It is both refreshing and comforting to have a comedian who is politically active and outspoken but does not tell their audiences what to think or do. Irish stand up comedian and writer Gráinne Maguire is not an unfamiliar face on programmes like BBC Question Time, in fact, she appeared on the programme in January, discussing the need to lift the ban on same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.
Maguire may be a comedian with a passion for political debate but she certainly doesn’t fit the mould of your stereotypical ‘political comedian’. Although there is an array of skilful comics producing bleak satirical programmes shows such as Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe, Gráinne approaches from a different perspective; a pleasingly constructive one. She is yet another coherent voice in the media attempting to make political issues accessible to a wider audience, who doesn’t feel the need to make ridiculous requests such as that her followers abstain from voting in general elections.
Gráinne has even ventured into the land of forbidden material for female comics; she has spoken publicly about her menstrual cycle. Heaven forbid! Back in November 2015, Maguire made headlines when she decided to tweet the details of her period to Ireland’s prime minister, Enda Kenny, as a means of criticising the criminalisation of abortion in Ireland. She reasoned that if the Government could dictate what a woman does with her own body, she was perfectly justified in providing a little more information as to what being a woman entails.
Gráinne Maguire is brave, bold and tongue-in-cheek. She maturely tackles large social and political issues with humour, proving that comedy is an extremely valuable art form in today’s politically turbulent world.