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Rosie Holt: the satirist whose “Tory MP” video so deceived | The comedy

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Jhe video was, according to former Ukip leader Henry Bolton, proof of the declining quality of MPs. Anthony Grayling, the philosopher, described her as a “bald-faced emetic” and Philip Pullman, the author, said he was “appalled”.

Their collective outrage was directed at the words of Rosie Holt who, when asked by an interviewer if she had attended one of the Downing Street parties, said that until Sue Gray finished her report, ” your guess is as good as mine: I don’t know if I attended the party”.

Holt added: ‘If there was a party in lockdown when we told everyone they couldn’t even attend the funeral but no one knew, was there a party?

At a glance, Holt may be hard to tell from the dwindling number of Tory MPs willing to defend the Prime Minister, but she’s actually a satirist – an actor and comedian with a strong line in parodies of political speech that veers in drivel. That sketch video has taken off — 6 million views on Twitter so far — in part because “an awful lot of people” think it’s real, she said.

“I’m not going there to deceive people,” she told the Observer. “I get a little pissed off when a lot of people think it’s real because that’s not what I’m trying to do.

Rosie Holt: the satirist whose “Tory MP” video so deceived |  The comedy

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Spoof Tory MP Rosie Holt on Twitter when asked about a party in Downing Street. Photography: @RosieisaHolt/Twitter

“But there are also a huge number of people who get it. And I’m pretty good at filtering out the negative stuff. Some people say “oh, don’t joke about this stuff, it’s a serious subject”.

“But I’m a big proponent of laughing at the things that make you sad and angry. And there’s so much going on with this government right now that there’s always so much material.

This particular video was created by combining footage of Holt with questions from a Sky News reporter to Boris Johnson in which he dodged questions about whether he had attended the garden party on May 20, 2020. D Others have portrayed Holt as a dishonest online columnist or commentator, making arguments about issues such as Shamima Begum or the Edward Colston statue.

Social media has been flooded with jokes and memes since the beginning of partygate. After Johnson’s claim that he “implicitly believed this was a work event”, people posted photos of other “work events”: people dancing at festivals, in bars, at pool parties and English football fans lighting flares between their bums. When news broke that Downing Street staff had taken a suitcase to a supermarket to fill it with alcohol, supermarket wine shelves were photoshopped under an ‘office supplies’ notice.

Rosie Holt: the satirist whose “Tory MP” video so deceived |  The comedy

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Rosie Holt parody royal biographer defends Prince Andrew on Twitter. Photography: @RosieisaHolt/Twitter

Holt’s first sketch appeared in June 2020 during the Black Lives Matter protests. The 30-year-old actor, trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, was preparing to go on tour in The Crown – Live, a parody of the Netflix series, at the start of the first confinement. “I went back to my parents for lockdown in Somerset and like a lot of creatives, I was going a little crazy,” she says.

His first video was prompted by comments from people outraged that Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, was planning to remove a statue of slaver Robert Milligan from outside the Museum of London Docklands.

“All these people were saying ‘you’re trying to destroy history’, ‘it’s against democracy’. There was so much rage. It was extraordinary, this visceral reaction of people wanting to protect the statues of slave traders. I had the idea to take someone who follows these ideas to their logical conclusion. So I put together a skit where this character says, ‘oh, that’s terrible, they’re erasing history’. Just like Stalin did. Of whom, by the way, I have a statue in my garden’. Another Colston video features Holt’s right-wing commentator asking if things have gone too far – will people start demonizing men of the past for beating their wives, for burning witches, or for child labor at the Victorian era?

Holt was nervous about her first videos and researched the news extensively to make sure she didn’t make any mistakes.

“When I started reading Telegraph and [online magazine] Spiked, they’ll put forth an argument while omitting huge gaps. One issue that keeps coming up is that “slavery was good, everyone did it”, but there was still a very strong abolitionist movement. They put forward these really strong opinions without evidence to back them up further, and I find that quite disturbing.

Holt’s agent, Hatch Talent, negotiates various offers that have come his way. Why does she think things have taken off for her now? “I think people are really mad at parties. So it hit a nerve,” she says.

“I find this government in general quite odious. And I think the problem is that when Boris came to power, he seemed to value loyalty over competence. So he got rid of a lot of competent curators.

“And as a result, you have this cabinet of people who are largely, well, morons, really. They are incompetent morons. And so, if Boris leaves, who are we going to have instead? Liz Truss? Oh my God. How awful.”

Rosie Holt: the satirist whose “Tory MP” video so deceived | The comedy

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