Russell Brand may have fascist leanings, is the verdict of fellow comedian Al Murray.
In an interview with Spiked, Al Murray opines that Russell's mission of influencing people not to vote "isn't far off a fascist idea".
He adds, "That’s not his intention, obviously. He’s trying to show the powers-that-be. But fascists are very keen on people not voting. I’m not calling him a fascist there, by the way.’
Murray goes on to reflect on the trend towards political comedy, insisting that comedians who nail their political colours to the mast "aren't doing their job properly".
"I mean that from a plague-on-all-their-houses point of view," he explains.
"When I first came out with that" – reflecting on an interview he gave to the Independent last year – "it got thrown back at me as me saying I think comedians shouldn’t have opinions. That’s the exact opposite of what I meant – we should entertain all opinions and run them all down."
One of the biggest stars at this year's Edinburgh Fringe, playing no less than three shows for top Edinburgh theatre Assembly, Murray gives short shrift to those who complain about the 'commercialisation' of the Fringe...
"There’s this peculiar doublethink about the Edinburgh Fringe, which is that it has got too big and too commercial, at the same time... You can still cross the street and see something that’s completely amazing that there wouldn’t be room for if the Fringe wasn’t so big. Its expansion has also broadened your possibilities."
Murray is just as unimpressed when it comes to the critics who say his infamous Pub Landlord character is encouraging bigotry.
"When people say “you shouldn’t be doing this act because you’re encouraging a certain way of thinking”, I think: f**k off, don’t be daft, everyone’s a grown-up around here."
Snobbery towards working-class comics and audiences is, Murray notes, something which runs back to the birth of modern comedy itself.
"I’ve always thought the idea that there was a satire boom in the Sixties was really interesting. Because Spike Milligan had been satirising postwar Britain – rationing, the military, the war – for decades, but because he did it with silly voices, on radio, with people falling over, and because he was blue collar, he’s never described as a satirist.
"I love Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, but they were seen as legit, because they were from the establishment, in a way 'The Goon Show' wasn’t. I always think, could we sort our labels out or just admit that what we mean is that satire is white collar and piss-taking is blue collar?"