Joe Lycett’s biggest political pranks, from Liz Truss interview to fake Sue Gray report

Joe Lycett may insist that he’s not a political comedian, but the stand-up has often used his work to make a political statement.

While the comedian is best known for his large-scale, high-profile routines (such as changing his name to Hugo Boss), as seen on his consumer affairs programme Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back, he has also played tricks within in the world of politics.

From panicking parliament with his own fake Sue Gray report to claiming to be “very right wing” on Laura Kuenssburg’s new politics show, here are some of Lycett’s biggest political pranks.

Fake Sue Gray report

In January, as the nation awaited Sue Gray’s report into the parties that took place at Downing Street during lockdown, Lycett released his own comedy version of the report.

It contained a mock summary of seven main findings about the “culture of Covid-19 regulation rule breaking at No 10 Downing Street”.

The fake report suggested that games were played called “pass the a***hole”, a group chat had been created called “Down It Street” and that ministers danced to “Pure & Simple” by Hear’Say.

The post left Twitter users in stitches, with a number admitting that they hadn’t initially realised that it wasn’t real.

Apparently, the letter also caused a stir within Whitehall, with a Conservative politician Lycett claimed to have “verified” telling the comedian that his report was “read as an actual serious leak”.

Lycett shared a screenshot of a series of messages which read: “I work in parliament for the Conservatives and I think u need to know your tweet this morning was read as an actual serious leak from Sue Gray’s report.

“U had MP staff literally running around panicking from what it said. Panic-dialling MPs like we need to discuss this right now [sic].”

“This is an actual series of messages I have received from someone who works for a cabinet minister,” Lycett wrote. “Source is verified. Mummy catfished the government.”

Nadine Dorries fake resignation letter

Following on from the success of the fake Sue Gray report, Lycett released a fake resignation letter from Nadine Dorries to Boris Johnson as it was announced that the former prime minister was stepping down in July.

The letter begins: “It is with deep sadness that I have reached the conclusion that this is not working. I have made honest efforts to resolve the difficulties but it has become clear this morning that I am unable to proceed further.”

In it, Lycett pretends that Johnson purchased a faulty bottle opener as a gift for Dorries, with the culture secretary demanding he buys a new one.

“It has been the honour of my life working in your government. I still believe and stand by you,” Lycett writes. “But I would like you to reconsider and maybe purchase Cuisinart CQ050 Electric Wine Opener which is £50 in John Lewis and has a three-year guarantee and free delivery.”

Many Twitter users claimed that they hadn’t realised the letter was fake until getting half-way through Lycett’s post.

Commonwealth Games opening ceremony

Later in July, Lycett took another dig at the government as he co-hosted the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in his hometown of Birmingham.

Dressed in a pink and white frilly tracksuit, he joked as he introduced the competing countries: “I’m going to do something now that the British government doesn’t always do, and welcome some foreigners – this time from the region of Asia.”

Lycett later retweeted a clip from the ceremony, which he posted with the words: “Soz @pritipatel just a bit of banter tehehe.”

Liz Truss interview on Sunday with Laura Kuenssburg

On Sunday (4 September), Lycett appeared on the inaugural episode of new BBC politics showSunday with Laura Kuenssberg.

Prime ministerial candidate Liz Truss was interviewed by Kuenssberg, after which Lycett could be heard yelling off-screen: “You smashed it, Liz!”

During his own interview, Lycett said that he was “extremely right wing”, explaining: “I know there’s been criticism in the The Mail on Sunday today about leftie liberal wokie comedians on the BBC. I’m actually very right wing and I love it. I thought she gave great clear answers. I know exactly what she’s up to.”

Later in the show, after Kuenssberg showed a news report that argued that Truss is a “stronger” candidate than most think, Lycett said: “I think the haters will say we’ve had 12 years of the Tories, and that we’re sort of at the dregs of what they’ve got available, and that Liz Truss is sort of like the backwash of the available MPs.

“I wouldn’t say that, because I’m incredibly right wing, but some people might say that.”

That evening, Lycett shared Monday (4 September) morning’s Daily Mail front page, which bore the headline: “Now BBC Comic Mocks Liz Truss” and said that the BBC had been accused of “anti-Tory bias” for Lycett’s interview.

The comic, however, saw the funny side and captioned the post: “I’ll be off to the framers in the morning.”

His header image on Twitter remains a “Liz for Leader” campaign banner.