Given the very strange year we’ve had, it can sometimes seem that reality is beyond satire.
Still, that doesn’t stop people from trying, and in one case, really making it work.
Comedy duo Larry & Paul have been making YouTube videos parodying Boris Johnson’s coronavirus briefings for about a month now. They have seven such videos on their channel as part of their series #RealDailyBriefing.
With just under 3,500 subscribers to their channel, the videos are not typically getting the attention they arguably deserve.
But their latest version, which parodies Boris Johnson’s Christmas lockdown rules, has now gone viral on Twitter.
The clip was posted earlier this week, and has been viewed over 100,000 times on Twitter, compared to just 2,000 views on YouTube. It seems Larry & Paul have found not just their niche, but also their audience.
The two-and-a-half-minute video shows either Larry or Paul (we think Paul it’s hard to know for sure) playing the part of the prime minister.
It’s slightly less on-the-nose than, for example, the Matt Lucas impression featuring a classic Boris wig and an eerily accurate impersonation of the PM’s gestures and mannerisms, but the content of the speech itself is still pretty funny.
It opens with: “Emotionless greeting. Announcing festive plans. Delighted that the virus has agreed to take five days off.”
He continues on with the following word salad:
“Using the words ‘very clear’ again, Christmas bubble is one bubble, or two bubbles if one is a support bubble. Bubbles remain within tiers unless tiers trump bubbles. Bubbles cannot visit shops but can go to parks in bubbles within tiers. Elderly relatives in one bubble, but not other bubbles. Very clear.”
While the speech is obviously absurd, it’s funny because it sort of mirrors the confusion most of us feel when trying to make sense of the endlessly baffling and ever-changing lockdown rules.
The video then cuts to a “simple slide” which is, of course, anything but. It features a complex intersection of Venn diagrams, arrows and totally illogical language.
He goes on to say that he’s confident the public transport system will definitely be totally fine with everyone travelling at exactly the same time, but suggests alternatives “such as a chauffeured car or private jet.”
Changing the subject, he mentions the “Festival of Brexit”, which will cost £29m. And this is not even a joke, it’s actually a real thing. Sometimes reality is just better than satire.
The video moves on to a Q&A, in which Larry ostensibly plays an American journalist, but riffs off the viral video of Euphoria actor Lukas Gage doing a Zoom audition in which he accidentally hears the director slagging off his apartment. Genius.
After a brief interlude to defend Priti Patel ("she’s little and didn’t do it on purpose") the video closes with “robotic thank you”.
Over on Twitter, people were very very into the video, calling it “brilliant” and “uncanny”:
While this format of comedy video is definitely not new, it doesn’t seem like people are tiring of it yet. In times of crisis, humour may well be all we have left to keep our spirits up.
As for Larry and Paul, we can’t imagine they’re planning to stop any time soon. You can follow them on Twitter here and subscribe to their YouTube channel if you want to make sure you don’t miss any future “Boris briefings”.