As we have banged on about at length, we’re not fans of Mock the Week. Of all regular participants, the one that grates our piss the most is Andrew “Andy” Parsons. While someone (probably Stewart Lee) believes that the panellists on Mock the Week are all angry young men in t-shirts, Andy resolutely refuses to fit this stereotype by being young or wearing a t-shirt. A middle-aged, bald tit in a flowery shirt, he sits at the end of the desk, monotonously chirruping out observations that are so obvious, they’re clearly only included in the edit so Nuts readers can think they’re as funny as the telly man. After burping out his trite observation, he explains EXACTLY why the joke works; telling you what you would have expected to happen, and what actually happened, and why they are different. “You see, what he’s done there, he’s walked into the door, and, and, and what he should have done… is open the door.”
Undeterred, we tried out Andy’s live stand-up DVD, the apparently unironically titled “Britain’s Got Idiots”. (“And here’s one of them now…”)
In traditional format, Parsons opens by talking to the front row, finding out who they are, what they do for a living and how long they’ve been married to the person sitting next to them. Three highways into easy comedy – shoehorn in an old joke and move on. Yet even here, on his DVD record at the end of his own tour, he manages to make a mess of it. One lady works with sick children, so Andy stammers around trying to think of a joke about sick kids that won’t get him bollocked on Newsnight. He makes a hash of it, remembering that he should go down the “god, better not make fun of them” route, but gets confused and forgets why he shouldn’t make fun of them, worrying that he’ll end up getting beaten up. It’s a mess.
Also, Parsons is clearly a fan of his Mock the Week zingers and one liners, because the bulk of his act is them again. All of them. Have you ever had that thing where you’ve asked someone, “do you watch Mad Men?” and they don’t, and they haven’t even heard of it, and you end up getting into a long-winded explanation of the show, only for it to tail off with a weak, “there’s one of the characters that looks a bit like you”? The whole explanation was just padding, nobody really cared, and the payoff was barely worth it. That’s what Andy’s Mock the Week reprisals are like. “Remember when David Cameron…” starts yet another routine consisting of 90% preamble and 10% punchline. “Yes, ” you think, “that might have been funny at the time. But not now. Not now, two years later when you recorded this. Or a year after that when we finally bothered to watch you.”
But the truth is, the jokes weren’t funny when he blurted them out on Mock the Week, and they’re not funny now. Parsons has all the charm and stage presence of a wet rock as he awkwardly plods around, talking so slowly and deliberately that he seems to be the victim of a cruel brain complaint that means he can only remember things that happened two years ago, two words at a time.
Strongest possible recommendation to avoid, and to burn down any nearby theatres in case he pops up in your town.