Nearly two years ago Joe Lycett created a piece of art for the Big Issue. Given his then recently discovered facility for portraiture, we asked if he’d scare something up that encapsulated the year just gone. Joe sent us back a portrait of Jeff Bezos. On it were the words ‘2020, Best Year Ever!’. It came at the end of lockdown, a year that Jeff no doubt enjoyed, bulking out his bank account by a few billion.
“I get it. It’s been tough for some of you,” wrote Lycett in accompanying text. “You’ve not stopped going on about it. You’ve whined on and on about how awful it’s been. Well, I’m sick of it. Have any of you ungrateful little urchins considered the good things that have happened. Have any of you congratulated old Jeff? Jeff’s had a great one. Cheer up.”
Clearly, we were incandescent. How could this so-called ‘comedian’ show so much dripping sarcasm and disdain for a billionaire who just wanted to make sure people all over the world received things they needed, and sometimes didn’t need, all overpackaged in a brown cardboard box?
It was shocking, and typical. We binned the piece, cancelled Lycett and made a complaint to the press watchdog and to the comedian’s union insisting they remove ‘comedian’ Lycett’s comedy card. Sadly, he snuck out again recently and hammered incoming PM Liz Truss on a BBC politics programme last week. Incredible. Let’s see if Lycett gets his comedy card back this time so quickly!
For the sake of clarity, I should make clear that I am joking. What I just said is not supposed to be taken literally. In fact, the opposite. Imagine!
The clarity is only coming because some people, let’s call them snowflakes, got very angry about Joe Lycett, one of Britain’s best comedians, and also a proper, change-making consumer rights activist. There were even questions about him in Parliament. The irony is that there was more anger about a comedian being funny than about the policy plan, or lack of it, from the putative PM, who seemed to be operating at some distance from reality. It felt very much like a distraction technique.