EP67 – Armando Iannucci – I’m not a political satirist!

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EP67 – Armando Iannucci – I’m not a political satirist!

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Total run time: 1 hour 36 mins 44 secs.

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About Armando Iannucci…

Armando Iannucci (@aiannucci) is a Scottish satirist, writer, television director and radio producer. He’s best known for The Armando Iannucci Shows, The Day Today, Knowing Me, Knowing You, Veep and I’m Alan Partridge.  

I got him on to talk about how he got started in radio, what it was like moving radio shows to TV and other visual mediums with no experience in them, how he picks the people he collaborates with, the draw backs of having a fanbase at his level and most interestingly, why he doesn’t like being labeled as a satirist.

You Don’t forget! Once you’ve listened to the podcast remember to tweet him your suggestions for his new book title using the hashtag “#MITLE“.

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Here’s a list of questions we covered…

Early career / Start in radio…

  • How did you get started in radio / producing for radio?  [ 0 mins 0 secs]
  • How was working on the shows you enjoyed as a child? [4 mins 49 secs]
  • The value of constructive feedback in the early stages of his career. [7 mins 56 secs]
  • Why radio? Was it easier than TV to get into back then? [1 min]

Random Questions…

  • Did you find learning 17th-century religious language helpful in writing comedy in the way he uses language in everything he’s written? [9 mins 50 secs]
  • Why he quit his full time job at the BBC to go freelance. [19 mins]
  • What was the first day like as a freelancer? [22 mins]
  • Do you feel like you’re still faking it as a writer? [33 mins 50 secs]
  • Does having an OBE undermine your attempts to satirize the Royal Family etc? [45 mins]
  • How did you decide to go with Peter / PBJ as a management firm? [50 mins 30 secs]
  • Do you still need management? [52 mins 31 secs]

Social media…

  • What’s his relationship like with Twitter / social media and people being able to give him immediate feedback? [43 mins 20 secs]
  • What’s his relationship like with social media? [1 hour 08 mins]
  • Did you think Alan Partridge worked on YouTube? [1 hour 11 mins]
    • Would he do any more YouTube based content?


  • How was moving a successful radio show to TV? [12 mins 55 secs]
  • Did you actually want to move radio shows to TV? [16 mins]
  • How did he know what would be good / right / purchased by a TV or radio channel when working on a script / project? [20 mins 45 secs]
  • How The Day Today came into being. [23 mins]
  • What was it like writing with Chris Morris on The Day Today? [29 mins]
  • The difference between a UK and US writing room. [39 mins]
  • What are his thoughts on political stand up vs satire. [40 mins]
  • How does he wrote political stand up when the state of politics is the way it is. [41 mins]
  • Does satire ever actually change anything? [42 mins 30 secs]
  • Are there too many awards in TV? [48 mins 12 secs]
  • How he thinks the commissioning process (both in TV and radio) has changed over the course of his career. [54 mins 20 secs]
  • Are there any shows you made early in your career that you don’t think would get made now? [56 mins 24 secs]
  • How did you go about picking the people to collaborate with? [57 mins 37 secs]
  • The Thick of It was shot in multicam in two takes. One to script and one improvised. Is that a technique he would recommend, or is there a particular reason it only works for the thick of it? [59 mins]
  • Is comedy of it’s time? [1 hour 1 mins]
  • What was it like working with Kevin Day and Mark Thomas on Loose Talk on the radio – and does he agree it didn’t work on TV – if so, why? [1 hour 3 mins 32 secs]
  • Have you had to turn down any TV /radio projects that you regret? [1 hour 4 mins]
  • You have so many fans now that you’re probably a “banker” in TV terms. Does the number of sycophant fans ever stop you from progressing as you don’t get as much real feedback? [1 hour 5 mins]
  • How hard was it to move On The Hour to TV? (as The Day Today)
  • How viable is the writer/producer route in this day and age? (i.e. as opposed to just being one of those things)
  • Which medium do you prefer? TV? Radio? Other?
  • What was the creative writing process like with Chris Morris? Did they sit down and brainstorm ideas or bring their own ideas to the table?

Other questions…


  • What are the best books on comedy, writing, stand up etc you’ve read? [ 1 hour 14 mins]
  1. David Quanticks podcast.
  2. Woody Allen
  • Best show you’ve ever seen? [1 hour 14 mins]
  1. Father Ted
  2. Larry Sanderson Show
  3. Battlestar Galactica (updated version)
  • What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made and how did you get over it? [1 hour 15 mins 30 secs]
  • What are the common misconceptions people have about what you do? [1 hour 17 mins 14 secs]
  • What is the most interesting thing you do that nobody else ever seens? [1 hour 21 secs]
  • Who do you think is the most underrated person in your industry? [1 hour 18 mins 15 secs]
  • When you look back over your career, what memory makes you most happy? [1 hour 20 mins]
  • What do you think is the biggest problem in the comedy industry and how would you go about solving it? [1 hour 19 mins]
  • Best bit of advice you’ve ever been given? [1 hour 23 mins]
  • Best bit of advice you would give a comedian who wants to make a career in comedy? [1 hour 23 mins]











Simon Caine is a comedian, author, podcaster, writer and social media manager. He's the host of the Ask The Industry Podcast (iTunes link) , writer of jokes for Twitter and teller of gags on the London comedy scene. He's also the person writing this and it is taking all his willpower not to make a "Simon Says" joke.
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