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AAA Stand--Up 2011
AAA Stand--Up Late
Aaaaaaaaaaaaarrghhh. It’s The Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Show
Aaaaaaaaaaaaarrghhh. It’s The Malcolm Hardee Comedy Punch-Up Debates
Aaaaaaaaaaaaarrghhh. It's The Malcolm Hardee Spaghetti-Juggling Contest. Year One
Aaaaaaaaaargh. It's The Monster Standup Show.
Aaaand Now For Something Completely Improvised 2011
Abacus Danger Present 'The Search For Blank'
Aberdeen vs Glasgow vs The World
Abi Roberts Takes You Up The Aisle
About Comedy: 2 Day Comedy Courses
About Comedy: 4 Week Comedy Courses
Adam Crow: Ashton Kutcher's Dead Girlfriends
Adam Larter: The Legend of Bob Geldof . . . And Other Short Stories
Adult Pantomime: Jack and the Beanstalk
The Adventurers Club - The Great Arctic Caper
Adventures in Comedy: Murder, Madness And Mayhem
After Hours Comedy 2011
After Lunch Laugh Lounge
Afternoon Comedy Showcase
Age Of Treason
The Agent, Stylist And PA Wanted Show
Agonise, The Comedy Problem Page
Ahir Shah: Astrology
Aidan Bishop: Misspelled
Aidan Goatley: 10 Films With My Dad
Aisle16 R Kool
Al Murray's Compete For The Meat
Al Murray's Compete For The Meat Late Night Special
Alan Anderson: Whisky Fir Dummies
Alan Sharp: Hate It With Me
Alex Horne: Seven Years In The Bathroom
Alex Horne: Taskmaster II
Alex Marion: Applied_Optimism
Alfie Brown: The Love You Take
Alfie Joey: Monopolise
Ali Cook: Principles And Deceptions
Alison Thea-Skot: The Human Tuning Fork
Alistair Greaves Mixed Grill
Alistair Green: Outpatient
All Over Your Face
All The Fun Of The Unfair
Alun Cochrane: Moments Of Alun
Alzheimer's The Musical: A Night To Remember
Amateur Transplants: Adam Kay's Smutty Songs
Amused Moose Comedy Awards Final 2011
Amused Moose Comedy Awards Showcase
Amused Moose Laughter Awards Top Ten Semi-Final 2011
And The Award Goes To...
Andi Osho: All The Single Ladies
Andrew Bird's Village Fete
Andrew Doyle's Crash Course In Depravity
Andrew Lawrence: Best Kept Secret In Comedy Tour
Andrew Maxwell: The Lights Are On
Andrew O'Neill: Alternative
Andy Parsons: Gruntled
Andy Zaltzman: Armchair Revolutionary
Angelos Epithemiou And Friends [Edinburgh 2011]
Anil Desai Is...
The Antics: Premature Ejokeulation
Armageddapocalypse: The Explosioning
Arthur Smith's Pissed-Up Chat Show
The Artists Currently Known As Magpie & Stump
As Drawn On FaceTube
Asher Treleaven: Matador
Asian Provocateurs Rule Britannia
Aslan - The Lockdown
Asli and Ashley: Audacious and Angry
Assembly Gala Press Launch
Attention Deficit: Let's Go Ride Bikes
Auntie Netta and The Trouble With Asian Men
An Austrian, An Italian And Someone From Slough
Ava Vidal: The Hardest Word
Award Winning Comedian, Nik Coppin
The Axis Of Awesome
Andy Parsons: Gruntled
Grumbling funny man and star of BBC2’s Mock The Week, Andy Parsons is back on the road in 2011 with his new show, Gruntled.On a previous tour, he once found some underpants in a jar of mayonnaise. This is his third tour round the country. It may be his last. There’s only so much of the UK a man needs to see. The more of the country you see, the more chance your mayonnaise will contain underpants.
So this time Andy will be holding nothing back. Everything will be all hanging out. It will be nothing but the whole truth, slightly embellished
Andy Parsons: Gruntled
It’s a typical scene in a typical market town on a typical Friday night: a large crowd of lairy lads make their way from their Wetherspoon’s session through a deserted shopping centre, some still brandishing pints, loudly and incoherently wahay-ing every asinine comment. Not aggressive, just inconsiderate and domineering.
Sadly they were making their way to Andy Parsons’ gig. In Andover’s The Lights they vociferously demolished the preamble, and quite a few of the punchlines with moronic comments or primal grunts they considered wittier than anything a mere professional comic could come up with. In a decent club, bulky bouncers would have had a quiet word, but this is a middle-class arts centre where all we have is ushers – community-minded women in late-middle age – and the silent disdain of everyone else.
Maybe this is the audience Mock The Week brings you, via the double-edged sword of fame. Maybe it’s just a random group of lads drawn to any form of weekend entertainment. Either way, it doesn’t sit well with Parsons’ attempts to talk politics – it’s like Chubby Brown’s audience being presented with Mark Thomas. He mentions Zarganar, the Burmese comic jailed for 35 years for trying to aid the victims of the 2008 cyclone. ‘Good!’ the lads snigger. Fucking twats.
They eventually settle down – and in the second half are quiet completely, the interval drink presumably tipping them into catatonia – but it’s like being in a show with a Speed-style bomb in the auditorium. Say the wrong thing, and all will erupt. Add a more coherent, but equally vocal, heckler quizzing Parsons on his communist tendencies, like a low-lever McCarthy witch-hunt, and you have the recipe for a weird gig indeed.
Still, there is a show to be performed amid all this; and Parsons soldiers on unfazed, acknowledging the problem but not feeding it with attention.
For this year’s tour, he mixes his usual topical messages with more personal anecdotes. He’s even got a bar stool he can perch on to differentiate between the two, sitting for stories, standing for invective. The mix works well, stopping the issues-based material becoming too preachy, and humanising that slightly robotic nasal grunt that gives him such a distinctive cadence.
Even though he works on a competitive topical show that demands pithy wit, the newsier material is probably the weaker part of the equation. In both cases, he’s heavy on the set-up: but when he has to establish the pertinent facts and his own philosophies on current affairs, it feels like he’s on his soapbox; yet with the stories, exposition is clearly a more integral part of the scenarios.
His portfolio is wide-ranging, encompassing NHS reforms, looting, the Coalition’s attitude to benefits, the Islamic call to prayer and America’s far-right Tea Party – and he proves that material about politicians’ idiocy writes itself. He describes his approach as simply remembering and repeating the things he shouts at the TV, which is a fair summary. Sometimes, however, this means his gags are first-base ideas, not really developed, but always striking a chord with the many people who would have thought the same.
Of himself, he takes us through the questions most often asked of stand-ups - how he got started, poorly-attended Edinburgh debuts, awful gigs – as well as a couple of personal medical tales and some more immediately relevant issues, such as the matter of offence in comedy, particularly on the BBC. But the one story you’ll remember – as he freely admits – is the foreign object he found in jar of mayonnaise. Forget Helmand, his misery is Helmann’s.
The strands are loosely linked by the idea of happiness, and how the increasing iniquity of British society is linked to national malaise – especially relevant in the wake of the recent riots – but that’s a bit of an afterthought to help him reach a satisfying conclusion.
Still the device works, and although this is a solid show rather than a spectacular one, it provides plenty of decent laughs while allowing Parsons to reveal a little more of himself – even if it’s strictly rationed – than ever before.
|Date of live review: Saturday 10th Sep, '11|
Review by Steve Bennett
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Andy Parsons tour 2007 and 2008
Andy Parsons: Citizens!
Andy Parsons: I’ve Got a Shed
Andy Parsons: International Indoor Championship Moaning
Frankie Boyle and Andy Parsons
Andy Parsons: Eay My Satire!
Parsons and Naylor's Pull-Out Sections
Andy Parsons: Local Borough Pest Exterminator
Parsons and Naylor's Pull Out Sections
Parsons and Naylor's Spin