Advertisement

‘Comedy is hard, I’m not a comedian’: Elizabeth May explains her bizarre speech

WATCH: The annual parliamentary press gallery dinner is a chance for politicians and journalists to laugh and joke at their own and others’ expense. But, Green Party leader Elizabeth May took it a step too far and spent Monday saying sorry for her attempt at political comedy. Mike Le Couteur reports.

VANCOUVER – Green party leader Elizabeth May made quite the splash with her speech at the Press Gallery dinner on Saturday.

The annual event is known for its funny and poignant speeches, but May’s received a lot more attention than usual.

May ended her speech by proclaiming her support for Omar Khadr, who was freed on bail in Edmonton last week, by dropping an F-bomb.

WATCH: Elizabeth May drops an f-bomb during her press gallery dinner speech

“Welcome back, Omar Khadr. It matters to say it. Welcome back, Omar Khadr. You’re home,” said May in a video that has been posted to YouTube.

Story continues below advertisement

“Omar Khadr, you’ve got more class than the whole f—-ing cabinet,” she said, referring to the Conservative party, before being escorted off the stage by Transport Minister Lisa Raitt.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

In retrospect, May says her speech taking cabinet to task over its treatment of Omar Khadr wasn’t funny. She says politicians are expected to be funny, edgy and self-depreciating, and she is “totally apologetic” about her speech.

WATCH: Elizabeth May joins Sonia Sunger on Global News’ BC1 to apologize for her comments.

“I had an idea for some ideas that would be funny that didn’t work,” she says. “I had travelled far too much the last 48 hours before doing the speech and was recovering from flu. It’s not an excuse, I make no excuses, but it was in the context of trying to be funny and edgy.”

Story continues below advertisement

“And it didn’t work.”

May says she was just trying to think of funny ideas.

“One of my ideas was because I’m so square, and everybody knows I never swear, that I thought if I used some of those words, it would make people think the speech was, you know, me being different and funny,” she adds.

May says she did have wine with dinner, but was getting over the flu so she was trying to drink as much water as possible.

May says she was not “pointing the finger” at the federal government about Khadr’s case and release from prison. “It was only at the very end, and I thought of this flying back that morning from home, the coincidence that there was this theme song from a 1970s TV show, that was Welcome Back Kotter, I thought that could work in the speech and be very funny.”

“One knows that comedy is hard and I’m not a comedian,” she says.

“I apologize fully because I used words that I thought would work in the context of that room as humour that are completely not me and not the way I want to be represented, or represent myself, across Canada.”

WATCH: Global National’s Mike Le Couteur was co-host of the dinner. He speaks to Sonia Sunger about what happened:

May says she wants Khadr to know Canada is a country that gives people second chances and new beginnings and she hopes he can get that.

Story continues below advertisement

If given another chance herself, May says she would not try to give a speech when she had so little sleep. “There’s lots I’ve been able to do, comedy is not one of those things.”

“I’m not going to try to do comedy ever again when I’ve had so little sleep,” she says.

Sponsored content

AdChoices