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[dropcap]‘P[/dropcap]olitical comedy is very important; we need to tell people, through very simple terms, that we’re fucked’, is how Michael Smiley sums things up in a trailer to indie documentary short, Spoilt Ballot, in which he co-stars. Exploring the relationship between stand-up comedy and politics, it promises to cram in plenty of cutting-edge humour.
As disillusionment with our politicians continues, so the role of political comedy stays relevant. As we bear witness to a new era of low turnouts, protests and general unrest, Spoilt Ballot makes the most of this fertile ground. A brief trailer can be found at https://vimeo.com/69630993, with a second, longer version on the same channel.
Both feature footage from Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, which remains a masterpiece to this day. It illustrates perfectly, not only how downright hilarious political comedy can be, but also how it can do a sterling job in keeping those in government on their toes. In short, we need it, which is why the likes of Spoilt Ballot are as important as they are funny.
Since then, comedy has continued to embrace politics in its own satirical way, a famous modern-day exponent of this being the ever-popular panel show Have I Got News For You. Spoilt Ballot stars one of the programme’s writers, John O’Farrell, alongside comedian Tony Law, as well as the afore-mentioned Smiley.
Up-and-coming director Oliver Sunley is in the chair, completing a line-up to be feared in an age where MPs are lining their nests with even more feathers. As Spoilt Ballot gears itself up to do the rounds on the film festival scene, this is surely enough of a reason to sit up and take interest. Produced on an extremely tight budget, rather than a fat-cat salary, it is more than a worthy cause and one that more and more people are getting excited about.
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