Once upon a time, Lee Hurst was a comedian. He still claims to be one; perhaps he’s still big, and it’s the comedy that got small. His publicity tells that his show is “hugely entertaining”, but only during the interval. And he’s a fervent backer of not just UKIP, but also Combover Crybaby Donald Trump - almost, whisper it quietly, boringly so.
Hurst calls Tory MPs who have a tendency to independent thought “Traitors to their own country”. He endorses Trump’s attempts to dispense with due process. And he cheers the nudge-nudge xenophobia of Arron Banks, who suggests - wrongly and maliciously - that poverty is caused by all those migrants coming here.
Put simply, Lee Hurst has ceased to be funny, but, sad to say, no-one has had the heart to take him aside and tell him. So on he blunders, while a few diehard Kippers applaud him, and everyone else moves in the direction of away.
Then came the exposé of Banks and his pal Andy Wigmore by the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr, and Hurst sensed a comedic opportunity. Sadly, what came out was as unfunny as ever, as he quipped “If Carole Cadwalladr were not a journalist @Arron_banks would have to report her as a stalker. FFS it's embarrassing”.
Laugh? I thought I’d never start. The reaction showed that this was a campaign which was progressing not necessarily to his advantage. “Hey Lee, didn’t you used to be a comedian?” … “No, he never was” … “Ah, nothing’s changed then” was typical.
A former acquaintance was unimpressed: “Whatever, you still owe me about 6 hours of my life back for all those times you ruined improv night at The Comedy Store back in the 90's by being shit”. And it got worse - rather a lot worse.
One Tweeter asked “Can I report you to trading standards for purporting to be a comedian?” Another responded to his claim with “No, embarrassing is once being a comedian and now reduced to being a spokesperson for bigots”. Ouch!
That claim prompted another Twitter exchange. “It is embarrassing Lee, is this really where you’re at now?” … “Oh, it’s constant. It’s like the drip-drip dribblings of a watered-down Hopkins. It’s kind of amusing, in a sad way. Certainly more amusing than he ever was as a comedian, anyway”. And then his “stalker” jibe fell apart. Big time.
After one Tweeter had responded “But she is a journalist. Which makes your point, like you, irrelevant” and another had added “But she is, and Arron is in with the Russians up to his neck”, came the bad news. “Arron Banks knows all about stalking - ask Jo Featherby”.
Banks was hit with a harassment warning by the Police after pursuing a woman 15 years his junior who was not interested in his advances. A friend was quoted as saying “Banks made her life hell. He would stop at nothing to make her be his girlfriend.When she made a formal complaint to police he told work colleagues she had a mental illness.”
And Lee Hurst is defending that. He’s a complete idiot. And he’s still not funny.