The Skinny on… Armando Iannucci

Armando Iannucci returns to his hometown this month for an on-stage talk at Glasgow Film Festival; ahead of that chat, we asked Iannucci to fill out our Q&A

Feature by Jamie Dunn | 28 Feb 2022
  • Armando Iannucci

For three decades, Scottish writer-director Armando Iannucci has been a thorn in the side of the British establishment. On radio and TV, he mocked our hysterical news culture with On the Hour and The Day Today, and helped create the cringeworthy broadcaster Alan Partridge, who continues to be quoted whenever a naff TV presenter makes a gaff. His blistering satire The Thick of It skewered successive Labour and Tory governments and gave us the word “omnishambles”, which became an instant go-to phrase to describe our succession of hopeless political leaders. He took ideas from The Thick of It across the Atlantic with the movie In the Loop and the award-winning Veep, while The Death of Stalin was almost Pythonesque in its ridicule of one of the most brutal political regimes of modern history. 

Iannucci is sure to discuss some of the above and a lot more when he returns to Glasgow Film Festival for an In Conversation event this month. Before then, we catch up with the legendary satirist to take part in The Skinny’s monthly Q&A.

What’s your favourite place to visit and why?
I’m a sucker for any bookshop, anywhere, and no matter how obscure. Apart from ones that just do military history.

Favourite colour and why?
I’m terrible with colours, as anyone who knew my teenage dress sense will tell you. I wear a lot of blue, for some reason: probably because it’s boring and I don’t have to think about it.

Who was your hero growing up?
Douglas Adams. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy really inspired me to think about what comedy could do with ideas.

Whose work inspires you now?
Really good journalists with a sense of style. Marina Hyde, Rafael Behr, Matthew Parris.

What's your favourite food to cook?
Spaghetti Bolognese. Sorry for being so obvious.

What three people would you invite to your dinner party and what are you cooking?
Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump, and Recep Erdoğan. I would cook them Laxative Pie.

What’s your all-time favourite album?
Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, conducted by Rafael Kubelik.

What’s the worst film you’ve ever seen?
Cats. It got us through the early days of lockdown. We would watch it nightly in five-minute bursts, then have fun dissecting how bad those five minutes were.

What book would you take to a protracted period of government-enforced isolation?
Martin Chuzzlewit. It's Dickens’ funniest novel, and one of the funniest books ever written

Who’s the worst?
Us lot. And the other lot.

When did you last cry?
During Gogglebox. I think because they were all crying at something really moving. It might have been Strictly.

What are you most scared of?
Being burned alive in a tank going into war.

When did you last vomit and why?
On a ferry off the coast of New Zealand, having just been treated to oysters. It turned out not to be such a nice treat after all.

Tell us a secret?
I buried three of them somewhere in Dumbartonshire.

Which celebrity could you take in a fight?
Judi Dench.

If you could be reincarnated as an animal, which animal would it be?
A hyena.

What’s your favourite place to visit when you’re back in Glasgow and why?
Always catching up on family and friends. A good Italian restaurant helps. Santa Lucia on Ingram Street is always fun.

What’s your favourite comedy movie?

In Conversation with Armando Iannucci, Glasgow Film Festival, 6 Mar, 5.45pm