Interview by Jo Forrest
It’s been two years since stand-up favourite Andy Parsons was out on the road with his Peak Bullshit tour but it was a tour that cut short by the birth of his daughter. A lot has changed in that time for Parsons, the nation and the world as a whole meaning now couldn’t be a better time for the funny man to head back out on the road for a tour that will run into almost a hundred dates by the time it finishes in 2020.
Speaking to TotalNtertainment ahead of his return to Harrogate, Andy Parsons has already kicked off his “Healing The Nation” tour, a run that will see him travel the length and breadth of the country. “When they first told me I was doing this tour we all thought that Brexit would be over by the 31st of March,” explains Parsons “but, well, here we are and we’re no nearer to it being resolved.”
Two days prior to our chat, news started to filter through that satirical comedy show Spitting Image was going to make a return to TV screens. Regularly in the news in the ‘90s for lambasting the famous of this world with cutting humour, Parsons has more of an insight to the show than many of us having worked on it as a writer early in his career.
Despite a raft of new targets slated for inclusion such as Donald Trump, Megan Markle and Kanye West, when asked if, given the state of the world in 2019, now is the perfect time for the show to return, Parsons is a little more apprehensive. “What you’ve got to remember is that, when the show first ran, there were only four TV channels and the show didn’t have much competition” recalls the comic, “nowadays there is a lot more variety out there not only with the number of TV channels but also with these kind of TV shows.”
Parsons continues “the thing about Spitting Image is that, for the people who watched it first time around, they remember it very fondly. So, if you put that in with the amount of variety people have available these days, I think the creators are going to have to pull something special out of the bag for it to be a success.”
Given his experience on the show and its ability to target the most ridiculous of societies traits, talk to turns to the celebrity world but the former Mock The Week panelist struggled to decide on one individual celebrity who offered nothing to society. Pondering the question for a moment, Parsons admits “I honestly don’t know if I could pick just one, there are so many out there that if I was to start going through them all, we could be here all day.”
Parsons’ response is similar when asked if he could sit down with the current PM, Boris Johnson, and ask him one question, what would that question be. “I honestly don’t think I could ask him one question as there are just too many questions that need answering.”
His Healing The Nation tour aims to help bring the British public together to celebrate what it means to be British in 2019 and while moods may be different depending on the area, the audience is still the same. “I don’t notice any change in mood depending on where I’m playing,” admits Parsons, “it’s generally the same as people are coming out see me so they know what they’re going to get from the show.”
Talk again turns to Brexit, one of the subjects that has kept journalists and topical comedians in work for the last few years. Forced to keep abreast of the news headlines, many comedians admit it is hard to keep churning out fresh material using the same jaded Brexit news. Parsons disagrees explaining “if you read across the newspapers on a daily basis, there is plenty of different news out there to talk about, it’s not that difficult and there are plenty of subjects I could and do enjoy ranting about.”
Parsons new show will see him hoping to bring together a nation as he performs to audiences from Swindon to Harrogate amongst probably every town and city the length and breadth of the country. However, whether he’s performing in affluent towns like Harrogate, or areas like Swindon where things like Brexit are hitting the average family a bit harder, a recent appearance on Live At The Apollo saw Parsons joke that, “in true British fashion, across the country, the two things that have benefitted from Brexit are alcohol and pie sales”.
Just to keep him on his toes, when asked what pie filling would match his personality Parsons laughs at the randomness of the question, “that’s a bit off script isn’t it?” Parsons ponders the question for a moment or two before revealing “I was in a pub recently and they had a chicken and apricot pie on the menu. I try not to eat red meat so I gave it a try and it was alright. I like chicken and I like fruit so I’d have to go with Chicken and Apricot.”
So, on Saturday night, we put on our Union Jack waistcoats, grabbed a pie and a pint and joined Parsons in Harrogate for a riotous celebration of all things British. If he comes to a town near you we recommend you do the same and, who knows, by the end of these hundred+ shows, Parsons might get his wish with Brexit becoming a very distant memory.
You can get all the dates where Andy’s Healing The Nation tour is playing by clicking here.