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Stale Edinburgh fringe satire needs a ‘cattleprod in the bollocks’ says Keith Allen – iNews

Political satire in Britain needs a “cattleprod in the bollocks”, the veteran comic actor Keith Allen has claimed, in a blast at the careerist comics touting their wares at the Edinburgh Festival.

The father of singer Lily, Allen was one of the most provocative figures to emerge from the anti-establishment “alternative comedy” boom of the early 80s.

“I blame the audience…they lap up any old shit.” Keith Allen

But today’s stand-up comics just want to make fun of Donald Trump’s hair and win a slot on TV panel shows, according to the Comic Strip star.

“The comedy circuit is in desperate need of a cattleprod in the bollocks, and to then be slapped about a bit with a fetid badger cadaver, just to make sure it’s fully alert,” said Allen, 63, who co-wrote the football anthems, World In Motion and Vindaloo.

The star of the BBC dramas Robin Hood and Bodies, Allen will launch his own search for angry, “razor sharp” new talent at the Edinburgh fringe, where hordes of London talent agents are currently seeking the next Russell Howard.

Allen, 63, will audition brave hopefuls on a Routemaster bus which will tour five British cities, reaching Edinburgh in a fortnight.

The funniest will feature in a satirical show inspired by The Establishment Club, the legendary Soho venue founded by Peter Cook in 1961, which played host to Lenny Bruce and Dudley Moore.

“We want fresh voices –  angry, passionate, original, razor sharp. We want state of the nation stuff – whether it’s anecdote or poetry, performance or something else that doesn’t fit any of the boxes,” said Allen.

The show won’t appear on BBC or Channel 4. Instead it is set to run on RT, the Moscow-funded television station regularly sanctioned by Ofcom for pro-Kremlin bias, which has become an unlikely British comedy sponsor.

RT gave a platform to the spoof television reporter Jonathan Pie. “It will be interesting to see what level of censorship they aim in our direction,” said Allen.

“It’s easier now to get a name for yourself and get on a panel show and do some commercials. I blame the audience.”

“They get the comedians they deserve and they lap up any old shit,” argued the comedian, who said watching the BBC’s latest attempt at satire, The Mash Report, made him “ill.”

The first stop on the Establishment Club Road Trip will be Bristol’s Anchor Square next Wednesday.

It will park up in Brighton, Manchester and Newcastle but Allen said he will not be present in person when it arrives in Edinburgh, on August 23, since he wished to avoid any contact with the Festival.

Ayesha Hazarika, the former Labour adviser-turned-stand-up comic, who is performing her State of the Nation satirical show at Edinburgh, said: “It is hard to get out your comfort zone as a leftie comic when you have an embarrassment of riches like Donald Trump, which let’s be honest is the gift that keeps on giving – but I think you have to try.”

“If you don’t try and see the absurd in both sides then then you’re missing a trick.”

Those who are not able to make it to the bus are invited to submit their performances via the Establishment club Road Trip website

Ayesha Hazarika: State of the Nation is at the Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh, August 14-20, 7:30pm

@adamsherwin10

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