‘Nothing’s funny any more’ has become the daily mantra of this magazine’s cartoon editor, Michael Heath. Thanks to Leveson, political correctness, taste and common decency, lampooning public figures in particular has become more difficult than ever.
Hugo Rifkind still has the right idea. From the despair of trying to conjure up a column for the Times’s Saturday edition, he came up with ‘My Week’, and these diaries, in which he takes aim at someone — usually in politics — who has dominated the news, are now the first thing many people turn to. This compilation brings together his best sketches in an enticing bible of satire.
The merriment gained from the material is dependent on whom Rifkind has to work with. Sometimes he can make one roll on the floor with laughter. He has a particular talent for drawing on common themes. The two Eds’ relationship is presented as that of a bully and a nerdy wuss. Alistair Darling has a running commentary with his wife over his surname and its affectionate counterpart. Mohammad al-Fayed is proven to be totally unfunny. It is a shame that the side-splitting sketches on Bridget Jones and Morrissey were too recent to make the cut.
Revisiting these columns I am reminded of why it’s worth getting out of bed on a Saturday morning. If you’ve never read them, or have had amnesia for the past six years, My Week is a fantastically enjoyable way of finding out who’s up, who’s down and roughly what has happened in the world.
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