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IQ2: Armando Iannucci and Jess Phillips on Satire in an Age of Absurdity at Union Chapel

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Time 19:00
Date 18/02/20
Price £34

Has satire lost its power in this world of fake news or is humour a more important tool than ever? Join Armando Iannucci, Jess Phillips & Samira Ahmed, hear the arguments & laugh through your tears.

Is the absurdity of Donald Trump’s presidency killing satire? Or is he the comedy gift that keeps on giving? At first, Trump’s election seemed to have ushered in a new golden age of political comedy, from Alec Baldwin’s golden-wigged caricature in a newly resurgent Saturday Night Live to the righteous ridicule of Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert. But while we like to believe in the power of satire to challenge our leaders, Trump seems completely immune to ridicule.

He is subject to some of the most ferocious mockery in history, depicted every day as an idiotic charlatan with tiny hands, and yet remains relatively unscathed. Some have argued that the outlandishness of his administration has rendered satire redundant — how can you make fun of something already this ridiculous? Meanwhile here in the UK, our politics seem so bizarrely chaotic and dysfunctional that reality often seems to merge with parody. Our historic major political parties are led by Corbyn and Johnson — two figures who appall much of the public. How could any satirist dream up this mess?

So has satire lost its power in this new world of fake news and ‘alternative facts’ – when our leaders lie so blatantly and frequently, and still manage to get away with it? Or is humour a more important tool than ever to hold those in power to account? To unpack these questions, Intelligence Squared is bringing together some of the nation’s top names in comedy and politics — Armando Iannucci, Jess Phillips and Samira Ahmed.

Armando Iannucci
Celebrated comedy writer and producer
One of Britain’s most celebrated comedy writers and producers, Armando Iannucci is a creator of Veep, The Day Today, Alan Partridge, The Saturday Night Armistice and The Thick of It. He has produced numerous TV and radio programmes, including On the Hour and The Mary Whitehouse Experience. His first book, The Audacity of Hype: Bewilderment, Sleaze and Other Tales of the 21st century, is a series of satirical musings on the absurdities of modern life.

Jess Phillips
Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley
Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, who has been hailed by JK Rowling as ‘a heroine’, for her pronouncements in the House of Commons, including criticising Jeremy Corbyn for the lack of jobs offered to women on his frontbench and reading out the names of 120 women killed in Britain in the past year. Author of the book Everywoman: One Woman’s Truth About Speaking the Truth.

Samira Ahmed
Journalist, writer and broadcaster
One of the most recognised voices in British broadcasting. Her work spans news and the arts – from working as a reporter and presenter on Channel 4 News to presenting the Proms. She presents Front Row on BBC Radio 4 and Newswatch on BBC One.

COMPETITION: Win 1x pair of tickets to attend IQ2: Armando Iannucci and Jess Phillips on Satire in an Age of Absurdity at Union Chapel at 19:00 on Tuesday 18 February 2020. To enter the competition, send an email to vienna@run-riot.com with the correct answer in the ‘subject’ line. The winner will be randomly selected.

Q: Out of the following satirical pieces, which one did Armando Iannucci have absolutely nothing to do with?
A: .1) The Death of Stalin .2) The Thick of It .3) Veep .4) Avenging Disco Vampires

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