Whatever we were expecting for Mhairi Black's post-politics career, it probably wasn't a comedy show at the Fringe.

The SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South announced in July last year she was quitting Westminster at the next election, dubbing it "one of the most unhealthy workplaces you could ever be in" and "a toxic environment".

This summer she will bring her "dark sense of humour" to the Gilded Balloon as she promises to pull back the curtain on the machinations of the UK parliament.

While it's something of an unexpected move, Ms Black is far from the only politician to seek a career in showbiz after hanging up the boots - some with more success than others.

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Cheeky boy

We've probably got Have I Got News For You to thank for all this.

The popular BBC political panel comedy has long come in for criticism for allowing the likes of Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage to launder their reputations through cuddly send-ups of themselves, but even if one were to argue that Ian Hislop and co led indirectly to the vote for Brexit, the worst charge that can be levelled at them is the career of Lembit Öpik.

For those in need of a refresher, Mr Öpik is a Northern Irish former politician of Estonian descent, who was a regular on the programme both during and immediately after his time as the Liberal Democrat MP for Montgomeryshire.

Formerly best known for his pervasive fear of an asteroid wiping out the human race - a subject he wrote about for both the BBC and the Guardian - he earned himself a reputation, in large part thanks to HIGNFY, of being "not your average politician".

The Herald: Llanidloes Fancy Dress last Friday 5th July 2002. Lembit Opik's and the real Lembit Opik

While a serving MP, Mr Öpik dated one half of regrettable Romanian pop duo The Cheeky Girls, appeared on both Celebrity Apprentice and Who Wants to be a Millionaire and just generally gave the impression he wasn't that fussed about constituency work.

When he lost his seat at the 2010 election he appeared on HIGNFY the following night to take the slings and arrows of the panel, thus launching an not-altogether-edifying career in showbiz.

Later that year he made his stand-up comedy debut on the bill with a young Josh Widdecombe for a set featuring shoe ventriloquism which was, one contemporary reviewer said, "largely gag-free".

As well as the obligatory stint in the jungle - more on that later - he'd go on to appear on Ant & Dec's Saturday Night TakeawayCelebrity JuiceCome Dine With Me, and Bargain Hunt in between stints as a professional wrestler, an actor in Adam and the Asbos: The Movie and chairman of the parliament of the Space Kingdom of Asgardia, an unrecognised micro-nation within the borders of Austria. He was re-elected last year.

As of 2024 Mr Öpik is appearing on GB News and has given talks on "wokeness" at the UKIP party conference.

Perhaps more suited to comedy is former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale. During the 2016 election campaign the party leaders sat down with comedy character Gary: Tank Commander. Asked what made her better than Willie Rennie, the MSP who had come out as gay earlier that year replied as quick as a flash: "I'm not a big fan of willy..."

A good gag, but with her party thoroughly tonked at the ballot box Ms Dugdale made the controversial choice to appear on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! while still a sitting MSP.

It enamoured her neither to voters in the Lothian region or on the show and she became the second person to be voted out of the jungle.

Cats, spats and conductor hats

Arguably the most famous example of a politician dabbling in reality TV is that of George Galloway, who appeared on Celebrity Big Brother in 2006.

'Gorgeous George' had been booted out of the Labour Party for his stance on the Iraq War and the previous year had won an upset victory in the London constituency of Bethnal Green & Bow standing for his newly-formed RESPECT party.

That particular word was in rather short supply after a toe-curling task in the house in which Mr Galloway pretended to be a cat lapping cream from the cupped hands of actress Rula Lenska.

The Herald: George Galloway on Celebrity Big Brother

It didn't do too much lasting harm to his political career, it must be said: the Dundee-born firebrand was later elected as MP for Bradford West in an upset landslide, and earlier this year took close to 40% of the vote to return to parliament as the representative for Rochdale.

Mr Galloway's opponent in Bethnal Green & Bow would later dabble in reality TV herself, Oona King appearing on ITV’s skating show Dancing on Ice in 2013 and causing a dislocated shoulder for her partner when she accidentally tripped him up.

Ed Balls famously became a meme when he appeared on Strictly Come Dancing, the second time he'd achieved viral fame after posting his own name on Twitter while trying to do a search, while the current leader of the House of Commons, Penny Mordaunt, was taught to dive by Tom Daley on ITV's The Splash. The less said about Anne Widdecombe's dancing the better.

It's not all feline antics and Gangnam Style though.

If you're of a certain age you probably associate Michael Portillo with the so-called 'Portillo Moment', the point at the 1997 general election when it became clear the Labour landslide was so seismic that even the defence secretary had lost his safe seat.

If you're a little younger you probably associate him with garish trousers and trains.

As well as a regular spot on This Week, the former Conservative MP has made a series of travel documentaries, usually rail-based, in the UK, Spain, India, Australia and the United States.

The other side of the pipeline

Of course, it's not just politicians going into showbiz - sometimes we get the opposite side of the coin.

By far the most notable, and regrettable, example is Donald Trump who went from playing a businessman on The Apprentice to having access to the US nuclear codes.

Arnold Schwarzenegger fared a little better as governor of California before returning to acting, though it's perhaps for the best that his Austrian birth meant The Terminator could lever get his hands on those launch codes.

Ronald Reagan, so the story goes, was actually frightened into a détente with the USSR after a screening of 1983 television movie The Day After which he wrote in his diary was "very effective and left me greatly depressed".

The film depicts a world following a hot war between the Americans and the Soviets and was released in a year where that was a genuine possibility. The shooting down of Korean Air Lines Flight 007 over Russian airspace raised tensions, and a false alarm weeks later could have resulted in a nuclear strike from Moscow had lieutenant colonel Stanislav Petrov not recognised it for what it was.

Later that year NATO exercise Able Archer 83, designed to be the most realistic yet, so alarmed the Kremlin that Soviet missiles were loaded onto fuelled-up planes and ICBMs were placed on high alert - in turn raising alert levels in the West. By 1987 Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev had signed a major arms control deal, thanks in no small part to The Day After.

Before becoming president of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy was an actor, even playing Paddington Bear in the Ukrainian dub of the 2014 film, while Italian comedian Beppe Grillo took 'politics is a joke', turned it into the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and saw it turn into one of the parties of government.

We can probably expect a similar take on the machinations of Westminster from Ms Black - it remains to be seen if it'll be funny.