Theresa May coughs through a catastrophic party conference speech plagued by pranks and a crumbling set

Theresa May's speech to the Conservative Party conference last night was a "nightmare," from the moment when comedian Lee Nelson (last seen showering corrupt FIFA boss with handfuls of money) crept up to the stage and handed the Prime Minister a P45 form (the form that bosses in the UK use to formally fire their employees), telling her "Boris told me to do it."

But that was just for starters. May coughed uncontrollably through the rest of the speech in which she attempted to find some reason for hope in her party's dismal performance at the country's most precarious moment since the Blitz: ineffectually bungling the Brexit negotiations while her own cabinet stabs her and each other in the back in a continuation of last year's guerrilla warfare over the leadership in the wake of the Brexit referendum and the resignation of disgraced former PM David "Porky" Cameron.

Then, as if that wasn't enough, letters started falling off the sign over the PM's shoulder, which started off reading "Building a country that works for everyone" but which read "Building a country that works or veryone" by the end of the speech.

All in all, another night of business as usual for the party of mediocre rich people.

Delegates rose from the floor to cheer in encouragement, while her finance minister, Phillip Hammond, came to the stage to offer a cough lozenge.

For May, the timing was particularly cruel, amid continued speculation over her leadership in the aftermath of a poor result in a general election she called for June.

She was fiercely criticized for calling the snap election and used the speech to apologize for a campaign which she labeled as "too scripted, too presidential."

"We did not get the victory we wanted because our national campaign fell short. It was too scripted, too presidential, and it allowed the Labour party to paint us as the party of continuity when the public wanted to hear a message of change," she said.

"I hold my hands up for that. I take responsibility. I led the campaign, and I am sorry."

Theresa May's nightmare speech: a prankster, a lost voice and a stage set fail
[James Masters/CNN]