Five Questions

Five Questions About… Andy Serkis Doing That Theresa May/Gollum Impression

The things the internet has produced.
December 10, 2018, 1:18pm
Andy Serkis as Big Tezza May
Andy Serkis as Big Tezza May (Photo via Silverfish Media)

Do you ever think about where we'd be without the internet? Less connected, sure, less informed. The internet has allowed us to find like-minded people like never before, connect with them across continents; made us all more plugged into the news cycle, to the waxes and wanes of evil as it spreads and pulses over the planet.

You think you would have known about Kony without the internet? You would not have known about Kony without the internet. You would be circling EastEnders in the Radio Times and eating a big plate of chips. You wouldn't have any opinions about palm oil at all. So the internet, ostensibly, is good.


And, yet. And yet……… also……….. this:

That's the trade-off, unfortunately. We have a laugh on here, Online. We learn some things. But it’s killing our brains one cell at a time. There's Andy Serkis being Theresa May doing Gollum. That’s happened now, and we have to watch it. That’s the internet. Here are some questions:


Listen, [does a Google News search for "Brexit", sees 1,000 headlines, instantly tunes out] something is definitely going on with Brexit at the moment, so I sort of semi-understand why now, but also: why now? Why's he done this… now? We’ve had a while on Brexit. We’ve made all our jokes and now it’s just the tedium of watching slo-mo footage of a big red bus crumple and explode. Why now?

My guess is: this is pub patter gone too far. Can you imagine being Andy Serkis these days? Can you imagine Serkis down the boozer – "Do your Gollum, Andy!" "Actually lads, I’ve had a bit of a difficult week, I was hoping we could ta—" "DO THE MONKEY! DO THAT ONE YOU DO OF A MONKEY!" – ? Serkis breathes the Gollum impression. He lives it. He is not allowed any other notes of patter. (Imagined sample dialogue from Andy Serkis's pub patter: "Can we has a pint of laa–ger, Precious?") What has happened here is he’s done a good joke in the pub – saying "blue passports" in a Gollum voice, and everyone laughed, and actually they stopped the pub quiz and got him up on the mic to do it for everyone – and on the walk home, half-drunk and high as a kite on it, he’s thought: that was a good "bit", that. I should definitely turn it into an internet video, on the internet. And that’s why this has happened now. Because of pints.


All I could think of when I was watching this for the first time was: someone had to do the makeup on him here. Someone had to find a grey wig. Someone had to print out a big fake document to hand to him at the start. Location scout a book-lined room. Get a lad in a suit to do a cameo part. Two camera set-up. Lights. Lad in a dark room editing it all together. That’s a lot of people involved in making one alright joke. That’s just… a phenomenal amount of effort to do exactly one banter. If you’ve ever filmed something, you’ll know how tedious the process is. It’s also not helped that everyone has a cameraphone now and can make a video recording at the push of one button (side-theory: single shot single camera viral videos are our versions of DIY zines, and slickly-produced videos that require editing and multiple takes are published magazines, and what Andy Serkis has done here is do an entire September issue of Vogue just to do one joke). I’ve got to the point now where I actually respect people who are trying too hard. It's so, so easy not to.


I very much wanted to go into this hating it. If you’ve not seen the video yet, I will describe it to you cold as "Andy Serkis dressed as Theresa May doing a Gollum impression about Brexit", and— yes, did your genitals shiver a little and coil up into you? Did you look at this screenshot and honestly think you might never laugh again?


– but actually, I think it's… is it good? It’s pointless, yes, utterly. But I think there’s a chance this might actually be alright. I don’t think you can do a full-laugh to this video, more one of those half-laughs you do when you just blow all the air in your mouth really quickly out your nose. But I think it defines a quality-level of internet joke that I would describe as "Yeah, I Get It" (YIGI). YIGI is favving a tweet you get the joke to – and appreciate the joke therein – but don’t actually retweet. YIGI is a thumbs up on a Facebook status you can tell your mate has tried very hard on. YIGI is recognition that a joke has happened, and that you were intellectual enough to understand it, but you didn’t actually laugh at it. YIGI is the base response to every article I’ve ever written.


— apart from dads, who have responded to Serkis’s Facebook post with a stampede of "ONE INTERNET FOR YOU, GOOD SIRE! THY HATH WON THE INTERNET FOR TODAY!" Mad how we just let dads happen, isn’t it. Just walking around, wearing polo shirts with the collar all stretched out, mildly thinking about paint, talking like a medieval knight on the internet. Purge dads. Cancel all the dads.


Think this is possibly the point where we have to admit that two years ago our country undertook a vote to send us all impossibly, irreparably mad, mad beyond belief, and it has affected all of us, and this video is just the natural progression of things. Genuinely remember going to bed on the night of the Brexit vote cheerfully thinking, 'It's fine – who's going to vote out of the EU for absolutely no reason at all?' and now here I am, two of the longest years in history later, watching Andy Serkis do a Terry May / Gollum mash-up, thinking that it’s quite good. How did it come to this.

There's some Brexit news going on right now – Theresa May maybe postponing that vote tomorrow? The possibility of another referendum? I don't know – but honestly this is just endless; an endless gauntlet of news, a vibeless woman with a face made of iron just greyly pushing us all into the abyss and everyone hoping that intricate legal loopholes can force us out of the carnage while a load of fisherman and racists cheer about the empire. Gone off our heads, haven’t we. Purge Britain. Cancel all of Britain. Or, as Gollum might say: Cancel Britainses!


This article originally appeared on VICE UK.