Interview with Rory Bremner: ‘ADHD is my greatest friend and worst enemy’

Interview by Charlotte Woods 

Rory Bremner, renowned political satirist, talks about King’s and his mental health.

 

Rory Bremner, alumnus and Fellow of King’s College London, is a successful satirist, playwright and comedian, known best for his impressions of politicians on television.

But behind the comic persona is a man living with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

He has openly discussed the condition in interviews and even presented a BBC Radio 4 show about coping with it.

Restlessness and impulsivity

Bremner says he wasn’t even aware that he had the condition when he was at King’s: “I was just doing too many things at once, as usual – plays, lectures, stand-up comedy on the London pub circuit – way too much.”

“And probably talking too much in seminars. Whenever I see contemporaries from King’s days, I feel the urge to apologise!”  Now he recognises that a lot of his characteristics, such as restlessness and impulsivity, “are pretty textbook ADHD stuff.”

“Someone recently said it was like watching six TV screens, all showing different things, and flicking your eyes between them. But every now and again they all show the same thing, and then you’re really focused.”

Helpful

Bremner has an ambivalent relationship with his condition, saying, “I sort of look at ADHD as my greatest friend and my worst enemy.”  But ADHD can be helpful for a comic performer, as you have to think on your feet: “It keeps me interested (in too much) and makes connections which are useful for a comedian.”

“On the other hand, I hate the scrapes it gets me into when I’ve taken on too much, or forgotten something, or yet again failed to be organised.”

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