In a Word. . . Comedian

Photograph: Getty Images

Photograph: Getty Images

 

I’m in the wrong business. Maybe not. Who wants to be a president or prime minister, after all? Or be in love? The latter is for fairytales; the former? It can be the stuff of nightmares, a roller-coaster of horrors.

But first, the love bit. How many times have you read partners in happy relationships explain their success with the line “. . . he made/makes me laugh”. And, generally, it tends to be “he”, as this explanation is mostly offered by women.

Though I did hear a man once say after his honeymoon that it was the best fun he ever had without laughing! No explanation necessary, though it underlines another difference between the sexes. Women, it seems, like to laugh while men are busying themselves elsewhere!

Away from the private domain, have you noticed the remarkable success of comedians in the very public political world over recent years? It seems that everywhere you look these days clowns are being elected to high office, literally.

There is comedian Giuseppe Piero “Beppe” Grillo in Italy, referred to as “the Clown Prince of Italian politics” and leader of the Five Star Movement which he founded in 2010. By 2013 it had secured 25.5 per cent of the vote, making it the second largest party in that country.

It is currently part of Italy’s coalition government.

Clown

In Slovenia, satirist Marjan Sarec was elected prime minster last August while in Guatemala comedian Jimmy Morales is now president. In Iceland standup comedian Jón Gnarr was Reykjavik’s mayor until 2014.

But what of Ukrainian comedian Volodymyr Zelensky who was elected president last May with a colossal 73.22 per cent of the vote? Breathtaking.

Meanwhile there’s Donald Trump seemingly headed for a second term as president of the US while, nearer home, we await the arrival at Number 10 Downing St of Boris Johnson, the most popular clown among Britain’s Tories.

And here we are stuck in the middle with Leo, Micheál, Brendan, and Mary Lou! Where did it all go wrong?

Maybe we should be grateful. Anyone for the last few comedians then? Tommy Tiernan for taoiseach, anyone? Pat Shortt? Deirdre O’Kane?

And to think that George Bernard Shaw once said Ireland was the largest open-air lunatic asylum in the world! What ever happened to us at all?

Comedian from Middle French comédien; from Latin comoedia, and Greek komoidia.

inaword@irishtimes.com

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