Andy Parsons is well prepared for his forthcoming gig in Derry. “I spoke to (Dara) O’Briain and he told me the names of the best pubs. So we’ve booked a hotel nearest to the best pubs and we’re ready to go.”
This is the first time the ‘Mock the Week’ panelist and former Spitting Image writer will visit Derry and he admits he is looking forward to his maiden visit to the maiden city - and the brand of comedy he plans to bring with him will be bang up to date.
“Of course a lot of the show was scripted three months back, but as things have changed and progressed in the world around us - the Royal wedding, the situation in Libya- the show has evolved.
“And to be honest, the best bits are the things that just happen on the night - that take on a life of their own. But those bits generally can’t be repeated.”
If you are not familiar with the name Andy Parsons, then chances are you’re familiar with his face, or at least with his work. The comic is described as “one of the most prolific comedians” in the UK - and when you read his biography, you can’t help but feel impressed.
As well as a sterling stand-up record including mulitple stints at the Edinburgh Fringe, Kilkenny Cats Laughs and Montreal, Andy Parsons was one of lead writers for the searing satirical series ‘Spitting Image’.
“It was a thrill,” he said, “to be writing up until the Thursday, to get the show on screen on a Sunday night.
“It was as up to the moment as we could get it.”
He admits there were many in the public eye who objected to being lampooned on national television - but he said he never got into any personal battles over the show’s content. “I hid a lot,” he said, adding that there was no doubt the iconic show held a lot of sway.
“People said the show affected their careers - and maybe not always in a good way,” he laughed, but added: “But it’s not a bad thing that satirists are there to keep politicians in check.”
Indeed Parsons believes many young people now learn a lot about politics from modern comedy panel shows such as ‘Mock the Week’ and ‘Have I Got News for You’. “We find we have to explain the news story first ore while making the gags,” he said, admitting that, himself is a “news junkie” who can’t get enough of all things topical.
He promises to bring that unique news sense to his show at the Millennium Forum, on May 26 with his show ‘Gruntled’.
For tickets call the Millennium Forum on 02871 264455.