Andy Parsons is on a mission with his new stand-up tour. In one simple nutshell, he’s looking to heal this divided nation. The man who was a fixture on Mock The Week for years, has been in a very successful double act (alongside playwright Henry Naylor), worked on Spitting Image and brought us sell-out tours and unit-shifting DVDs such as Britain’s Got Idiots and Gruntled, is calling time on the negativity that reverberates on this split island with his new show, Healing The Nation. The tour comes to Wales in May and June.
On my Twitter feed currently it says ‘Initially upbeat. Often disappointed. The general thrust of everything I’ve ever done has an optimistic note to it, and there is always something in the glass rather than there being something missing from it. Life can get extremely frustrating and your optimism can fade, but I retain the faith and I’m looking forward to getting out there and meeting people in some nice theatres.
I think we’re a nation desperate to be healed, in the sense that people would rather come together than diverge,” believes Andy. “In the current media analysis, everyone is in the centre of their own social media bubble, and everything is kicking off left, right and centre. So the idea for the tour was that rather than being incredibly one-sided and partisan and throwing stuff at the opposition, it’s nice to see both sides of the argument. I’ll be taking on viewpoints that wouldn’t normally find a natural home in one of my stand-up sets and try to genuinely see the other side of that argument.
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. 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.
When your show is topical then inevitably it will be very different when the tour finishes from where it started. 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.
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 effecting 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.
Friday, 15 May 2020 Carmarthen Lyric www.theatrausirgar.co.uk
Saturday, 16 May 2020 Milford Haven Torch Theatre www.torchtheatre.co.uk
Sunday, 17 May 2020 Cardigan Theatr Mwldan www.mwldan.co.uk
Wednesday, 10 June 2020 Abergavenny Borough Theatre boroughtheatreabergavenny.co.uk