Andy Parsons

Andy Parsons

Date of birth: 30-11-1966
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.

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Andy Parsons at Latitude 2017

Gig review by Steve Bennett

When Andy Parsons quit Mock The Week a couple of years back, it was to focus on his political panel show podcast, Slacktivist Action Group, and to ‘delve a little deeper into the bigger issues affecting the UK’.

The result is that his half-hour set at the Latitude festival was as much stand-up opinion as stand-up comedy, as he shared the benefit of his wisdom on such topics as NHS privatisation, HS2 and Theresa May’s plans for more grammar schools.

It started particularly slowly, with quite a convoluted routine about the delays and bungled appointments he’s experienced as he tried to get a dodgy shoulder treated – though it would eventually pay off when he returned to it later for its payoff.

That was symptomatic of a performance which started heavy on comment and lighter on jokes but found its comic mojo towards the middle; turning on a routine about women in burkas on a water slide that celebrated an image that struck him as delightfully silly.

Turning his attention to claims the Prime Minister couldn’t negotiate her way out of a paper bag prompted a sharp, point-scoring analogy, while he managed to find two separate, and very funny, metaphors for Brexit and for the Tory leadership race that involved penises.

His distinctive nasal, South Coast delivery is also a mixed blessing, yeah?, giving him a definite rhythm that can, yeah?, build towards a punchline, yeah? Though he has another verbal tic, yeah?, that’s a bit annoying. I’ll leave you to figure out what that might be, yeah?

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Published: 16 Jul 2017

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