Similar but not the same
Armando Iannucci in Conversation with Annabel Crabb / Satire
Armando Iannucci is the brilliant comedic mind behind Veep’s Selina Meyer, The Thick of It’s Malcolm Tucker and, in collaboration with Chris Morris on The Day Today, the irrepressible Alan Partridge. If you’re familiar with Iannucci’s work, you’ll know he’s also responsible for some of the most inventive swearing and bizarre black comedy ever broadcast in TV history.
Yet this giant of British comedy – famous for his brand of caustic, sometimes surrealist, political satire – worries about the role of comedy in this era of post-truth, populist politics. ‘I now find the political landscape so alien and awful that it’s hard to match the waves of cynicism it transmits on its own,’ he wrote in the New Statesman last year.
One of the running ideas in Iannucci’s work – from Alan Partridge to Selina Meyer – is the gap between puffed-up public image and paranoid private persona. Most recently, he’s been working on a feature film that might touch on these tensions again. It’s set in the Soviet Union in the 1950s and it’s called The Death of Stalin.
In conversation with Tony Martin, Iannucci discusses the predicaments and possibilities of political satire today.
Tony Martin and Armando Iannucci at Melbourne's Comedy Theatre — Photo: Johnboy Davidson