Andy Parsons: Eay My Satire!
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2004
New Labour, New Comedy, New Improved Andy Parsons Ultra. Political comedy for people who hate political comedy.
With Andy Parsons, you always know you're in safe hands. He's got natural comic instinct sharpened by experience and they rhythm of delivery to always hit the laugh.
But with Eat My Satire, it feels as if he's coasting on his talents, not challenging himself or his audience by offering anything too unexpected.
His is a mix of lightweight audience banter and informed topical comedy, linked with a knowing nod to the ridiculousness of juxtaposition. The chats, though, are mere filler, especially pointless on nights like tonight when the punters are unwilling to play, serving only to dilute the politics and ensure Parsons needs a lot less material to fill the hour.
But it's not as if these are quiet days for the satirist, and you might have thought the problem would be cramming all the issues in. Instead trivial diversions litter the show, whether it's a rap about EU expansion; cardboard cut-outs of Bush, Blair and the like; or the parade of pound shop tat that's a contrived attempt to demonstrate the plight of the poor by getting cheap laughs at cheaper rubbish.
Such gimmicks vary the pace, for sure, but it's the straightforward stand-up at the heart of the show at which Parsons is best, wittily making his points with a silly charm and an effective sense of the absurd.
It's not especially hard-hitting or piercingly incisive, but he has a distinctive and amusing way of highlighting all that doesn't work in the world. The state of the transport system is what winds him up most and no wonder, given the nightmare journey to end all nightmare journeys he recalls here.
It's the British way, he says, to grumble at things that are a bit shit, contrasting our psyche with America's unquenchable optimism. And he's pretty good at it, even if he does providing a few things to grumble about, too.