Brexit 'fireworks' give comics rich pickings at Edinburgh

Thu Aug 18, 2016 11:23am EDT
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By Elisabeth O'Leary

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - For comics at this year's Edinburgh festival, Britain's vote to leave the European Union has been a blessing and a curse.

"I would like to thank the political establishment for giving me the opportunity of rewriting this script every ... day," jokes Matt Forde at the start of his show.

Like countless other stand-ups in Edinburgh - the annual career-defining showcase for comic talent - Forde had to rewrite his routine after the June 23 Brexit vote left him with a torrent of rich new material.

The pace of surprising events - including the resignation of prime minister David Cameron and the disintegration of the opposition Labor Party - has kept comics on their toes.

"It was a fireworks display of news, it was like 'What's this? Who's resigned? What's going on?' And the public felt exactly the same. I remember thinking: 'I can get a lot out of this!'" Forde told Reuters.

Brexit has posed unsettling questions about nationalism, democracy and tolerance, with a rise in hate crime in the vote's immediate aftermath.

Forde explores the divisions - often along class lines - that the referendum laid bare, joking that the British are now all "Brexit racists", able to recognize "leavers" by their tattoos and "remainers" by whether they carry baguettes.

Bridget Christie riffs on the way the leave campaign dismissed expert evidence that Brexit would hurt Britain, joking that she was fed up with her dentist "lording it over me with his tooth knowledge," according The Guardian's five-star review of her show.   Continued...

Comedian Matt Forde (R) relaxes after performing his show "It's My Political Party (and I'll Cry if I Want to)", at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain August 16, 2016. Picture taken August 16, 2016.  REUTERS/Russell Cheyne