November 17th, 2019

(no subject)

Olga Koch in the Now Show on BBC radio 4 (starting at 18:20).

Two things. First, her comedic persona is still largely built upon her Russian heritage — most of her monologue is in one way or another about Russia. This is very typical of modern comedy (build upon your identity, etc.) and, I think, is a weakness. You can gauge by how many of the audience join in the laughter about her Russian jokes (compared to her jokes about Britain or about sex) that Russia isn’t really on the top of their minds. Some Russia-related gags receive a rather cautious polite laughter.

Which is a bit of a shame, because some of her non-Russian jokes are pretty clever:

  • for most British politicians, digital interference is something they fondly remember happening at boarding school [expects audience to know the latin/anatomical meaning of digital]

  • [polycystic ovarian syndrome] comes in a whole smorgasbord of different symptoms: you grow a mustache, you gain weight, you get really horny, you get weird ideas like starting a new religion — you become Henry VIII [expects audience to remember what they were taught at school about xvi-century history]

  • don't be scared that Russian interference will get one candidate more votes, be scared that Russian election interference will get every candidate precisely 69 percent of the vote, and the yougov website will suddenly display in comic sans [fewer people laughed at the 69 percent of the vote, which should have particularly appealed to redditors, than at the comic sans]