Thursday, 19 July 2018

Andy Parsons - Live and Unleashed

Despite the endless motorway journeys and fast food, for Andy Parsons nothing beats live stand-up.

Despite the endless motorway journeys and fast food, for Andy Parsons nothing beats live stand-up.

The comic embarks on his latest tour,

Live and Unleashed â?? But Naturally Cautious
, this month and will be appearing at the Oxford Playhouse.

Parsons, best known as the bald-headed, goateed regular on BBC panel show

Mock the Week
, has been performing for more than 20 years. Known for his razor-sharp satirical wit, the 47-year-old says his shows have gradually become less political and more about him as the years have gone by.



He says fans in Oxford can look forward to a show which looks much more at his own personality than those in the past.

Parsons said: “The way the shows have been going over the last couple of DVDs, they started off being bang-over-the-head political and gradually there is more personal stuff coming through.

“The first half of this tour is essentially me analysing my attributes and gradually ruling out everything I’m any good at. One of those is being a man, the sporting side of things, DIY and the macho elements of male culture.

“So my life is falling apart around me and the second half is building myself back up with the help of the audience.”

That’s not to say the show is devoid from his trademark scathing look at politics, and Parsons says the news agenda is so rich with political scandal and intrigue that he doesn’t have to look far for inspiration.

He said: “After five years of a coalition government you don’t have to work too hard for material. Then there’s the general election coming up and UKIP is the gift that keeps on giving. I think it takes it to new levels if you are personally involved with politics, rather than on the exterior analysing it.

“But there’s also always lots to do with your own fallibility if you can’t find anything in the news.”

Like most comedians, Parsons started out performing in pubs and clubs across the country. His

Mock the Week
fame has helped propel him to the A-list of UK comedy and he is now selling out theatres on a regular basis.

Parsons said: “There’s nothing more satisfying than people seeing your name and buying tickets. To be able to go and visit regional theatres under your own name is an absolute privilege and there’s nothing more fun than being on stage for two hours and having a rollicking time.

“There’s nothing appealing about going on the motorway and eating lots of pasties but it’s about going to gorgeous theatres and being able to perform under your own name. You are writing, performing and directing, nobody tells you what to put in the show, there’s no lawyers and no editing.

“I would prefer the touring without the travelling, but if I had to pick touring or TV it would be touring. When you are on stage and a show works really well there is nothing more satisfying.”

While touring is his first love, Parsons is prolific on TV and radio, appearing on shows including

They Think It’s All Over
,

QI
and Radio 5 Live’s

Fighting Talk
.

He joined

Mock the Week
in the third series and has seen the show become an audience favourite. In June, it will celebrate 10 years on the air and shows no signs of slowing down yet.

Parsons said: “I think it’s a grower. There was talk after the second series about it getting canned but there was a change of personnel and it gradually became what it is now.

“You get a lot of gags per minute, it’s a lot pacier than some other shows and the BBC view it as a chance to get new faces on screen.”

As Parsons says,

Mock the Week
has helped launch the careers of numerous comics, including Russell Howard and Milton Jones. But he was quick to point out that the hard graft is all done away from studios in comedy clubs and 10-minute sets at the local pub.

Parsons said: “Nobody you see on TV has got there overnight, comedy is one of those things you have to put a lot of time into. There are plenty of great comics who don’t get much exposure and if you ask people whether they would want to go to their local comedy club or watch TV, I would always say go and support your club.”

No such worries from Parsons, who has three national tours and three DVDs under his belt already. And he says the freedom of his position is one of the greatest perks of the job, having cultivated a reputation over two decades of performing.

He said: “The great thing about stand-up is you can do what you want and as you get older you get better at doing that. When you are starting out it might be more about what the audience wants, but once you know you can do it you can do what you want, the way you want to do it.”

Andy Parsons will be at the Oxford Playhouse on Wednesday, March 25. For tickets visit www.oxfordplayhouse.com or call  01865 305305.



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