Carl Jones (48) is a struggling stand up comedian and a devoted father with a dream of becoming a star. Instead, he performs at holiday camps and bachelor parties, barely making enough money to provide for his family.
The pressure is mounting as his wife is pregnant with their third child and good gigs are hard to come by. It doesn’t take long and Carl, after being heckled by a drunk, loses his cool: right there, on the stage, he explodes and rips into the people watching and the state of the country they live in.
The video of his tirade makes it onto YouTube and becomes an overnight sensation. People identify with Carl and, out of nowhere, the forgotten man has suddenly become the voice of the nation.
His new-found fame draws the attention of Sheila Wells, an ambitious politician and the leader of the Centre Party. With a general election on the horizon, she offers him a platform at her rallies and Carl jumps at the chance to receive the exposure he’s always longed for.
The tour is a hit - the party is climbing up the polls and Carl is realising his dream. But it comes at a price: his wife’s pregnancy suffers from complications, yet he is not there for her. His older son wants to get married, but the father has more important things on his mind. And his younger son has just come back home from university, dazed and confused, yet his father is nowhere to be seen.
The bigger Carl gets, the more distant his family becomes. It all escalates when the Centre Party shocks the nation and finishes third in the election - but Carl is not there for the birth of his first daughter.
Finally fulfilling a lifelong ambition, Carl takes the stage at the legendary Hammersmith Apollo. He receives a hero’s welcome. However, during the show, news filters through that the Centre Party has formed a coalition with the Conservatives, betraying the millions of people who voted for them.
Although innocent, he is exposed as a fraud and immediately turned into a villain. People’s frustration is matched by his anger when he storms into the party headquarters. To his surprise, Sheila Wells is as distraught as he is. Understanding the pressure under which she was put in the aftermath of the announcement, Carl finally sees that he was in no way prepared to play with fire and they have been burned as a result.
All is done. Ridiculed and rattled, he heads home to the family he’s probably lost. Finally realising the full implication of what he has done and seeing the damage that his quest for fame has caused to the country and the people he loves, he desperately wants to set things right.
In a long speech to his newborn daughter he apologises for everything he’s done and the world he has brought her into. We don’t know whether his family accept him back, but her big blue eyes tell us that they just might.