Former Labour advisor Ayesha Hazarika performs stand-up at The Capitol, Horsham

Ayesha Hazarika. Picture by Steve Ullathorne
Ayesha Hazarika. Picture by Steve Ullathorne
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The wheel comes full circle as Ayesha Hazarika returns to stand-up comedy on a tour perfectly coinciding with the general election.

She will be at The Capitol in Horsham on Friday, May 12 (7.45pm).

After a spell in stand-up comedy, Ayesha worked in politics, spending nine years as senior Labour advisor to Harriet Harman and Ed Miliband, advising them on prime minister’s questions, speeches, media and policy.

Now she is on the road with her new stand-up show, State of the Nation, as the nation steels itself to go to the polls yet again. She continues also to work as a political commentator.

Did she suspect the general election was coming? Well, yes and no.

“I do think the prime minister was very thoughtful coinciding the general election with my tour. I feel like I am making my own general election tour! I will be offering the general public much better access.

“But I did have a bit of a feeling about a general election. I would not say it was a scientific view, but I had a feeling in my gut. I said it a couple of times and quite a few other people said it was ridiculous to think there would be a general election. But you look and the polls were pretty good for the prime minister and Brexit was proving quite tricky in parliament, so I did have a feeling there might be a snap election. But I know it absolutely surprised everyone. I was talking to people that were really in the know, and it was a jaw-on-the-floor moment. As it happens, it may be the calling of the election will be the most exciting thing about it.”

And that’s a shame, Ayesha concedes: “Whatever party you support, this election is really, really important.”

Ayesha started doing stand-up when she was in her mid-20s: “I was a civil servant and I started doing comedy. I had always thought about doing it, and colleagues at work would say I should do it, and I even did a little course in stand-up comedy. I really enjoyed it and started getting gigs.

“And then the lure of politics got me. I was offered a post working as Harriet Harman’s special advisor, and reluctantly I had to give up the comedy. I was with the Labour party for the best part of ten years. It’s great to come back to comedy now, and my experiences have been quite good. They give me some currency in that I am able to talk about the 2010 general election and about the 2015 general election and it is quite interesting to look at the current election in that context.”

Would she ever return to politics?

“You never say never, but I think it is good for me to have a break from it. I have been involved in politics at Westminster for the past 20 years, first as a civil servant and then as a purely-political person. And I am very political. I love politics. Politics is in my blood. But I can still scratch that political itch with the commentator work that I do…”

In State of the Nation Ayesha lifts the lid on what life’s really like behind the scenes at Westminster with her own brand of brutal honesty and humour. The tour follows on from her show, Tales From the Pink Bus, which sold out across Edinburgh and London.

Tickets cost £13. Call the box office on 01403 750220.

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