ED2016 Columns ED2016 Comedy

Rory O’Keeffe: The post-Brexit grief of a monoglot

By | Published on Friday 19 August 2016

Rory O'Keeffe

Rory O’Keeffe may be a monoglot, but he’s also a proud European, not to mention a resident of cosmopolitan Islington North, local MP one Jeremy Corbyn. As he arrived in Edinburgh, we provided Rory with a pen and notepad so he could pour out his post-Brexit grief.

There has never been a worse time to write an article on British politics weeks in advance of its print appearance. In the past few months things have been changing more quickly and erratically than a Michael Gove round of applause. So who knows what will have happened by the time you’re reading this? You might not even be in the UK anymore. Britain might have voted to leave the planet, choosing to be relegated to Mars; and Boris Johnson Being Foreign Secretary might have won the lastminute.com Panel Prize for most ambitious show.

When I woke up to the news of the Brexit result, I dropped my halloumi wrap and shook my head in disgust. How could the elderly of this country be so racist? Had they not read my Twitter? Maybe as a young Oxbridge-educated white male living in Islington, I wasn’t as representative of the nation as I had thought. I worried about how this would affect our international trade, socio-political influence, and the price of halloumi.

Not to mention the exchange rate. The following week I was on holiday in Europe and luckily I had memorised the Spanish for “I’m really sorry, I would leave a tip, but I’m a bit short on change at the moment because of a decision people outside of my narrow cosmopolitan circle of London friends made”.

Once the news sunk in, I admitted defeat and started frantically googling my Irish grandparent. Fortunately, as soon as you type in “Rory O’Keeffe” they automatically send you an EU passport for having such an Irish name.

It is partly the fault of Brexit that Labour Party members like myself are having to again suffer the now annual existential crisis of electing the next loser of a General Election. Once more my Fringe will be interrupted by texts that begin “Hi, it’s Jeremy Corbyn”, like he’s my narcissistic best friend.

Corbyn is proving less and less popular. Controversial, stubborn, he is seen by some as an ageing leader of a well-meaning but flawed democratic institution. Like Peter Buckley Hill but with shorter emails.

I’ve still got soft spot for ole J-Corbs, or “my MP” as I am allowed to call him until the lease to my flat ends and I move back in with my parents because my Pleasance show has sold really badly. For months, we had a Corbyn poster on our fridge. Then a plumber came round to fix the boiler and asked “who’s the Communist then?” After that, I took it down, scared to piss off the man in control of my central heating.

It’s important to engage with people like my plumber though, ie those of a different political persuasion. That’s why, if you don’t like Corbyn, I will now charge you £25 to see my show. If you bought a ticket before 12 January, I will let you in for free. But if not, it will now cost £25. It’s only fair. (Dear Editor, please make it clear this is a joke and that my show is reasonably priced. 4.45pm, Pleasance Courtyard).

Rory O’Keeffe’s reasonably priced show ‘Monoglot’ was performed at Pleasance Courtyard at Edinburgh Festival 2016.