Andy Parsons is coming to Lancashire twice with his latest tour 'Bafflingly Optimistic' this spring

A top British comedian is coming to Lancashire twice next month with his latest show, below is everything you need to know...
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Following a complete sellout run at the Edinburgh Fringe and on the Autumn leg of the tour, Andy Parsons will continue taking his show 'Bafflingly Optimistic' to theatres up and down the UK from February 2024.

Who is Andy Parsons?

The 57-year-old comedian started his career writing non-commissioned for Radio 4's Weekending and went on to become one of the main writers of the original Spitting Image on ITV. Having had his own Radio 2 series for 6 years, he became a regular panellist on Mock The Week in 2005 and has made numerous TV appearances on the likes of Live At The Apollo, The Comedy Store and QI.

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To date, Andy has done four comedy specials; Britain's Got Idiots, Gruntled, Slacktivist, Live & Unleashed [but Naturally Cautious] and has toured the UK many times to sellout audiences. Throughout his carer, Andy has been a Time Out Comedy Award winner, New Zealand International Comedy Award winner, Montreal Just For Laughs Comedy Festival Award winner, an EVCOM Best Film winner and a silver winner of the Dolphin Cannes award.

What is Baffling Optimistic?

Bafflingly Optimistic is Andy Parsons' latest comedy show, named so because, despite everything that the UK has had to face in recent years, Andy says he has managed to find something to be optimistic about, and, of course, lots to be funny about.

When is it coming to Lancashire?

Baffling Optimistic comes to Darwen's Library Theatre on Friday, March 22 and Lancaster Grand Theatre on Sunday, March 24.

Take a look below at this indepth interview with Andy as he explains what you can expect from his latest show and looks back on his career so far...

Comedian Andy Parsons is bringing his show 'Bafflingly Optimistic' to Lancashire twice this spring.Comedian Andy Parsons is bringing his show 'Bafflingly Optimistic' to Lancashire twice this spring.
Comedian Andy Parsons is bringing his show 'Bafflingly Optimistic' to Lancashire twice this spring.

What are the show's themes?

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Andy: "There are lots of different strands. It's partly about parenting and what kids need to understand about the world. The world has slightly gone t*ts up recently and, obviously, our politics has gone the same way over the last 12 months as well. So it's marrying that to having an 11-year-old son and seeing the world a bit through their eyes in terms of prospects going forward, whether it's to do with houses or jobs or being able to work in Europe."

So where is the optimism?

Andy: "I think there are reasons to be hopeful. It's not a depressing show, you won't want that on your night out. It's full of big laughs. The positive side is the pandemic is over, we are statistically more united as a nation than it might seem. And despite what you've heard, comics are not being cancelled. You don't shy away from the big issues, from police criminality to the gender debate, but you ensure that there are jokes all the way. There's a hilarious section explaining economics to your son.

"If you're shying away from subjects, then you're not utilising all of the advantages of free speech that you have. If you're just going to make decent points about the news, you can do that on a Sunday morning BBC show. Onstage there needs to be laughs there."

If you are talking about news stories how to you handle the problem of events moving so fast like they currently do?

Andy: "I think the news that I'm most interested in is the stuff that's more structural, like, what's happening with the Bank of England, what's going on with inflation, tuition fees. Those issues aren't going to change any time soon. A quick gag at the expense of a BBC presenter is not something that I've ever been particularly interested in."

In Baffingly Optimistic, you compare Liz Truss to a can of beans in the back of the cupboard nobody wants. What is your opinion of politicians in general?

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Andy: "Having interviewed loads of politicians for my podcast, there are a lot of hard working, community minded politicians out there. Sadly a lot of them never get into a position where they can make a difference. Maybe having the mindset to be cutthroat enough to get to the very top is part of the problem. They say that we don't get the politicians that we need, we get the ones we deserve. I don't think politicians have got worse, there are a lot of good politicians out there. I would just like to see more of them being able to influence the decisions."

Was Mock The Week more political when you were on it?

Andy: "There were times when myself, John Oliver and Frankie Boyle were trying to talk about the Israeli Palestinian conflict and they'd be trying to put up funny photos of a bloke shagging a reindeer. We'd be desperately trying to work out how we could get back to, you know, Saudi Arabia or something that we wanted to talk about."

Andy regularly appeared on Mock the Week between 2005 and 2015. Image: BBC2Andy regularly appeared on Mock the Week between 2005 and 2015. Image: BBC2
Andy regularly appeared on Mock the Week between 2005 and 2015. Image: BBC2

Was it when you left in 2015 that it started to become less political?

Andy: "It was going that way. It was supposed to be a rival of Have I Got News For You but gradually the BBC saw it as an access show, a chance for them to get young comics through the door. As soon as it became like that, you had loads of people who just did little bits of their set and weren't actually doing anything to do with the news."

Was that why you decided to leave?

Andy: "Yes, very much. We were told that was the way the show was going to go. And at that point, I thought that, you know, we'd reached the high point. I could see it only going one way. And I would suggest that history [the show ended in 2022] is not letting me down on that assessment."

Before the tour, you were doing the Edinburgh Fringe- your first run in 17 years after 17 consecutive years there- what kept you away?

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Andy: "It just wasn't feasible to go up because we started doing Mock The Week in the summer and I had young children. I'm really looking forward to it. I went last year and everybody was saying it's so different, but it felt a very recognisable festival to what I'd experienced there 17 years ago.I'm sharing a flat with Marcus Brigstocke. He's doing the first two weeks, I'm doing the last two. He's got a small baby so I'm hoping all the sick will have been cleaned off by the time I arrive."

Do you enjoy life on the road?

Andy: "That's the dream, to be able to have your own audience, play lots of dates up and down the country and see your name outside the building, whether it's spelled correctly or not."

Where else is the show going?

Thursday February 22: Tring, Court Theatre

Friday, February 23: Basingstoke, Haymarket Theatre

Wednesday, February 28: Cheltenham, Town Hall

Thursday, February 29: Lichfield, Garrick Theatre

Saturday, March 2: Bridgwater, McMillan Theatre

Wednesday, March 6: Southampton, MAST Mayflower Studios

Saturday, March 9: Norwich, Playhouse

Friday, March 15: Folkestone, Quarterhouse

Saturday, March 16: King’s Lynn, St George’s Guildhall

Thursday, March 21: Shrewsbury, Theatre Severn

Friday, March 22: Darwen, Library Theatre

Saturday, March 23: Kendal, Brewery Arts Centre

Sunday, March 24: Lancaster, Grand

Thursday, March 28: Colchester, Mercury Theatre

Wednesday, April 10: Redruth, Regal

Thursday, April 11: Launceston, Town Hall

Friday, April 12: Plymouth, Quad Theatre

Saturday, April 13: Paignton, Palace Theatre

Thursday, April 18: Bury St Edmunds, The Apex

Friday, April 19: Wakefield, Theatre Royal

Saturday, April 20: Newcastle, Northern Stage

Thursday, April 25: Nottingham, Playhouse

Saturday, April 27: Newbury, Corn Exchange

Wednesday, May 1: Redditch, Palace Theatre

Thursday, May 2: Tenbury Wells, The Regal

Saturday, May 4: Milton Keynes, The Stables

Wednesday, May 15: London, Leicester Square Theatre

Friday, May 17: Wedmore, Arts Festival

Thursday, May 23: Evesham, Town Hall

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