George Osbourne embarrassed himself at the GQ Awards by making a joke about politicians, w**kers and sticky pages that went down like a lead balloon.
The chancellor was presented with an award for Politician Of The Year and took to the stage to make a brief speech.
However his attempts to fit in with the GQ crowd went disastrously wrong when he suggested that the upmarket men’s mag was read by teenage boys who “stick the pages together” in their bedrooms.
The way-off-target joke, in which he also slammed politicians as “w**kers”, showed only that Osbourne had no idea about GQ’s readership but was, for many, eclipsed by the fact that he won the award in the first place.
As Osbourne took to the stage in the Royal Opera House, in front of a collection of actors, musicians, models and fashion designers, he clearly felt out of his depth.
“I’ve just come from addressing about 300 bankers in the City of London and it says something about my profession that I was still the most unpopular person in the room,” he began. “It is a fine recognition.”
So far, fair enough, but things went rapidly downhill when the Tory MP tried out a bit of smut on his audience, which included which included U2, Keith Richards, Johnny Depp, Kylie Minogue, Salman Rushdie, Bradley Cooper and Matt Smith.
“I’m not sure who actually reads the politics pages of GQ magazine though. I suspect they are the only pages of the magazine that a teenage boy hasn’t stuck together in reading the magazine.
“Some might say that’s because the w**kers are on the page rather than reading them.”
Osbourne’s joke was met with a conspicuous lack of laughter and several audible groans.
Stephen Fry, who was next on stage, berated the chancellor, saying: “What were you thinking? Are you aware the magazine has male models? Were you thinking of Maxim?”
An embarrassed Osbourne left the venue soon afterwards and was slammed by host David Mitchell who said the MP had “lowered the tone”.
For many, however, it was not a case of a misplaced joke, but of an undeserved award.
“George Osbourne won GQ politician of the year?! That's a joke in itself nevermind the fact his joke bombed,” tweeted GraceM4L.
“Why is GQ giving George Osbourne Politician of the Year? What has he done other than create misery. Didn't realise it was a Tory mag,” said RickFulton1 on Twitter.
“George Osbourne wins the GQ Politician of the year award. Commiseration's to Gaddafi and Mubarak, who came 2nd and 3rd respectively,” wrote samueljfry.