Last week on a crisp Thursday evening HeyUGuys shuffled into the Shepherd’s Bush Empire to see the amiable entertainer Andy Parsons on his 2011 tour ‘Gruntled.’ For those of you who are accustomed, like I was, to seeing Mr Parsons bouncing off a panel of comics on quiz show Mock the Week I must admit, I was a little nervous about a solo performance; as it turns out…so was Andy.

I can’t say I blamed the comedian for his nerves when he arrived on stage. Not only was the show being recorded live for the DVD release in November but due to an embarrassing miscalculation, production were shuffling us around for half an hour prior to the performance in a flaccid attempt to make the audience look bigger than it was. On a Friday night, with a complimentary drink or two this oversight might have been transformed into a tipsy pre-show game of musical chairs, sadly the majority of the audience had come straight from work and didn’t enjoy being prodded around a dusty, disorganised auditorium under uncomfortably hot stage lights. This was certainly reflected in the luke-warm energy from the crowd as the show started with a Stephen Hawking-style voice-over introduction that proved mostly inaudible. But logistics, setting and dodgy sound aside, Andy Parsons eventually arrived looking stylish and heroically coaxed the doubtful audience to re-offer their funny bones for some much needed tickling.

The show itself was a tad stuttered and repetitive due to a handful of foot-in-mouth moments from Parsons that had to be corrected for the sake of the DVD but personally I don’t feel this bears criticism on the comedian’s efforts once he got going; an unassuming first-impression made way for an unexpectedly endearing and occasionally shocking performance. In fact where other comedians in the same situation might have proved defensive or aggressive Parsons almost entirely redeemed the evening’s initial confusion with his candid ‘shit happens’ attitude and humorously apologetic approach. Andy Parsons is a politically astute and biting social commentator and his bewildering brand of comedy is not for the poorly informed. His mixture of finger on the pulse observation, left-field coarseness and bashful self depreciation is both stimulating and satisfying when the punchlines pay off. On multiple occasions they did and the audience was caught almost off guard by a single side-splitting scenario or comment from Parsons. In the end a comedy act usually requires and sustains the same set of secret contrivances as a circus ring or magician’s show and even when these began to backfire, Andy Parsons powered through. I wouldn’t want to repeat the event but I’d love to see this man’s stand-up again and I’d thoroughly recommend his DVD for anybody who enjoys the sharper side of current affairs and a good immature giggle or two.


Andy Parsons – Gruntled Live 2011 is available on DVD on November 14th 2011 – Order your copy here