He could have gone for a Tommy Cooper classic or some variant on the knock, knock formula – but that just wouldn’t be Ken, would it?
Students at City University have been chuckling away in recent days over a bizarre recording of former London mayor Ken Livingstone being asked to name his favourite joke.
Livingstone responds to the light-hearted question thus: “If George Osborne fell over and broke a leg I would find that very funny.” Haha indeed. Stop, Ken, you’re killing us here...
Yet the socialist firebrand doesn’t stop there, instead going on the commit that cardinal sin of comedy – explaining a joke: “…because he is a war criminal, and one of the most evil people in the human race”, Ken says. Blimey. Steady on, old boy.
Yet maybe chancellor Osborne should count himself lucky. A broken leg is a slap on the wrist compared to some of the other misfortunes Livingstone has wished on his ideological adversaries.
In 2004 he told an interviewer: “I just long for the day I wake up and find that the Saudi Royal family are swinging from lamp-posts” and in 2012 he warned those who didn’t vote for him that they would “burn forever… [their] skin flayed for all eternity”. Defending the latter remark, he later claimed: “I refuse not to have a sense of humour”.
A tip for Ken: if you want people to know you’re joking, try swapping the violent imagery for a clever punchline or two.