Rosie Holt

Comedian and actress

How do you feel, as a royal expert, about not being asked to the coronation?
It’s very kind of you to call me an expert, but I am more of a solemn fan and believer. A patriot. The royal family represent all that is good and British, which is why we pay them good British taxpayers’ money, so they can spend their days shaking hands and making small talk for ever and ever.

What do you make of the new monarch?
Look, he is our king and he has my full admiration and respect. Yes, in the past he has gone a bit wacky by caring about the environment, but I think he understands that his job means no more opinions, particularly wokey ones.

What measures should be taken to protect the monarchy?
I think we need to look at revoking Harry’s citizenship and barring Meghan from the country. This may seem extreme but they have been very detrimental to the country and the monarchy. I can’t think of one modern royal who rivals Harry in scandal. Not one.

What are your views on Dominic Raab’s bullying of civil servants?
Well, I would ask you: was he bullying them or was he just being robust and passionate? Civil servants are a delicate breed and they seem to have lost the art of being impartial. If someone texts that they want to slit your throat, are you getting upset like a sissy or are you being impartial about it? Sometimes civil servants are frustrating because they tell you your policies are inoperable. Well, that’s not very impartial is it? Don’t tell me it doesn’t work; just nod, agree and sort it out somehow. We need to overhaul the civil service and make sure they are all impartial Conservative supporters.

Did you, at any time, attend an illegal Government lockdown party?
Look, Sue Gray never questioned me about whether I attended a party so therefore I am unable to say whether I attended a party.

Let’s be serious now… you became a Twitter star after posting spoof lockdown “interviews” in the persona of a self-serving Tory MP. Anyone specific in mind?
No. I’d always found it funny how interviews with ministers were evasive and full of double-speak, but the defence of Partygate made me both angry and amused. The first video I made as an “MP” was taken from a Dominic Raab interview where he was defending the cheese and wine party held during lockdown in the No. 10 garden.

Your parodies are often mistaken for real news interviews. Are you surprised by who falls for them?
Sometimes. I recently had a former Labour MP and government minister tweet my video asking, “How did such a dimwit become an MP?” For me it usually induces a mix of embarrassment, surprise and (sometimes) delight. The fact so many think it’s real has undoubtedly become part of the fun. It says a lot about how believably awful the current crop are.

How did you feel, watching Boris Johnson give testimony about Partygate?
Amazed and irritated. Perhaps he really believes it’s all a “kangaroo court” but the facts remain that there were parties at No. 10 during lockdown at a time when the government had imposed the most draconian rules of any peacetime. People missed funerals and couldn’t be with relatives when they died. Of course he should be interrogated on this and held accountable. Painting himself as a victim is an insult.

Johnson’s front bench was a satirists’ gift – is Sunak’s team harder work for laughs?
I noticed Sunak’s Ministers stayed away from TV interviews in his first few months, as if he’d realised they were all transparently dreadful and had told them to keep their heads down. And because Sunak isn’t as outlandish as Johnson fewer ministers have to defend really atrocious decisions. However, he’s still promoted some terrible people. Oliver Dowden! How did he return?!

Which member of the current front bench has most comic potential?
I take my comedy from things that make me angry and Suella Braverman certainly does that. There is a lot of comedic potential in any MP who starts railing against the “tofu-eating wokerati” and she does it with such dog-whistling stupidity.

Was Liz Truss’s resignation a grave loss to comedy?
Yes, but I think if she had stayed any longer we would be living in rubble right now and eating rats, which probably wouldn’t be very funny either.

What’s your favourite political satire?
The Death of Stalin is great. The stakes are huge and the people terrible and it’s so funny. I also have a soft spot for Dave, where Kevin Kline plays an impersonator of the president who’s recruited by the secret service and inevitably does a much better job.

And which comedians have been your biggest influences?
I love Julia Davis and Vicki Pepperdine’s podcast Dear Joan & Jericha, which makes an art of saying horrific things in a normal way and manages to be both appalling and incredibly funny.

What inspired your brilliant skit on royal commentators?
It’s based on Lady Colin Campbell, who’s such a mad character. There’s a clip where she talks about different kinds of paedophiles in relation to Prince Andrew, in bizarre defence of him.

When lockdown hit you were about to tour the US in a show based on The Crown…
I loved that show; it was written by Dan Clarkson, who’s such a talent. I played Princess Margaret as a drunk romantic heroine, who wrote a diary like Bridget Jones.

How has coming from a big family formed your comedy?
I have three brothers and one sister and they are all interesting and very funny, not people to shy away from debate. I’m no introvert but I hate an argument, so sitting on the sidelines has made me more of an observer, which helps in my line
of work.

Rosie Holt’s podcast “Noncensored” has been nominated for Best Comedy Show in the Arias and she’s taking her show, “Rosie Holt: That’s Politainment!” to the Edinburgh Fringe

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May 2023, Q&A

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