Jolyon Rubinstein is one half of the, as he wryly puts it, ‘not so dynamic’ duo behind The Revolution Will Be Televised (the other half being Heydon Prowse, a friend from childhood). This satirical sketch show is something of an underground gem, showing late on Sundays on BBC Three.
The Revolution Will Be Televised is richly comic, borrowing much from the anarchistic free-flowing style of Sacha Baron-Cohen, but with an altogether darker political edge. On Monday Rubinstein gave a highly entertaining free talk at the Drama Centre, University of the Arts.
Delivering ‘bullshit’ to Parliament
Rubinstein described the show as ‘repackaging news’ as ‘you have to laugh at politics otherwise you’ll kill yourself.’ He was also quick to point out that ‘this is the first entertainment show to argue public interest’, so has much more to it than your average entertainment programme.
Although the focus of the programme is largely on bringing the hypocrisy and greed of multinational corporations and governments to light, Rubinstein was careful to emphasise that he doesn’t try to be didactic. Instead, the viewer is shown a plethora of different issues and given the freedom to make up their own minds.
Poking fun at Amazon’s tax evasion
I was especially fascinated by Rubinstein’s views on what he expected to happen over the next few years in politics. He drew attention to the fact that a lot of anger and frustration is building across the world which has, in many cases, been quelled – the Occupy movement was crushed, the Arab Spring lost momentum. But this anger remains and hasn’t been addressed.
In the next few years, he argued, some form of social movement is likely to start with the possibility to genuinely effect change. He highlighted the power of art forms in bringing people together. As long as we recognise we can have true power as a collective, and don’t see ourselves as atomised individuals, we can make a difference.
If there was one overriding message I took away from this talk, it was to start debating the political landscape with those around us more openly, to engage with each other over the things we see as wrong and corrupt. We need to make use of our power to speak out – if we don’t, then nothing will improve.
Join the debate. Catch The Revolution Will Be Televised on BBC Three at 10.25pm.