Feeling Sorry for Mitt Romney

Posted by tobymuresianu on Jul 28, 2012 in Thoughts

Watching the Olympics last night filled me with love for Britain. What country, during their opening ceremony, has a nightmare sequence? And has political figures in on jokes that are actually funny? After a lifetime of enduring Super Bowl halftime shows that make Toy Story look scandalous, I didn’t know either of these were possible.

But the most amazing moment for me was knowing Mitt Romney was in the audience when as performers staged a dance-celebration of a government run health service. As if his week wasn’t bad enough! After the last few days, I was expecting the finale to feature a giant float of him getting torn down by gymnasts representing the British press.

I feel sorry for him. He didn’t realize he was wandering into a bear trap. And how could he? He voiced the same criticisms of the games that the British press had been running on their front pages since slightly before London was selected for the Olympics, but when he said it, that same British press reacted like he’d offered the Queen a biscuit if she behaved herself. It’s almost like the British were treating deprecation of Britain like their N-word: it’s only okay when we say it.

I wish I could have told him what I’d learned doing comedy in Britain these last few years – British people may not give you the impression they think much of themselves of their country, but they absolutely hate people who think they are better than them. You don’t have to be British to doubt or make fun of Britain, but you absolutely have to do it with a smile and make fun of yourself first. But who could have expected Mitt to know that? It’s questionable whether his Anglo-Saxon heritage linked him with the British, but nobody would have argued it was his sense of humor. British people love to take the piss out of people and themselves, while Mormons can’t even say the word piss.

And so it happened that within hours of Mitt’s plane landing, David Cameron had deadpanned “It’s a bit easier to run the Olympics in the middle of nowhere” (which may have done more to boost his own popularity than any of his policies in office), #MittShambles started trending on Twitter, and Mitt’s name was used as a rallying cry by Mayor of London Boris Johnson, a man who makes Donald Trump look like a Vidal Sassoon Model. All because he said:

There are a few things that were disconcerting, the stories about the private security firm not having enough people, the supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials, that obviously is not something which is encouraging. Because in the games – there are three parts that make the games successful. Number one are the athletes. That’s of course what the games are about. Number two are the volunteers. And they’ll have great volunteers. But number three are people of the country. Do they come together and support the Olympic moment? And that’s something which we only find out once the games actually begin.”

Not *too* ridiculous, given the amount of British public ambivalence to the games. However, coming from an unapologetic American, that’s dripping red meat to a rabid British press. Instead, he should have rephrased it to something like:

“Is Britain prepared for the Olympics? Well, I found preparing for the Olympic games was challenging when I did it in a mediocre city in a state run by the world’s largest religious cult – but based on the news reports, I don’t think there’s a stadium big enough to hold all the shit that’s going to hit the fan the second the torch is lit.”

Now, obviously Romney couldn’t have said this, because he’s a Mormon and his magic underwear would have come alive and strangled him in the name of Xenu, but he would have had the grudging respect of Londoners.

In any case, Mitt Romney should at least get credit for being a big part of why this Olympics may be finally embraced by Britain. Consider an average Londoner’s favorite activities:

  • Complaining about transit
  • Complaining about tourists
  • Complaining about America

With Mitt’s help, they’ll be setting high water marks in all three categories this summer. One can imagine, years from now, parents telling their children “You think the tube is crowded with American tourists now? Let me tell you about July of 2012 and a man named Mitt Romney” while the child squirms at having to hear the story for the hundredth time.

And that’s why the British should be grateful for him – he plays a great villain. After years of their hemming and hawing, Romney may have actually united an entire country in a show of solidarity. Too bad for him it’s the wrong country.

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Episode 1: Ola from London

Posted by tobymuresianu on Jul 23, 2012 in Episodes


Proud to release the first episode of my new podcast, Making Fun with Foreigners, where I interview comedians from other countries.

In this episode I interview Ola, a British comic of Nigerian descent, and we talk about everything from starting comedy while at the London School of Economics to getting slashed with a beer bottle after a show to British black history. It ended up being a really fun and interesting interview – enjoy!



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