Satire

‘A Voluptuary under the horrors of Digestion’, 1792, by James Gillray

From ancient Egyptian smut to dissent-by-currency: I object at the British Museum reviewed

8 September 2018 9:00 am

Ian Hislop’s potted history of dissent at the British Museum shows that the impulse to do a two-finger salute is universal, says Tom Slater

Sacha Baron Cohen isn't funny – especially when he's mocking the powerless

28 July 2018 9:00 am

Sacha Baron Cohen’s latest series Who Is America? isn’t funny. But then, nor was his terrible 2016 movie The Brothers…

What’s the point of Philomena Cunk?

28 April 2018 9:00 am

Because I’m a miserable old reactionary determined to see a sinister Guardianista plot in every BBC programme I watch, I…

Cover illustration for the magazine Garm 1944, by Tove Jansson

A chance to see the Moomins’ creator for the genius she really was: Tove Janssons reviewed

18 November 2017 9:00 am

Tove Jansson, according to her niece’s husband, was a squirt in size and could rarely be persuaded to eat, preferring…

Steve Buscemi (Khrushchev), Michael Palin (Molotov) and Paul Whitehouse (Mikoyan) in The Death of Stalin

Not quite as funny as I’d hoped: Death of Stalin reviewed

21 October 2017 9:00 am

Armando Iannucci’s The Death of Stalin is nearly two hours of men in bad suits bickering, but if you have…

Bin Laden the pin-up, a Tory singalong and comedy magic: Edinburgh Fringe roundup

19 August 2017 9:00 am

Brexit the Musical is a peppy satire written by Chris Bryant (not the MP, he’s a lawyer). Musically the show…

Elizabeth Day’s veiled satire of the Chipping Norton set is a delight

5 August 2017 9:00 am

Arriving at boarding school with the wrong shoes and a teddy bear in his suitcase, the hero of Elizabeth Day’s…

Simpering windbags and self-pitying egoists: Halina Reijn, Jude Law and Gijs Scholten van Aschat in Obsession

Worthless as entertainment, priceless as platitudes-to-avoid-at-all-costs: Obsession reviewed

13 May 2017 9:00 am

Obsession at the Barbican has a complicated provenance. The experimental Belgian director Ivo van Hove adapted the show from a…

Donald Trump is beyond satire

22 April 2017 9:00 am

I think we’re all agreed about Donald Trump — by which I mean all of us who read the literary…

Vincent Franklin (Mr Prendergast), Jack Whitehall (Paul Pennyfeather) and Douglas Hodge (Captain Grimes) in ‘Decline and Fall’

Jack Whitehall does Waugh proud: BBC1's Decline and Fall reviewed

1 April 2017 9:00 am

Jack Whitehall could have been perfectly awful as Paul Pennyfeather in Decline and Fall (BBC1, Fridays). He has spent most…

A memorable evening, though not one I’d want to repeat: Le grand macabre reviewed

21 January 2017 9:00 am

The Barbican website warns us that Ligeti’s opera Le grand macabre ‘contains very strong language and adult themes’. The strong…

Portrait of Jonathan Swift by Charles Jervas

Fierce indignation

29 October 2016 9:00 am

Dean Swift’s biting satire is as necessary today as it was 300 years ago, according to Daniel Swift (no relation)

Nose job: Shostakovich’s ‘The Nose’ at the Royal Opera House

A terrifically good nose job: Royal Opera's The Nose reviewed

29 October 2016 9:00 am

The Royal Opera’s latest production is Shostakovich’s The Nose and to paraphrase Mark Steyn, whatever else can be said about…

Andrey Kurkov’s The Bickford Fuse is a satirical masterpiece

14 May 2016 9:00 am

Whimsy, satire and deadpan humour: welcome to the world of Andrey Kurkov. If you know Kurkov’s work, The Bickford Fuse…

Talk of the Devil: Kit Harington in ‘Doctor Faustus’

A literary lap dance: Doctor Faustus reviewed

7 May 2016 9:00 am

Great excitement for play-goers as a rare version of a theological masterpiece arrives in the West End. Doctor Faustus stars…

An Egyptian comedy of errors

16 January 2016 9:00 am

The Yacoubian Building, the first novel of the Egyptian writer Alaa Al Aswany, sold well over a million copies in…

‘Second Empire Renaissance’ (from Pillar to Post). ‘Its most notable feature was the mansard roof. However suitable this device may be on top of the Louvre, it altogether fails to produce an effect of inevitable rightness amid the less exalted surroundings of Victoria Station.’

Osbert Lancaster: a national treasure rediscovered

12 December 2015 9:00 am

True to his saw that ours is ‘a land of rugged individualists’, Osbert Lancaster, in his self-appointed role of popular…

Jonathan Coe’s raucous social satire smoulders with anger

14 November 2015 9:00 am

When Rachel, one of the unreliable narrators of Number 11, wants to ‘go back to the very beginning’, she starts…

A broad farce about banking’s dirty secrets in post-Celtic-Tiger Dublin

1 August 2015 9:00 am

It’s not Paul Murray’s settings or themes — decadent aristocrats, clerical sex abuse, the financial crisis — that mark him…

Welcome to the world of Big Byz

18 July 2015 9:00 am

The title of Victor Pelevin’s 2011 novel stands for ‘Special Newsreel/Universal Feature Film’. This product is made by the narrator,…

Seeds of a mystery in a great-aunt’s will

27 June 2015 9:00 am

There is something cruelly beautiful, delightfully frustrating and filthily gorgeous about a Scarlett Thomas novel. Two family trees open and…

Satire is dying because satirists are too successful

9 May 2015 9:00 am

I appeared on Radio 4 a couple of weeks ago to discuss the age-old question of whether political satire is…

Channel 4's The Coalition reviewed: heroically free of cynicism

28 March 2015 9:00 am

In a late schedule change, Channel 4’s Coalition was shifted from Thursday to Saturday to make room for Jeremy Paxman…

Spectator letters: Why rural churches are so important, and the best use for them

28 February 2015 9:00 am

The presence of a church Sir: The challenge for the Church of England and the wider community is to ensure…

The Heckler: how funny really was Spitting Image?

21 February 2015 9:00 am

Hold the front page! Spitting Image is back! Well, sort of. A new six-part series, from (some of) the team…