Rory Bremner’s backfiring joke on Tony Blair. But did Rory realise it?

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    8th April 2010

    I don’t expect  Rory Bremner saw the irony in his words here at The Telegraph:

    Rory Bremner on Tony Blair:

    “And then, luckily, he went mad. All the signs of lunacy were there – he started to talk in a more affected cockney way.”

    Lunacy? To talk like others? Mr Bremner, surely you jest? It’s the first sign of sanity, empathy, even humanity to put yourself in others’ positions. Newborns do it instinctively, mimicking expressions. As do parents burbling “ga-ga-ga-ga”, as they gaze lovingly at their tiny beloveds.

    Still … got to blame some other idiot for life’s disappointments. It’s the law.

    Mr Bremner does a good Blair, though.

    Tony Blair performs on Blame Academy (5:16)

    sparky79uk — 21 March 2007 — Tony Blair sings ‘Tragedy’ by the Beach Boys on Blame Academy for Politicians Relief! Thanks to Bremner, Bird, Fortune.

    More Bremner on Blair videos below here.

    All impressionists are in some ways slightly mad … er … odd … er, unusual. Bremner is the best at his art on any stage, mad, odd or not. Much like Blair in his chosen profession, the political stage.

    Since it’s kind of tough to understate how the disappointed seem to feel they have to feel about Tony Blair these days, I suppose “mad” is better than some other choice words. But worry not, Mr Bremner. I don’t really think you’re mad or even odd despite your spending your life behind others’ personas. Nor do I think Tony Blair is mad or odd because he identifies with people’s various ways of talking. At least it proves he’s listening. Isn’t that what we all want? Listening politicians?

    Anyway, Rory Bremner’s professional problem right now is that he looks at the current crop on offer and says “WHO?” And what’s more, so do the punters.  He can’t hope to raise a smile from his audience if they’re puzzled and confused. More from the Telegraph article – excerpts pasted below.

    As he begins his Election Battlebus tour, Rory Bremner despairs at the new generation of politicians with no personality.

    By Dominic Cavendish
    Bland leading the bland: the identikit politicians, David Miliband, Nick Clegg, David Cameron, George Osborne

    At the last general election, Rory Bremner went walkabout in character as the then Tory leader Michael Howard. He descended on Rushden, Northants, just before Howard was due to rally the party faithful, and pounded the pavements in his stead. Delivering tactless meet-and-greet patter in a silly wig and risible make-up, he managed to fool some plainly awestruck Conservative diehards – until the real deal showed up.

    It says quite a lot about David Cameron’s attributes that this time around, Bremner has no plans to repeat the prank in the guise of the Tories’ current top-dog. For a forthcoming trio of election specials for Channel 4, Britain’s leading political impressionist will make public appearances as Boris Johnson, William Hague and Gordon Brown. Yet that astonishing gift for transformation – honed since boarding-school days – has met its nemesis in the super-smooth form of “Call me Dave”.

    Backstage at Warwick Arts Centre, hours before unveiling his latest live show – Rory Bremner’s Election Battlebus Tour – the curly-haired comic shakes his head and groans. “When I heard about Cameron’s baby, I thought, ‘How far is Cameron going to go with his impression of Tony Blair?’ The way I do Cameron now is to cheat and say he’s doing a better Tony Blair than I do. I only do the Blair voice – he’s doing the whole career.”


    “Satire likes grotesques and extremes,” says Bremner. “You need characters to hang material on. And if the characters are dull, if everything is an amorphous mess, then you have a problem.”


    Suddenly, Bremner brightens. “I might be worrying unduly. I remember when Tony Blair came to power I said, ‘What am I going to do now?’ Then I realised that was exactly what Blair was thinking. So there was fun to be had with that. And then, luckily, he went mad. All the signs of lunacy were there – he started to talk in a more affected cockney way.”

    He speculates: “Maybe all that needs to happen is for the Tories to win, but for Cameron to lose his seat. Then they would have to appoint William Hague as prime minister.” He gives a cautious smile. “That would see me straight for another four or five years.” Dominic Cavendish


    Tony Blair sings “Things Can Only Get Better” (51 secs)

    Right, Gordon. We all noticed how things have only got better, without TB.

    Rory Bremner – Tony Blair Post Election (2:40)

    Not that I suggest he can “WOW”. No, never.

    Thanks Rory … and Tony. You’re the best.

    In your own inimitable ways.

    Back to top


    The Economist – like the rest it is slow to praise, quick to blame: Tony Blair’s “hammy gesture” seems to have been followed through, hasn’t it?


    ‘THE National Health Service was at or close to the top of public concerns in the past three elections. In a hammy gesture on the eve of the 1997 poll, Tony Blair claimed that voters had just 24 hours to save the NHS. Thirteen years and many billions of pounds later, there are still big concerns about the quality of health care in Britain, though the economy has given voters something even bigger to worry about.

    But if debate on the NHS seems oddly muffled it is because there is rough consensus about its immediate future (in England, that is, because devolved regions are free to do things differently). David Cameron has done his utmost to appear its friend. Although the Tories want to make changes, they will be in the direction favoured by Tony Blair of fostering competition to improve service. Whoever wins, the NHS will remain free at the point of use and financed by taxes. The state will still pay for over 80% of all spending on health care.’

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    One Response to “Rory Bremner’s backfiring joke on Tony Blair. But did Rory realise it?”

    1. Tony Blair says: we CAN win ‘the fight of our lives’ « Tony Blair Says:

      […] Tony Blair « Rory Bremner’s backfiring joke on Tony Blair. But did Rory realise it? […]

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