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I agree that Boris Johnson probably initially got invited on to HIGNFY (Have I got news for you) just to laugh at him. In recent years they have invited another Conservative MP with some of the characteristics of Boris, Jacob Rees-Mogg, on to HIGNFY probably just to laugh at him as well. The only Conservative MP I can think of who managed to get an easy ride on HIGNFY was the gay MP Alan Duncan. Duncan used to be treated almost as though he was a Lib Dem MP, but after the expenses scandal where it emerged that he was a keen advocate of MPs receiving generous expenses to supplement their income, HIGNFY turned on him and he stopped going on the show.
The Boris Johnson case shows how influential on British politics the HIGNFY programme is. Pretty much on the basis of just a few memorable comedic performances on HIGNFY, Boris has managed to make himself popular enough with the public to get himself elected as the Mayor of London, and has kept Ken Livingstone out of office for years.
But the treatment that UKIP gets from HIGNFY, and from comedy panel shows and stand-up comedians in general, is far worse than what gets dished out to the Conservatives. David Cameron has re-positioned the Conservatives effectively as a Metropolitan Liberal party, and that must have reduced the flak that they receive from the comedians quite a bit.
To give an idea of what UKIP has to put up with from HIGNFY, consider this blog post from the "Is the BBC biased" blog:
The above blog post refers to an episode of HIGNFY where Nigel Farage appeared on the show, a few weeks before UKIP's triumph in the 2014 European elections. HIGNFY seemed to be on a mission to stop UKIP coming first in the elections, with anti-UKIP bias prominent in all the episodes leading up to the election.
Another attack on UKIP from a comedian emerged last week, where Alastair Murray, who performs as a stand-up comedy character called "The Pub Landlord", announced he is going to set up a party and stand against Farage in the forthcoming UK General Election.
Murray is one of the many British graduate comedians who doesn't act like he is one, and he is standing for the Free UK Party (FÙKP) which has an upside down pound sign logo.
I've got a feeling that Murray is going receive a much greater amount of publicity in the next few months than celebrities who stand as candidates in elections normally get. I noticed today that the headline of the online edition of The Independent is an interview with the Pub Landlord.
"Actually, one of the victims here would seem to be comedy itself because so many of these "comedians" are actually, from my own preferences, rather less than funny."
I looked around for a list of the UK's current top comedians, and found an article by the Daily Mirror which has a relatively recent list of the UK's twenty highest earning comedians:
A major limitation with the list is that it only includes comedians who have set up their own companies, which results in their finances being visible in the public domain. A lot of comedians, possibly the majority, don't do this. As might be expected, tax dodger comedian Jimmy Carr makes sure his finances are not visible in the public domain.
On the list I would only regard a few as being even mildly amusing. The two frontrunners, Peter Kay and Michael McIntyre, I don't find funny at all - their style seems to me to be a highly observational form of observational comedy, but to their credit they don't seem to do much political material, and I think Kay has never appeared on a comedy panel show. The least funny comedian in the UK (in my opinion) is the man at 19th on the list, Marcus Brigstocke, whose act consists almost entirely of political material. Brigstocke was once described by a radio critic (ironically working for the left wing magazine New Statesman) as being "the unfunniest àrse in the universe".
Another thing you can pick up from that list is that the comedy panel shows are a bit misleading - many people watching these shows might think that comedians like Frankie Boyle, Sean Lock, Jason Manford and Sarah Millican are representative of the hoi polloi, whereas they are actually millionaires.