How to write comedy. By Penny Mordaunt MP

WRITING comedy is a rare skill and one I have mastered completely, as my speech about Labour and Gary Lineker proved. Follow my advice and you’ll be writing for Friends before you know it!

Use surprise

A good joke leads the audience down one path, then BAM! You hit them with a surprising punchline. After my lengthy, confused analogy about Labour being a football team, Tory MPs kept coming up to me and saying: ‘I can’t f**king believe you just did that.’ See? Surprise. Works every time. 

Be topical

I did my routine just days after Gary Lineker criticised our immigration policy. It worked so well because I’d got my finger on the pulse of popular culture. In my next speech I’m going to compare myself to Lara Croft. Don’t worry if you don’t know who she is, young people will. They’re always ‘gaming it’ on their PlayBox 390s.

Employ pathos 

Withnail and I, Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Graduate – they all masterfully switch between comedy and tragedy. As did my speech, going from hilarity to a heartfelt plea for our nation. ‘The country needs people that put in the hard work, take tough decisions, grip a problem and work out how to solve it,’ I said. Angela Rayner actually started crying helplessly at this point, with many more MPs on both sides of the House gripped by thoughtful silence.

Skilfully use swearing 

Experienced comedy writers use swearing for shock value and emphasis. Back in 2014 I inserted ‘cock’ into a speech as many times as possible as an in-joke for my old Royal Navy cronies and they loved it. Actually, ‘inserting cock as many times as possible’ sounds jolly rude too! That’s hilarious! I’m writing that down. 

Learn from the greats of comedy 

‘Every prime minister needs a Willie,’ was Margaret Thatcher’s classic gag, to which I added ‘A woman like me doesn’t have one’ to score a few cheap political points on transgender issues. Any comedian will tell you it’s fine to borrow other people’s material. The true greats of comedy – Jim Davidson, James Corden, Joe Pasquale – do it all the time.

Understand metaphor and simile

An apt comparison can bring the house down, so have metaphors and similes in your comedy armoury. My line about Labour being a ‘party of goal hangers’ who want to ‘take an easy shot’ really nailed it. The audience definitely wasn’t just sitting there in baffled silence, they were savouring my wit. If I ever leave politics I’ll probably get a job on Frasier. They love clever humour.

Endless knob gags

One of my routines is about Royal Navy training for taking care of your penis and testicles in harsh conditions. If I seem a bit obsessed with penis humour, all I can say is that’s just me – I can’t get enough cock! No but seriously, I love gigging here in the Commons, next to Big Ben – and they don’t call him ‘Big’ because of the size of his clockface, know what I mean, ladies? Thank you, thank you, you’ve been a great audience. Goodnight!

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Three lunchtime pints cancelled out by cup of tea, man reckons

A MAN believes the three pints of lager he consumed at lunchtime had no effect due to the cup of tea he drank back at the office.

Tom Logan initially felt guilty that he had necked three pints of Stella Artois in quick succession at the Lamb & Flag and feared it might affect his work performance.

But after staggering back to his desk and pondering the matter over a mug of PG Tips, he realised the sobering effects of the hot leaf drink cancelled out the far stronger beer.

Logan said: “As an accountant I am very conscious of the ledger and balance sheet. Applying that expertise, I realised that if you make the tea particularly strong, leaving the bag in the mug for a good six minutes, it will counterbalance the lager and bring you back to net zero.

“Okay, I sort of forgot what I was saying to a client in the middle of a sentence, but that’s probably just due to the boring nature of the phone call. God I’d like a lie-down. Wouldn’t it be nice if offices had beds?”

Reassured by having a ‘clean slate’ in terms of alcohol consumption, Logan consumed three bottles of wine when he got home.

He added: “Before passing out I retained the presence of mind to drink three pints of water to rehydrate. So effectively I had nothing to drink at all.”