Anyone who logged in to ‘Stay Home for Labour’ during lockdown would have been surprised to hear that Boris Johnson was invited to take part.
Well, a Boris Johnson impersonator. Who sits on the toilet.
Boris on the Bog is the virtual brainchild of Alan Mitchell, a character actor and impressionist with 25 years professional experience on stage, TV and many a boring voiceover for trainee accountants.
Alan has performed Stand Up and Sketch on and off the London circuit for 20 years whilst working in education – both performing arts and special needs.
Also a professional player of Timpani & Percussion, Alan has banged and thumped away since first starting in a town band in Herne Bay during the 1980s, graduating to the Kent Youth Orchestra and playing at the Festival Hall.
He is also, in yet another life, a Labour councillor in Hounslow, West London. Here he has represented the people of Feltham West Ward since 2014.
Alan was one of the first ever performers at Stand up for Labour, where he made his debut in a Chiswick show in 2012. At the time his impressions consisted of Bob Crow, Ken Livingstone, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband. His act went down particularly well and he was invited to appear in other shows.
One night in Billericay
All seemed well after one show for Ipswich Labour Party, where Alan shared the bill with Red Dwarf’s Norman Lovett and Juliet Meyers. However, what wasn’t expected was that the wheel of the car they were driving would burst on the A12 close to Billericay.
With the driver not having the best emergency cover, all the comedians were left sitting in a Service Station until 6am the following day.
‘Norman Lovett kept us entertained and laughing the whole night. Without him, it would have been a nightmare,’ said Alan.
‘The emergence of strange vehicles swopping occupants at 3am left Norm dumbfounded. “Whatever are they doing” he mused. “And what if they recognise me!”‘
‘Norm was reassured that when he was a star on TV when most of them had not been born!’
The origins of Boris on the Bog
Just before December’s General Election, Alan added a Boris impression to his repertoire.
Alan didn’t always ‘do’ a Boris but became intrigued by his ability to bluff his way out of anything so decided to create a Boris that addressed the nation from the comfort of his toilet, to show solidarity with ordinary people in an activity that we all have in common.
‘I also wanted to show that what he was talking was usually a load of c**p!’
Live work for Alan can take many forms but not having any for six months forced him to adapt to Zoom and Microsoft Teams to join in with virtual comedy evenings and take part in Labour Party meetings. ‘There often was no distinction between the two!’ he joked.
As a councillor, Alan helped set up the Feltham Response team during the pandemic by working with economic, food, and isolation sub-groups. He’s also been keeping in touch with the elderly through befriending calls and delivering medicine and groceries whilst passing on key information to local community groups and responding to their particular concerns.
Actors are remarkably resilient! But the ones I feel for and those that earn all their income from the profession and have young families to support and mortgages to pay for.
For some it’s been really hard. But as a family, actors stick together, and the Equity benevolent fund has already distributed over 1 million in support to its members most in need. An appeal is going out now
When asked what might happen to Boris on the Bog after lockdown, Alan is intrigued.
‘The thought of Boris bringing his bathroom to a theatre near you has so many branding advantages that I would have to say yes! Any chance of a sponsored commode from UNISON?’