It's fair to say that Jonathan Ashworth is unintentionally funny. The shadow health secretary has an impressive gag reel from the last 18 months of remote TV interviews. His young children have twice interrupted Zoom interviews and his phone slipped from its holder during another. An interview in a windy street played havoc with his umbrella before the lighting equipment fell on him. He is one of those Labour MPs who is so hapless it takes an effort to dislike him.
It was a different story at Leicester's 'Stand Up Challenge' where Ashworth was actually trying to be funny. The charity event formed part of the city's comedy festival and the MP for Leicester South agreed to take part. It didn't start well for Ashworth, but he won the audience over gradually - in particular thanks to his eight inches of mail joke, which was genuinely funny.
The challenge is supposed to be a presentation of five minutes of 'original material', but at over eight minutes not only did Ashworth over-run it's arguable that he presented anything original. Most, if not all of his routine, was regurgitating amusing anecdotes from other politicians, including an old Gordon Brown skit. His Brown impression was not bad, but there was no mention of Leicester's biggest joke - even bigger than Ashworth himself - the member for Leicester East. Poor old Claudia Webbe never got a look in.
All in all it wasn't totally dreadful, but it was painful to watch at times. Click below for Ashworth's full routine.
It will be no great surprise to learn that Ashworth did not win the challenge. The victor was Matt Holt, whose winning routine can be seen here.