Special interview: Comedian Andy Parsons hoping to heal nation when he visits Pocklington on major tour

Comedian Andy Parsons.
Comedian Andy Parsons.

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, is calling time on the negativity that reverberates on this split island with his new show, Healing The Nation.

“On my Twitter feed currently it says ‘Initially upbeat. Often disappointed’,” says Andy. “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.”

Happy to be known as a political comedian, Andy has never shirked from putting the opinions he expresses on stage into full practice, having hosted People’s Votes rallies, including one in Parliament Square to over 100,000 people and fronted the Independent Age’s most recent Campaign Against Loneliness.

“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.

When you watch Andy Parsons in full flow, it’s clear that you’re witnessing a performer who is not only having a great time, but is enjoying the pleasure he’s passing on to others.

Partly, this might come down to a realisation that it’s a good time to be in the topical comedy game.

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.

○ Andy Parsons is bringing his ‘Healing the Nation’ tour to Pocklington Arts Centre on Tuesday, April 28.