Last night, Tuesday February 14, saw The Button Factory hosted a highly entertaining event centred around a Piranha-style Hustings. This took place as an aftermath of the election campaign’s first official hustings at the end of the Fifth Student Council earlier that evening. The stage was set for comedy, as the “uneasy alliance of the Piranha and Ents” sought to subject the prospective SU election candidates to good-natured mockery. A row of chairs awaited the candidates onstage beneath the banner of their unforgiving caricatures courtesy of the Piranha.
Admittedly, the night took off to a rather slow start but began to pick up pace as more people, most significantly the candidates and their campaign teams, trickled in from Council, until the growing audience was awash with a rainbow of campaign t-shirts.
Piranha editor Hannah Beresford began the proceedings by welcoming “hacks of all shapes and sizes and different coloured t-shirts” to come together in communal ridicule of the candidates, and thus they took to the stage with wittily astute introductions. The PowerPoint presentation slides above their heads featured comical depictions of them; most striking was that of the faces of Welfare candidates superimposed onto the bodies of various Teletubbies.
Next came a group game of Never Have I Ever, with questions not so subtlety directed at specific candidates, for example the witty “Never have I ever been chair of the GAA despite never starting a single game”, at which presidential candidate Bryan Mallon was compelled to wryly sip his pint.
A game of “Election Bingo” was ongoing throughout the night, with candidates and audience members alike required to drink in the instance of one of the candidates “Failing to be funny”, “Blatantly trying to get votes”, and “Making a clearly prepared joke”, to name but a few.
Other highlights included a probe into the romantic life of Jonah Craig in a bid to discover who is to be the next “First Lady of Ents”, and prospective University Times Editor Dominic McGrath being made to carry out an online quiz to determine his “Kardashian percentage”. McGrath, it transpired, is a well-balanced 37% Kim, 32% Khloe and 31% Kourtney. It also came to light that the uncontested Communications and Marketing candidate, Úna Harty, ran a One Direction Twitter fan account in her teens which had, at its height, a whopping 48, 000 followers.
Subsequent to this, the presidential candidates returned to the stage for what was termed a “battle for the heart of the apathetic, undecided voter” in which the trio were asked a series of irreverent questions including what would constitute their most embarrassing moment.
Finally, all the candidates were ushered back onstage for an X Factor Final-esque sing-song of Take That’s “Rule the World”, in what Hannah Beresford described as “one final moment of unity before you start being mean to each other in the morning.”