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edinburgh 04: andy parsons interview
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Comedian Andy Parsons talks political satire.Skinhead men who speak in slightly strangled, high-pitched voices have a habit of latching on to strangers in pubs and recounting pointless anecdotes, such as the time they got a piece of shrapnel in the leg. Then they go on to proclaim that asylum seekers should be strung up and football hooligans merely ticked off for their cheeky exuberance. Not Andy Parsons. His incredulous tone is used to lampoon current affairs from a more informed perspective, and satisfies one of the oldest comedy maxims: what you see shouldn’t be what you get.
He is a political comedian, the best of which have always offered much more than a dry dissection of the hypocrisy, dissimulation and betrayal that politicians blithely serve up on a daily basis. The exclamation mark at the end of Eat My Satire!, the title of Parsons’ show, is important. “The idea being that a lot of political comedy somehow gets a little bit up its own arse. And this, hopefully, is not going to be too up its own arse,” he explains. “It’s supposed to be for those people who aren’t into political comedy as such, because they feel it’s just whingeing, or lecturing or preaching. And the idea that this is satire without the sanctimony.”
Despite current events, Parsons doesn’t think it’ll be easy to guarantee laughs this year. “I don’t think it gets any easier in terms of coming up with an hour in a year – which doesn’t sound like an awful lot of good material, but you’ve got people who have been doing the same 20-minute act for 15 years. So coming up with a full hour of quality is not straightforward.
“If you’ve only got 45 minutes and you’ve got to stretch it to an hour, you’ll get found out. And the audience will let you know by either losing interest or walking out, or shouting at you. That’s the one joy of comedy – you’ll always know exactly what people are feeling about it.”
Andy Parsons: Eat My Satire! is at the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh, 07-29 August 04.
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