After 20 years in the business, Lembit Opik is to leave the world of stand-up comedy to pursue a career in politics, it has been revealed today. Whilst he has never expressed interest in politics before, Opik announced that ‘I have grown tired of the vacuous, self-indulgent world of comedy, and I wish to devote myself to something important, where I can make a difference, and quite possibly, be taken seriously. During my appearances on “Have I Got News For You”, I have secretly sharpened my political talons whilst playing the willing fool and belying my keen political mind.’
The move has left the world of comedy ‘flabbergasted!’ according to Paul Merton, with whom Opik appeared on the satirical news quiz. ‘I’ve worked with him a few times, briefly and thankfully not very closely, but I can honestly say he has no idea about politics. He has no understanding of the key differences between Labour and the Conservatives, and he hasn’t even heard of the Liberal Democrats. And he has absolutely no debating skills; every time he tried to voice an ill-informed opinion, it fell flat. Thankfully, the comedy saved him.’
There have been suggestions that move was sparked by the one-time Comedy Store player’s failure to secure his place at this year’s Edinburgh Festival, following the conspicuous demise of a once promising career in comedy. Whilst never a headline act, Opik was regarded by some as astute comedian of a quiet disposition, who has commanded the respect of his peers and audiences alike through his refusal to compromise his values in search of personal glory, preferring instead to diligently plough the furrows of comedic purity.
But the announcement is viewed by others as the most recent in a series of high profile stunts carried out by Opik in the pursuit of greater fame. ‘I thought it was odd that he married that weather girl’, said Stephen Fry, ‘but when he chucked her for the Cheeky Girl I suddenly realised that he might be doing it for attention. That said it is very easy to be cynical. But this does seem like a rather desperate attempt to make lots of money by pulling a massive publicity stunt, thus circumventing his inherent lack of talent and soul. Ironically, he is now funnier than he ever was on stage and he should fit in perfectly around Westminster.’
Moreover, some political observers have suggested that there is a niche in the political sphere for ‘the buffoonish political genius’, citing amongst others, John Prescott and Boris Johnson, a fellow convert from the world of comedy. Indeed, Opik has himself suggested that he may in fact run for the position of the Mayor of London. Although this may have been one final joke in the life of Lembit Opik: Comedian.