Andy Parsons: Genocide, Suicide, Cancer (and other

Note: This review is from 2005

Review by Steve Bennett

Andy Parsons admits to second thoughts about calling his show Genocide, Suicide, Cancer. It is, he considers, hardly a title that screams ‘comedy’.

There’s no real reason to think that way; comedy is often best when tied to misery – and Parsons is one of the best people to exploit that link. And true to his promise, he does cover the three wince-making headline topics as part of his distinctive commentary on the news of the past year – and plenty more besides.

His style is very simple: he presents us with, say, a government policy, then with a disarming ‘now I don’t know about you…’  rips a gaping hole right at the heart of it. Identity cards, religion, immigration  - any political hot potato you’d care to mention, and Parsons has a concise, astute and very funny way of cutting right through the crap.  The results are often hilarious, backing up his ideas with rock-solid gags.

Away from the politics and into the social observations, Parsons’ philosophy is that Britain is a bit rubbish, and its inhabitants quite like it that way unlike, say, the annoyingly overoptimistic Americans. It’s not the most original or positions, but Parsons again brings originality and wit to the subject – spoiling it, in fact, by being a long way from ‘a bit rubbish’ himself.

Surprisingly, perhaps, given the strength of this high-concept material, Parsons actually proves even better when talking about himself; and most notably when he talks about a delicate medical procedure on an even more delicate part of his anatomy. Well, the title did promise things to make you wince, and this certainly does that.

But the seriousness of the situation is defused by his spot-on humour, the very thing that makes his best news-based material stand out, too. In straighforward gag-based topical comedy, he sets the bar for others to beat.

Review date: 1 Jan 2005
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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