Entertainment

Michael Spicer: Political incompetence gave me my career ‘with a bow on top'

The Room Next Door comedian said he could retire the sketch if politics changes direction.

Comedian Michael Spicer has said the incompetence of politicians in recent years handed him his career “with a little bow on top”.

Spicer shot to fame in 2019 with his satirical sketches about a political adviser speaking in the ear of public figures as their interviews, using real-life footage, invariably fall apart.

However, the 42-year-old from Kent has said he could retire the character if politics changes direction, starting with Donald Trump losing the US election in November.

“Because these incompetent idiots have essentially given me my career… they’ve handed it to me with a little bow on top,” he told the PA news agency.

“I think if Joe Biden gets in that’s a massive source of material that’s gone.

“It’s not like Joe Biden is a foolproof president… but with Trump out the picture it would diminish for sure.

“I think once he is out the picture that could be the catalyst for things swinging in a different direction.

“Then I would probably retire the character or at least semi-retire him because what would be there for me to parody?”

Spicer said his stardom began as “an accident” last year after he saw an interview in which the Prime Minister claimed he makes model buses to relax.

“When I saw it I thought wow he really looks like he’s waiting for an answer to come into his ear,” said Spicer, who was at work as a copywriter at the time.

“I thought well alright, once I’ve had dinner and loaded the dishwasher and put the children to bed, if I have some time in the evening I might as well just do it.”

Grabbing some box files Spicer sat in his living room and shot the video on his phone, which was propped up on a stack of his children’s books.

Millions of views and hundreds of thousands of online followers later, Spicer is now releasing a book, The Secret Political Adviser: The Unredacted Files Of The Man In The Room Next Door, offering a deeper insight into the adviser’s world.

Written in the format of a “leaked hard drive” of diary entries, emails and texts, the story sees the character heading a secret organisation called Axworthy which is in the ear of politicians across the world.

Set for release on October 1, it begins in 2016 with David Cameron’s resignation following the UK’s vote to leave the EU – which began a shift in political comedy, according to Spicer.

The Secret Political Adviser is set for release on October 1 (Canongate Books/PA)

“The last four years is just reacting to the actual news events,” he said.

“Spitting Image has come along now and creates sketches and scenarios, but that doesn’t seem to be the way satire is going – because how can you parody Boris Johnson and Donald Trump? How can you parody these living caricatures?”

Asked what he would like to say if he could actually be in the ear of the Prime Minister or the US president, Spicer said: “I would simply say you do not have the adequate expertise, knowledge or understanding of your position and you should resign immediately.”

Mr Johnson, Priti Patel and even the Dalai Lama have featured on the Room Next Door but asked for his favourite public figure to work with, Spicer said Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

“He ums and ahs and kind of leaves these excruciating gaps when he’s talking,” he added.

“Which for me is perfect… because that’s excellent for editing.

“But ideally, I wish he wasn’t in charge of the NHS.”

Spicer said before the Room Next Door he did not listen to politicians talking because he found it “so excruciating”.

“I’m not sure I really heard Trump say a word before he came president… I would see him and just think oh god this is just a foghorn blaring out nonsense,” he said.

Aside from buying a tripod, Spicer said the way he makes his videos has barely changed but, after a successful show on BBC Radio 4 this year, he now has plans for television.

“Obviously, I can’t say too much… I don’t think I’d want to just do a sitcom about him because I think that’s boring,” he added.

He is also planning a live show next year, following on from the tour he embarked on in February before lockdown began.

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