Des Bishop's Election: Seven things we learned
The last time Des Bishop graced our television screens he was in a strange and confusing country, attempting to communicate with locals who spoke an indecipherable language. Clearly a year living in China would stand to him as he trained a light on the knotty realm of Irish politics.
On the heels of Sunday night's Facebook Election Special here was further evidence of RTE's commitment to reaching out to younger voters. And, while we didn't get to see Leo Varadkar biffed by a boom-mic on this occasion, there were nonetheless plenty of talking points. Below is what we learned.
1. Bishop is a Surprisingly Persuasive Straight Man
Say what you like about his comedy – and people do – as a straight-up host Bishop was a revelation. With polling day looming, he understood the stakes were high and that, though humour of course had its place, so did seriousness.
2. He's Watched the Daily Show – A Lot
Bishop's election special was essentially a decent cover version of Jon Stewart-era Daily Show. Is there anything wrong with this? Channel 4 had its own tilt at the formula with the lamentable 10 O'Clock Live and everyone loved them for it. So if Bishop scored zero for originality his Jon Stewart riff was nonetheless better than that of Charlie Brooker, Lauren Laverne and David Mitchell combined.
3) He Was Angry
Many of us will have experienced a swirl of emotions leading up to election day. Yet Bishop seemed to articulate our slow-bubbling rage better than anyone else. All we want is a decently run county – is that too much to ask? Bishop suggested it was not.
4. He Has Some Decent Researchers
You could have removed Bishop's gags and the 45-minute broadcast would have still been worth watching. Video segments revealed politicians of every hue to be cynical blatherers, willing to say whatever the punters wished to hear.
5. Donald Trump Has Nothing On The Healy-Raes
The Donald doesn't come close, said Bishop. For real political pizazz you only have to look to the first family of rural Kerry politics. He cut to a video of someone pushing one of the Healy-Raes on the stump, which he likened to the south-west's answer to an Isis promo.
6. Des Was Stung in the Property Bubble
Apparently endless sold-out comedy shows pay quite well as, in 2005, Bishop bought TWO houses in Rialto, Dublin. The estate agent told him it was a "no brainer". It's true, said Bishop. Only someone without a brain would have invested in an "up-and-coming area" that never went anywhere.
7. He Likes Skittles
How to demonstrate the gulf between the vast profits reaped by multi-nationals and the paltry tax they pay in Ireland? What about the world's largest bag of skittles – set next to a single candy for comparison. Metaphors don't come any more delicious.