Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second has turned to top stand up comedy coach Logan Murray to help her inject a bit of levity into her public speaking engagements, after a disappointingly flat performance at the Houses of Parliament.
Murray, who helped top comics like Rhod Gilbert, Sarah Millican and Roman Emperor Cicero to find their voice, is said to be cock a hoop with the challenge. One of his first tasks is to work on the Monarch’s confidence.
‘I don’t mind the heckling so much,’ said the Queen of an interruption by Dennis Skinner, ‘it’s the silence that terrifies. I felt like all my gags were falling flat. Then, as my confidence waned, I started to fluff my lines and get the timing all wrong. In the end I finished my set early and I didn’t get paid for the gig.’
Comedy guru Murray is recognised as the best comedy coach in the business. But some critics worry he may turn Her Majesty into the type of formulaic laddish mockney who appears on so called ‘comedy panel shows’. ‘As head of state for Britain and the Commonwealth, Her Majesty the Queen represents Britain abroad. The last thing we need is her to start a speech at the White House with the words ‘any americans in tonight’?’ warned a Foreign Office expert.
Writing in the Daily Mail, Peter Hitchens warned of a looming constitutional crisis, hinting that the problem would only get worse and that there was nothing anyone could do to arrest the inevitable decline of a once great nation that has gone to the dogs.
In the same paper, however, Janet Street Porter was more optimistic about The Queen’s decision. ‘The Queen from a privileged background? Ohh, per-lease! Do me a favour, she’s a woman,’ she wrote, ‘Nobody ever stands up for the Queen, so she’s doing it for herself.’
Insiders say Murray could tell the Queen not to drop her aitches though. He is more likely to work on the Queen’s confidence and help her develop a stage presence initially. Later, as the Queen gets to do more gigs, she is likely to develop her own style. ‘You should talk about what you know,’ Murray tells his students.
One lady in waiting who saw the Queen practising says we’re in for a treat when the Queen starts gigging. ‘Has anyone here got Corgis?’ the Queen asked an imaginary audience. ‘They’re well cool. Isn’t it awful when those men come round your house and ask to form a government. Piss off!’ she said, and pulled a face. The Queen has learned how to engage with the audiences too. ‘You sir, what job do you do? That’s nice,’ she told a footman, ‘Have you come far?’
Murray says the Queen has as good a chance as any of his students. The circuit can be tough and it’s not for the sensitive, he warns, but the rewards a successful Queen can make are fabulous. ‘A good monarch can make several million quid a year just in allowances. They own most of central London and have places all over the country,’ said Murray. ‘And they can make even more if they do corporate gigs and become game show hosts.’