Express & Star

Andy Parsons heading to Birmingham and Shrewsbury

As he prepares to take Healing The Nation on the road, Andy Parsons is clear that while the country seems utterly divided with individuals permanently lodged on their own unwavering side of the debate, there are always more issues that unite rather than separate us.

Andy Parsons

“The idea in the show is that everything is proving divisive at the moment, and that no one is talking to each other or seeing issues from both sides,” says the former Mock The Week regular.

“Essentially, people have the same concerns whether it’s health or education or jobs, and I want to narrow down the focus of what people do want and bring them together.

“The blurb of the show says that, if nothing else, we can be proud of some form of tolerance and freedom of speech throughout our history. It’ll be interesting to see where those concepts are going in the next few years.”

It was former Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson who was credited with first saying that a week was a long time in politics.

In the febrile and often toxic terrain of modern British politics and society, events seem to alter dramatically on an almost hourly basis.

While this might be ideal for political correspondents, it can prove something of a challenge for topical comedians who are trying to take a show across the country over the course of many months.

Andy, however, is confident about accepting the challenge of updating his material to suit the prevailing circumstances.

“When your show is topical then inevitably it will be very different when the tour finishes from where it started,” he continues.

“This is mainly because of current events, but also it’s good to keep it fresh anyway, not just for the audience but for myself.

“If you’re performing over 100 shows and just doing the same set every single night then it becomes a job rather than a pleasure.

“It goes in cycles, and for a while political comedy was dead. If you suggested to a TV company that you wanted to have some sort of a political comedy vehicle they’d say ‘why would you want to do that? No one is interested’.

“But now, there’s a whole slew of them. The reasons for that are various, but the bottom line is that people are more interested in politics now simply because it’s affecting more of their lives.

“And now that more people are talking about it, there are comics you wouldn’t associate with politics who will still address it in some way because every aspect of life is somehow influenced by it.” That was less true ten years ago.”

Whatever the future holds in terms of politics in Britain, Europe, the US and across the wider global landscape, it’s comforting (healing, almost) to know that comedians such as Andy Parsons will be around poking fun at those who claim to lead or speak for us.

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