Following a sell-out UK tour of his 2018 live show Back To The Studio, the frustrated news reporter Jonathan Pie has announced a brand new nationwide tour for autumn 2019: The Fake News Tour.
Tom Walker, the creator and actor responsible for Jonathan Pie, discusses Pie’s 2018 highlights, the upcoming year and a glimpse of what audiences across the UK can expect from The Fake News Tour…
With such a rapidly changing political climate, do you have to keep rewriting the show while out on the road to keep the material fresh?
“They can expect first and foremost to have a laugh. Probably at Pie’s expense.
“Pie’s first live show back in 2016 was a nightmare. It was all about David Cameron and George Osborne.
Brexit was a foregone conclusion and Trump was still just a joke candidate. By the end of that run we’d voted leave, Cameron and Osborne were gone and Trump had won The White House. From the first show in the tour to the last show we rewrote probably 60 per cent of the show. I almost had a nervous breakdown.
“Last year’s show, Back To The Studio, was much more about universal themes.
“Our culture of offence and how Twitter can ruin careers. By the end of that show Pie’s career is in tatters. But, for me, that show was a career highlight and ended up on the telly!”
You’ve now had two sell-out tours as Jonathan Pie. Do you feel the public now view Pie as much as a live act as an online star?
“Pie is still thought of as a YouTube annoyance. But the weekly rants are disposable content. Three minutes of anger usually directed at either the Tories, Trump or the excesses of PC culture. In the live shows you can go on much more of a journey and deal with more complex issues… while trying to make it the funniest it can be.”
Do you ever have trouble working out what Pie would think about a certain subject?
“Ultimately, Pie is a character…so I can make him say or think anything I want. He can be right. He can be wrong. He can be articulate, and he can be crass.
He can agree with a pro-remain argument one week and agree with a pro-leave argument the next.
Which means Pie has the unique ability of annoying absolutely everybody. But he’s a complex character politically.
He’s left wing but is often found to be berating the excesses of the liberal elite.
He hates Trump but understands his supporters’ reasons for voting the way they did. And ultimately, I think he is confused about Brexit.”
Where do you find your news and how do you try to differentiate between what is ‘Fake News’ and not?
“I read a different newspaper each day. The Guardian one day, The Times the next etc. News is now a commodity. We consume it. And if you have too much of the same thing it becomes like junk food. I think a varied diet is much healthier when it comes to the news.”
Jonathan Pie is at Liverpool Philharmonic, October 13 and at The Lowry, Salford, November 10.