Italy Elections: After Beppe Grillo And John O'Farrell, Other Comedians Who've Turned To Politics

Comedians Who've Turned To Politics

As Italy's election debacle thundered and Silvio Berlusconi unashamedly attempted to slither back into politics, a surprise victor stepped into the ring.

Comedian turned politician Beppe Grillo has emerged, unexpectedly triumphant, with his Five Star party looking set to become the biggest single party in Parliament's lower house.

For a campaign that started as little more than a joke three years ago, comparable to the team of Mock The Week forming a political party led by Frankie Boyle, to take 25.54 per cent of the vote was a considerable achievement.

Bushy-haired Beppe riling the crowds

Grillo's been poking fun at Italy's politicians for years, labelling former Prime Minister Mario Monti, "Rigor Montis" for his poker face and sending up Berlusconi for his sex life (to be fair, he hasn't been alone in this.) He shuns TV appearances and instead tweets, campaigns against corruption in person and writes on his blog, one of the most read in the country.

Many attribute the success of the long haired 64-year-old to Italians frustration with parliamentary corruption and out-of-touch attitude of the other candidates.

Satirist John O'Farrell wrote in May last year about the phenomenon of the comic turned politician. He writes "There is the 'Vote for me as a hilarious protest' candidacy, which is all very well for making a satirical point on election day, but doesn't help to hammer out that difficult budgetary allocation six months down the line.

"Then there is the satirist who is genuinely angry about injustice and the state of the government, but is prepared to put in the work doing all the boring stuff that change actually demands."

He should know. The author, broadcaster and comedy scriptwriter is now standing as a candidate for Labour in the most hotly anticipated contest this parliament has seen.

Another panellist he sat alongside during appearances on Have I Got News For You is now the Mayor of London, with Boris Johnson's bumbling charisma making him buck the Tory trend.

O'Farrell is not the only satirist who's turned his hand to politics, proving the accuracy of the old adage: "Well if you can't beat them, join them."

Eddie Izzard’s campaigned for Labour in the 2010 election, saying "the Tory party have changed their suits, but still don't believe in fairness, otherwise they wouldn't be in the Tory party".

Take a look through the list of other comedians who've turned to politics.


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