussions. This is something to be celebrated and continued and we’ve been leading the way with programmes like “Have I Got News for You?” And “Mock the Week” and more recently “Frankie Boyle’s New World Order” and “The Last Leg”. Though given the amount of news we’re bombarded with and such fast paced events it all seems a lot to cover in a short 30-minute to an hour slot once a week.

I think this is where we can take a lot of influence from our American counterparts and use online mediums in order to be a lot more reactive in comedy to such a volatile political atmosphere. It’s often been cited that budget issues and resources just aren’t available or us to have our own version of a show “The Daily Show”. Trevor Noah and his team of writers and correspondents dissect the news on a daily basis and creative funny and engaging content.

I think we definitely can have our own version and in our own very British way without the grandeur and fireworks that comes with American television. We don’t need flashy lights and sparkles and suits all we need is a bloke with a microphone, jokes and a shed. Not only is there an appetite for it, but I think it’d also be incredibly cathartic for the writers and performers as well as being the perfect antidote to balancing out the constant chaos and anxiety we feel with every news update.

What better medicine is there than laughter?


Kae Kurd: Kurd Your Enthusiasm is on at 5.30pm at Pleasance Courtyard- Bunker 2 throughout August as part of Edinburgh Fringe Festival

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