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Manchester, England — Sources close to Karl Pilkington say the television personality, author, comedian, radio producer, actor and long-time foil of Ricky Gervais had no idea that he led a recent national poll to become the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

“He had no idea,” said close friend Jade Lawrence speaking with BBC 4 earlier this week. “Karl was just as shocked as anyone. I bet Gervais is behind this.”

According to a July 1st Kantar opinion poll, Mr. Pilkington leaped in front of the previous frontrunner Boris Johnson. In what many are calling an astounding turn of events, Mr. Pilkington became the UK’s favorite choice by an astonishing 14 percentage points.

Both Boris Johnson and his fellow conservative competitor Jeremy Hunt have been racing across the country trying to gain support for each of their Prime Minister bids. Neither, despite significant support for rural issues such as Brexit, have garnered much enthusiasm.

The Prank That Evolved Into a Campaign

Enter comedian Ricky Gervais, who started a guerilla “elect Karl Pilkington” campaign on social media in late June. And what began as a prank, soon blossomed into a full-fledged and viable campaign to promote Mr. Pilkington to the nation’s highest office. A campaign that Karl had no idea about.

“People who live in a glass house have to answer the door,” said Mr. Pilkington speaking with the Daily Mail after he learned about his new-found popularity. “For example, in Africa, I saw a hippo in a house. Someone had a pet hippo. And they’re meant to be one of the most dangerous animals on the planet, and they had one that was sort of just wandering in and out of their house, just sort of roaming about. That’s what people like about me. I’m like the Prime Minister version of a hippo, I suppose.”

Mr. Pilkington’s ascension in the polls shocked many political insiders. However many in his native Manchester seemed to see the situation in more practical ways.

Karl Has Deep Support

“I see a vast difference between the utter buffoonery of BoJo pretending to be a man of the people,” said father of two Jacob Oldham (32). “I mean, contrasted with that of Mr. Pilkington who, while embarrassingly simple, is quite honest and direct.”

When reached for comment both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt acknowledged their steep drop in their approval numbers, but Mr. Johnson, in particular, was quick to dismiss Mr. Pilkington’s meteoric rise.

“They used to say that my chances of being PM are about as good as the chances of finding Elvis on Mars, or my being reincarnated as an olive,” said Mr. Johnson. “I used to say that if I recall correctly. None the less, we need to realise the depth of the problems we face. Unless we get on and do this thing, we will be punished for a very long time. There is a very real choice between getting Brexit done and the potential extinction of this great party. And clearly, Karl is not going to get it done.”