IT was the late, great political philosopher Bob Monkhouse who said: “They laughed when I said I wanted to become a comedian.” Pause. “They’re not laughing now.” One suspects laughter when Boris Johnson first said he wanted to become Prime Minister. Pause. They’re still laughing now.

It started as soon as the PM stood up and announced in ritual fashion: “This morning I had ministerial meetings with colleagues …” After the recent spate of ministerial resignations, the declaration was greeted with laughter in which, to his credit, the PM joined heartily.

But, beyond that engaging, collegiate titter, his responses yesterday were poor, the same stock recitations about jobs, taxes, gropes. He could just leave a tape recording on the chair.

Labour opposition leader Keir Starmer opened proceedings with no laughing matter: the alleged predatory sexual behaviour of Johnson’s recently fired deputy chief whip, Chris Pincher. There followed gross details of bottoms and groins. Sir Keir asked the House to accept that, while “not easy listening” – correct – this was merited by the seriousness of the situation. Why, despite knowing previously about Pincher’s behaviour, had Boris still appointed him to a position of power?

Boris blustered that, as soon as he’d heard about the recent allegation, Pincher had lost “his status as a Conservative MP.” Gosh, imagine losing that sort of status.

Sir Keir quoted Johnson’s alleged comment years ago about Pincher: “Pincher by name, Pincher by nature.” Had he really said that?

Johnson replied: “I’m not going to trivialise what happened.” We’ll take that as a yes then. He said that, last Friday, he had acted “immediately”, in the sense of years later.

Sir Keir alluded to the recent flood of resignations: “Isn’t this the first recorded case of the sinking ships fleeing the rat?” Good one. Took a bit to sink in but, after a short delay, it was greeted with bellows of appreciative laughter.

Johnson responded: “He talks about integrity. He himself is facing criminal investigation.” Willy waving about who had the smallest criminal record.

Sir Keir: “What a pathetic spectacle.” Well, yes. But he’d another good line, referring to the Cabinet’s “charge of the lightweight brigade”. More loud laughter. Of those remaining Cabinet members he asked: “Doesn’t the country deserve better than a Z-list of nodding dogs?”

Blowing so hard that his fringe flew up from his eyes, Johnson averred that tough times were not the occasion to waddle away.

Talking of waddling blowhards, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford was also, like Starmer, on good form yesterday, deploying a playful tone rather than his usual bombast. “It’s easy to forget that, only 10 days ago, the Prime Minister was dreaming of a third term.” And now? “It’s a minor miracle that he’s even made it through to Prime Minister’s Questions.”

The Scottish people’s champ added that Johnson “really ought to see the faces behind him”, inferring he faced the chop. Recently, Mr Blackford compared the PM to Monty Python’s Black Knight, who fought on despite the “flesh wound” of losing both arms.

Yesterday, Mr B continued the Python palaver, saying of the PM: “He is actually the dead parrot. Whether he knows it or not, he’s now an ex-Prime Minister.”

As ever, though, the deepest wounds came from Johnson’s own side. Former minister Tim Loughton asked: “Can the Prime Minister think of any circumstance in which he might resign?” Laughter.

Gary Sambrook (Con) said Johnson’s reported suggestion that drink was behind Pincher’s behaviour in the Carlton Club last week was an insult to victims. The PM, he said, should “take responsibility and resign”.

This was greeted by applause from the Labour benches, prompting fury from the Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, who said they “ought to be embarrassed by clapping”.

There was more embarrassment for Johnson when, advised by veteran Tory foe David Davis to resign "before it becomes impossible for him to do his job”, Johnson deployed inappropriate House decorum: “I thank him very much.” More laughter.

Following PMQs, recently departed Health Secretary Sajid Javid made a personal statement in which he said that, having just quit, he was “not one of life’s quitters”. I see. He spoke about “the importance of integrity”. The importance of what, now? MPs looked around for a translator.

“I am instinctively a team player,” said Sajid, walking off with the ball. The problem, he explained, was that any team was only “as good as its team captain”. All eyes turned to Johnson – that’s you, that is.

When Mr Javid was done, Johnson beetled off with back bent. “Bye, Boris!” they shouted.