Tom Walker (a.k.a. Jonathan Pie): Political satire in the Trump era


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Apr 11 2017 48 mins   5

Today Tom Walker is going to set you straight on politics, liberalism, free speech, and more.

Who’s Tom Walker? You might know him better as Jonathan Pie, the liberal British “newscaster” – and that’s in quotes – who keeps getting surreptitiously filmed talking off-camera to his producer Tim, who’s back at the studio. Here’s the YouTube video he posted 2 days after the Trump election. By Walker’s count it’s been shown in various formats more than 100MM times. A quick warning: This Jonathan Pie loves to curse: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLG9g7BcjKs As you clearly can tell from that clip, Walker is a classically trained actor whose sights were always set on Shakespeare rather than political satire. Truly. Here’s the backstory: For years, Walker was a struggling actor right out of central casting. He waited tables. Worked odd jobs. Took the acting roles he could. Then about two years ago, it happened. A character, a fast-talking, foul-mouthed, frequently-frustrated newscaster named Jonathan Pie was born. Pie – or Tom – takes on the right and the left, but generally the left. He comes at them as one of their own, as you’ll hear in our conversation. Pie – or Tom – is disappointed and angry at the hypocrisies he sees – such as, liberals who should fully support free speech, but instead try to shut down so-called offensive ideas and look to safe spaces for shelter. For example, here was Pie on university students and the censoring of free speech: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOc7ezwcJjI So what makes Jonathan Pie work? We’re clearly in a new age of political satire. From Pie to John Oliver to Samantha Bee and beyond, this generation combines research, insight and cutting humor with the Internet and digital distribution to build huge audiences while revealing social ills and political truths. It’s really good work, and really popular. Walker’s audiences are growing exponentially, and he just finished a big UK tour with a show at the Palladium. You can check it all out at jonathanpie.com or follow him on Twitter @jonathanpienews. I caught up with Tom the other day as he was about to check out of his Los Angeles hotel room – his first trip to the states. You’re really going to like this conversation – a wonderful journey by a previously non-political actor from the English countryside who’s become the one thing he never imagined: One of the top political satirists around.