John Fortune (1939-2013)

Somehow I missed the sad news that British comedian John Fortune had died on December 31, 2013. Michael Coveney provides a retrospective of his life. I came across Fortune only about a decade or so ago, when the brilliant improvisational sketches that he did with John Bird appeared online. These took the form of an interview in which one of them would question the other on the issues of the day. I love this kind of deadpan comedy, where the conversation takes an absurd turn but the speakers discuss it quite seriously.

Bird would usually be on the left and Fortune on the right but the two would switch the roles of interviewer and interviewee with the latter was always called George Parr who could be a general, politician, diplomat, investment banker, or whatever role was appropriate for the discussion. Although they played it for laughs, they were unerringly accurate and informative in the way they discussed the topics.

This one was before the Iraq invasion.

The one below was around 2006 after the Iraq invasion.

This one discussed the subprime mortgage debacle that triggered the financial collapse of 2008.

Here they discuss how the oligarchy operates.


  1. kyoseki says

    Well, damn, I didn’t realize he had passed either, I guess it wasn’t widely reported in the US, but I’m surprised that nobody in my social media circles mentioned it, thanks for posting this.

    I recall Bremner, Bird & Fortune’s “Between Iraq & A Hard Place” seeming to echo the entire country’s feelings in the lead up to the Iraq war, nobody wanted it, but Tony fucking Blair was determined to follow Dubya in that idiotic endeavor.

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