Jonathan Pie comic: Having a pop at Brexit and Tory voters is 'gross'

Mocking Brexit and Tory voters is "gross", says Jonathan Pie actor Tom Walker - and a whole generation of comedians might soon have to find other things to joke about.

The comedian, whose career has grown with 14 years of Tory governments, admits much of his success has been down to Conservative chaos but accepts it's likely he'll soon have to turn on Keir Starmer.

Jonathan Pie is a satirical news correspondent who found success for his "off-air" moments in which the reporter rants about politics apparently without realising the camera is still rolling.

Pie's creator Walker, who is currently giving the Tories what could be his final kicking in a stage tour, spoke to ITV News about the future of UK politics, comedy and satire.

Can comedy survive a change in government?

Imagining a world where the Tories are not in power is hard for younger Britons, but for comedians like Walker, their livelihood could depend on it.

"Generally political satire seems to be from the left attacking the right," Walker told ITV News, adding that it "did kind of have a a dip during the Labour years".

But there isn't much sense in comedians only attacking the opposition, so if Labour wins this year's general election, Walker's character will have to pivot.

"It will be odd to see how Pie copes with a Labour government, because right now Pie wants a Labour government because that means the Tories are gone," Walker said.

"But the one thing I would say about Pie is the one thing that makes him more angry than the Tories is when his own side gets it wrong. So I think there's probably room for a month or so of jubilation that we've got rid of [Rishi Sunak], but I can't see him letting Starmer off the hook."

And, Walker says, "there's a very good chance we'll get another Trump presidency, so that will be something to go for".

The performer, who first went viral in a video mocking the media treatment of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn before moving onto Brexit, says Donald Trump was one of the keys to his success.

Listing the political events which have boosted his career, he said within a year of former prime minister David Cameron winning a majority, "suddenly Brexit happened and not long after that, suddenly Trump was a thing".

He says both of those have led people to become "more politically engaged because they want answers to those sorts of things".

"The more populism has become a thing, the more the reasonably minded of us politically have looked with with our jaws open at the phenomenon of Trump," he said, adding: "Yeah, Trump definitely helped my career. And I'm sorry for that."

Mocking Brexit and Tory voters is "gross"

The comedian says he's taken what could be his chance to attack the Tories in his Heroes & Villains tour, accepting that "if the polls are right, I might not have a live show about the Tories for another five, possibly ten years".

"So I really do give them both barrels, looking back at the 14 years of chaos and the next live show I do will no doubt be, hopefully, about a different government," he said.

But Walker says Pie never attacks voters, just the things they vote for.

Much of the show takes aim at right-wing politics, but Walker insists he does not want to exclude Conservative voters from enjoying it.

"I know a lot of reasonable natural Tory voters whose jaw is on the floor at the state of the party they would naturally vote for," he said, suggesting some people on the right might appreciate the show.

"I've never had a pop at a Brexit voter for being racist or stupid or thick. I find it gross... And I kind of feel that about Tory voters," he told ITV News, adding: "just hurling insults at the you're not going to win them over, are you?"

'The child of Alan Partridge and Malcolm Tucker'

Walker was an "out of work actor" for 20 years before taking "one final roll of the dice" to create the character Jonathan Pie.

While the character is not based on any reporter in particular, Walker says he was inspired by a clip of BBC newsreader Peter Sissons being rude about another presenter without realising he was still on air.

"But I think if you were to describe him comedically, the inspiration, he's sort of Alan Partridge mixed with Malcolm Tucker."

The premise was to perform a satirical take on what news reporters do in between bulletins and before long he went viral.

"I realised pretty quickly it was the politics that people were tuning in for - not so much the comedic conceit, but the the commentary in a way. So I kind of accidentally became a political satirist."

So does he really want the current situation to end?

"Yes, I do," he said. "Yes, I really do want the chaos of a Tory government to end."

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Jonathan Pie: Heroes & Villains is at The Duke of York's Theatre until Saturday, April 27.