- The British prime minister’s impersonator may share his looks, but his politics are a world away
- Drew Galdron has been impersonating Johnson for 10 years, and now Johnson is prime minister, business is booming
He has got Boris Johnson's floppy hair, stooped posture and unkempt attire down to a tee: Drew Galdron is the British prime minister's foremost lookalike.
The stand-up comedian and impressionist visited Hong Kong this week and was spotted having his hair done, greeting baffled tourists at the Tsim Sha Tsui harbourfront, gazing out upon the former British colony's skyline from the Star Ferry and shouting slogans in support of Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement.
"The real Boris isn't prepared to say anything in favour of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. So I'm here to show my support and my solidarity with people who have been sold out by Conservative prime ministers," he declares.
At 36, Galdron is nearly two decades younger than Johnson, 55, who took over from Theresa May last July before winning a general election in December. However, he says he has been making a living from impersonating the eccentric, blonde-haired politician for nearly 10 years, appearing multiple times a month at events performing satirical songs.
"It was 15 years ago that I was told I was starting to look like Boris Johnson. And I didn't expect I would go from there to satirising him full time, but fate works in mysterious ways," he says, adding that "business has been booming" since Johnson took the top job late last year.
Over the years, Galdron has honed Johnson's plummy aristocratic stammer, sheepish facial expressions, wild gesticulations and penchant for peppering his speech with arcane phrases and populist statements. Galdron's ability to impersonate the leader may be impressive, but their political stances couldn't be further apart.
"People have often asked me in the past eight years or so, 'Are you related to Boris Johnson? Are you his love child and I always tell them 'No, I'm his conscience': completely separate and divorced from him," Galdron says. "More through fun than fear", he lends his likeness to events protesting against Johnson's leadership, particularly Britain leaving the European Union.
"I've been in a unique position in the last six months to oppose the whole agenda of Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party in Britain under his leadership," he says. "The main question now, of course, since Brexit is inevitably happening, is to still ask: is it worth it?
"There's an awful lot being spent and the joke of it is that Boris and his cohort are insistent that Britain is completely ready for this and that we're prepared to go it alone as a great nation independently, but then we find out earlier this month that the country can't even fund enough to make Big Ben chime. It's quite embarrassing."
The two men's paths crossed in person during Johnson's first term as Mayor of London, a position he held from 2008 to 2016, at a reception he was hosting for Pride, an event celebrating the LGBT community. Having turned up wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with his stage name, "Faux BoJo", Galdron was clocked by Johnson and the pair shared a smile and a photograph. But the comedian couldn't resist teasing his doppelgAnger.
"Later on, (Johnson) was talking to a women's rights activist during the function about me and they were both looking at me. I leaned over and said, 'I say to my friends that I'm the gay Boris and my friends are cheeky enough to say: 'There's a straight Boris?' The look on his face was priceless."
Strolling around Tsim Sha Tsui, uttering the British prime minister's proclamations, Galdron posed for photographs with tourists and waved two union flags. He was accompanied by Howard X, the Hong Kong-Australian performer who impersonates Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, and is known for bringing world leader lookalikes to the city, including Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Rodrigo Duterte, a gang of actors he terms "The Tyrants".
"It costs a lot of money to look this bad," Howard quipped, as the two performers had their hair cut and applied make-up to transform into their alter egos.
Galdron also takes umbrage with Johnson's image as a messy-haired fool, which political commentators have long speculated is a carefully crafted pageant to make the leader appear innocuous and relatable, despite descending from the upper classes and studying at the exclusive all-boys boarding school Eton College.
Although he led the Conservative Party to its biggest victory since 1987, Johnson has been criticised for dishonesty during his campaigning " both for the leadership as well as Britain to leave the European Union. He has also been scrutinised for his controversial comments regarding racial minorities living in the UK and single mothers, among an assortment of other targets.
"To a lot of English people, it seems that the image of Boris Johnson as a buffoon actually translates as somehow relatable, down-to-earth guy who tells it like it is. To those same people I'm often quite disrespectful and, funnily enough, they don't like it when I tell it like it is," Galdron says.
I've been in a unique position in the last six months to oppose the whole agenda of Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party in Britain under his leadershipDrew Galdron, Boris Johnson lookalike
The real Johnson was last spotted in the city in 2013 as part of a week-long trip to China during which he met the then head of the city's administration, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, and gave a speech to business leaders at the British Chamber of Commerce. His half-brother Max Johnson has lived and worked in Hong Kong since 2013 and founded an investment firm in the city; he told the Post last year that he has confidence in his older sibling's ability to deliver Brexit, and revealed that he has considered going into politics himself.
In a documentary released last year, Galdron explained his grass roots activism is in opposition to a "toxic side of English culture" he feels has risen since the EU referendum. "I've been identifying for some time now as only European: what it means to be English has become more about being scared, obsessing over fear and self-righteousness. And that's something I have to stand up to."
However, he says that the anti-Brexit community that has emerged in recent years is a source of motivation and optimism. "It gives me the drive to keep campaigning for the prosperity of the country we want to live in."
If the pair met now, Galdron says he would ask Johnson: "What the hell have you done?"
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