Addy Van Der Borgh
An Audience With Peter
Angie Le Mar
Anthony J Brown
100 Greatest Britons
From his Britain's Got Idiots show
More Andy Parsons videos
|100 Greatest Britons|
|Would you like chips with that?|
|Only in Britain...|
Best known as a regular panellist on BBC Two's Mock the Week, Andy Parsons started in comedy as a double-act with Henry Naylor, who he met at Cambridge University, where they became part of the Footlights group.
They started TBA, which was billed as London's first sketch comedy club, and performed together at the Edinburgh Fringe seven times between 1993 and 2001. In 1998, they also performed in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.
Like many writers, they cut their teeth on Radio 4's Week Ending, and were offered their own show, Parsons and Naylor’s Pull-Out Sections in 2001, which ran for nine series on Radio 2. In 2008, Parsons wrote and starred in his own Radio 4 sitcom, The Lost Weblog Of Scrooby Trevithick.
On TV, the pair also wrote for Spitting Image, Noel's House Party, Hale and Pace and Alas Smith And Jones, among others.
Parsons performed his first solo show at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2000, and returned regularly until 2006. He is a regular member of the Comedy Store topical show Cutting Edge and has appeared at the Montreal Just For Laughs comedy fesival in 2006; the New Zealand Laugh Fest in 2003, 2004 and 2006; and Cat Laughs, Kilkenny, in 2005.
He won a Time Out award for comedy in 2002, and was named best international act by the New Zealand Comedy Guild in 2004.
Apart from Mock The Week, his other TV credits include Live At The Apollo, QI, Live Floor Show, They Think It's All Over and the BBC's Stand-Up Show.
Andy Parsons DVD recording
Is it any wonder Andy Parsons is doing so well? After all, his attitude perfectly matches that part of the British psyche which grumbles that everything’s rubbish, while secretly being proud of the under-achievement. After all, it takes the pressure of the rest of us to perform.
‘It’s a bit shit…’ is something of a catchphrase, repeated in his distinctive monotone rhythm about anything that doesn’t come up to scratch. Some of which are very easy comic pickings, so his mocking the anticipated opening ceremony of the London Olympics, Fathers4Justice or rail replacement bus services can feel like shooting fish in a barrel – and with a rocket-propelled grenade, too.
He’s certainly attuned to middle-class gripes, and acknowledges them as such. He may be well up on the news thanks to Mock The Week, but forget about war, climate change, globalisation – it’s snipes at traffic wardens, Trinny and Susannah and being left on hold that get the best reaction, even if it’s not always the best material.
He is sometimes more ambitious with his politics – such as believing Abdelbaset al-Megrahi’s conviction for the Lockerbie bombing was a monumental judicial stitch-up – which is cunningly slipped in behind some more innocuous material. But when the big global problems do arise, Parsons tends to come up with solutions that involve lying on the couch, again striking a chord with the audience, garnering the sort of appreciative ripples of applause more normally heard at the party conferences this time of year.
Yet even if his approach to the world is not always unique, his writing can be exquisite, and tonight, recording his first stand-up DVD, classic routines old and new get an airing. He has a fantastic joke about Peter Vardy’s faith schools that teach creationism, and sharp gags about everything from the Jordan-branded ironing cover to cervical cancer jabs. Reading the newspapers certainly pays off – and sometimes he doesn’t even have to try too hard to add jokes; the MPs’ expenses scandal was funny enough in itself, especially when he relates the fact in his distinctively sneery tone.
That delivery counts for a lot, with his peculiar pronunciation of a word like ‘pooh’ adding extra laughs from the gravitas his deadpans gives it. Likewise silly routines, such as his drunken prank call to Mr A Squirrel, pack an extra punch because he delivers it so straight-faced.
But the relentless pitch can be grating in a night as long as this. We’re in the theatre for two and three-quarter hours, including interval, and there’s very few people you’d want to listen to for so long. Energy levels definitely flag by the time we get to the climax – a paean to Britain delivered to the rousing, if manipulative, strains of Land Of Hope And Glory.
Much of the night has been padded out with audience badinage, which compared to the topical-inspired gag-writing, isn’t necessarily Parsons’ strongest suit. It’s amiable enough, and he can use it to segue into prepared material seamlessly – but he’s no Al Murray. As with a lot of such banter that you’ll hear in the clubs, there are a lot of dead ends and reluctance to reveal too much information to the man with the mic. But – with the aid of a camera pointing back at the crowd – Parsons does eventually find some unlikely costars in the stalls.
The good bits will probably edit down nicely for the DVD, but overextends the live performance by quite some margin, and probably affected the response to later jokes as fatigue set in.
|Date of live review: Tuesday 29th Sep, '09|
Review by Steve Bennett
Saturday 10th Sep, '11- Andover The Lights
Thursday 10th Jun, '10- Kilkenny KK Ormonde
Show - Tour - Sunday 15th Feb, '09-
Friday 1st Apr, '05-
Show - Montreal 2006 -
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2001 -
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2001 -
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2004 -
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2005 -
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2006 -
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2006 -
Watched Andy on TV last night Live at the Apollo & thought him hilarious. Loved his mock on British people.
I've seen Andy Parsons around 30 times now and he never fails to deliver. On Saturday at the Hampstead comedy club the place was rocking with laughter for the whole of his hour plus act. Whats more he never made one quip that I'd heard him do before. Phenomenal entertainer.
Very funny and skilful comedian, gently working with the audience and seamlessly including improvisation as part of the act. Highly recommended.
The guy is hilarious. I had my doubts as I'd only seen him on the TV, but he does the business live. 2 hours of top notch humour.
Good, solid material and wonderfully laid-back delivery. The guy certainly knows how to do it.
Saw him in Durham at the weekend - fantastic
Saw him on Comedy Store a couple of times - he was genius. One of the best I've seen, the man is a legend!
Shear potential, and with the right backing and publicity, could surely go on to join some true comedy heroes. I'm snapping up the tickets to his comedy club nights while I still can.
Andy Parsons: Gruntled Live 2011
Channel 4's Comedy Gala
Andy Parsons Live
Mock The Week: Too Hot ForTV
Andy Parsons: Local Borough Pest Exterminator
Parsons and Naylor's Pull Out Sections
Parsons and Naylor's Spin
Edinburgh Fringe 2003
Parsons and Naylor's Pull-Out Sections
Edinburgh Fringe 2004
Andy Parsons: Eay My Satire!
Edinburgh Fringe 2005
Andy Parsons: Genocide, Suicide, Cancer (and other
Edinburgh Fringe 2006
Andy Parsons: International Indoor Championship Moaning
Frankie Boyle and Andy Parsons
Edinburgh Fringe 2011
Andy Parsons: Gruntled
Andy Parsons tour 2007 and 2008
Andy Parsons: Citizens!
Andy Parsons: I’ve Got a Shed