James Rampton caught up with Andy Parsons ahead of the comedian’s visit to Aberdeen
Over the last decade, comedian Andy Parsons has built up a huge following as one of the regulars on BBC2’s award-winning topical news quiz Mock the Week. He has quite rightly been praised for his brilliant contributions to the highly popular TV show. He’s now returned to his first love, stand-up comedy, and has embarked on a massive nationwide tour of his new show, Live and Unleashed – But Naturally Cautious.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT TOURING?
I love the buzz of live comedy. You don’t have a TV producer or editor. Any given night will never be repeated. The audience will get something unrepeatable. What happens in that theatre stays in that theatre.
A couple of years ago, a bloke wanted to propose to his girlfriend on stage. Now that moment is an extra on one of my DVDs. That’s an extreme example, but there are always times like that when ceilings collapse or the technology fails or there’s a fire alarm in the middle of the show. People like the sense that on that night they are seeing something which will never happen again.
WHY IS CREATING A CONNECTION TO AN AUDIENCE IMPORTANT TO YOU?
I love that rapport. I used to do a double act. It was lovely to have that support on stage. But if you create a rapport with the audience when you’re an individual stand-up, you can enjoy a double act with them instead. You thrive off that.
Physically getting to places on the tour can be difficult. You can have enough of scotch eggs and buffet bars and motorway service stations. But when you finally get there, it’s great. It’s fantastic that people have come out specifically to see you. You feed off their energy, and they feed off yours. There’s a symbiosis there. When you leave the stage after two hours, it’s great to have that real crowd feeling, as opposed to the disparate groups that you had at the start of the evening.
WHAT SUBJECTS WILL YOU COVER IN THIS SHOW?
The show starts off with me deconstructing myself. Over the course of the first half, I look at all the things I could possibly be good at and systematically rule them all out. The last thing I think I’m good at is driving, but I read recently that 90% of us think we’re in the top 10% of drivers, so I’m probably rubbish at that as well! The second half is about trying to build myself back up through communal spirit, so that we end on a high. We may be disappointing individually – but if we all band together and pool our sewage, we can at least power a bus!
WILL YOU BE ADDRESSING THE CURRENT POLITICAL SITUATION?
I’ll be asking if there is any point in voting. Why should young people bother to vote? The answer is that OAPs only get free prescriptions, bus passes and pensions because they bother to vote. Imagine what the young could get if they bothered to vote – perhaps free X-Boxes and loom bands!
If you want to change anything, you have to campaign. It’s not fashionable, but badgering an MP can have an effect. Do you remember when the government tried to tax pasties and caravans and grannies? Well, a public backlash got rid of those proposed taxes. Woe betide any politician who tries to stop people enjoying Ginsters pasties on ropey family holidays with elderly relatives.
Andy Parsons: Live and Unleashed – But Naturally Cautious is at The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen, on Monday, November 23. The show starts at 8pm and tickets are priced at £16.50. Contact Aberdeen Performing Arts on 01224 641122.