Trolls, Bin Strikes & Emojis: An evening with Joe Lycett & Jess Phillips

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Have you ever wondered what would happen if a comedian and an MP sat down for a chinwag?

Well, last night that very thing took place as comedian Joe Lycett and Jess Phillips MP took to the stage of Birmingham Town Hall to discuss everything from internet trolls to the city hosting the 2022 Commonwealth games.

It all started off with a topic that has had Brummies across the city raging for months. “Jess, what’s going on with the bins?” Joe asked the MP for Yardley, who admitted that she was just about as fed up of the bin strikes as the rest of the city was.

From there, the conversations went off in every direction, covering Jess’ professional career as a politician, leading Joe daring her to text a unicorn emoji to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, to the pair asking sign language interpreter Claire to translate places across the country from Cockermouth to an NSFW phrase that I’m not able to repeat in this review.

Next came the discussion about tackling internet trolls, something that Joe knows only too well from his popular emails that he openly shares with readers in his book, Parsnips Buttered.

But in between the humour came serious points when Jess was asked by a member of the audience, ‘Who has a harder job: Women in politics or women on panel shows?’ and whether it’s becoming easier for women, in particular, to deal with trolls with the negative feedback that they receive through social media.

A feminist and not one to hold back in speaking her opinions, Jess told the audience how she still believes that there is so much more work to be done when it comes to women’s rights and that it’s something she will continue to fight for during her time in parliament.

Other highlights included Joe asking questions to Jess that he’d sent to guests of BBC’s Radio 1 Live Lounge Month which included her describing a texture of a banana and what she prefers to hold her documents together with, a staple, paperclip or folder.

Celebrating everything us Brummies love, from Saturday nights in Snobs to Joe telling the audience about Jimmy Carr watching Strictly Come Dancing with Stephen Hawking, At Home with Joe Lycett & Jess Phillips MP was an evening filled with witty banter and an interesting insight to life in the city as both a politician and comedian.

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