This autumn is a good one for comedian, Geoff Norcott. He’s become a regular correspondent on BBC2’s Mash Report, is making his debut on Mock the Week and has extended his UK tour. So why are some people calling him ‘a dinosaur’? He talks to Quays Life about tradition, identity and his ‘exotic’ politics.
Tell us about your new stand-up show, Traditionalism?
Politics and social attitudes are changing at a dizzying rate. I’m like a lot of people in the middle: I want to hold modern views, but the labels we use are changing so fast it’s almost impossible to keep up. If you go out of the country for a month you come back and something else is now deemed offensive. I got called a ‘dinosaur’ for the first time recently. Well just like dinosaurs I hear men like me are soon to be extinct, I might as well have a laugh about it before the meteor strikes.
So, are you a traditional sort of bloke?
I guess my relationship operates on a very gender typical basis. I think a lot of people’s still do, yet the chattering classes are engaged in fervent debate about gender neutrality. I think male and female characteristics are slightly more innate than that. Having a baby brings issues like this into focus. Right from the start my son was visibly more at ease with my wife around. And why not? She could feed him with her body, I couldn’t even do it with a spoon.
What is the most radical thing you’ve done?
Being a Conservative and Leave voter in the world of stand up is reasonably out there. Those views are pretty common in wider society, but somehow in stand-up I’m seen as ‘exotic’. I’m the comedy version of that white tiger in Vegas.
Do you think Tories are ‘shy’?
Less so these days. It helps when the leader of the opposition is at odds with the Jewish community. I don’t know if Corbyn himself is definitely anti-Semitic, but at the very least he’s like a gangster’s wife; he hasn’t personally killed anyone, but has seen plenty of shovels go missing from the shed.
Brexit? That’s the question.
Well I voted Leave and I’d like to say that yes, I did realise it would be this complicated, and I absolutely thought through all the ramifications of a hard border in Northern Ireland and…look I don’t regret my vote, but it’s tricky. I might not be able to make jokes in support of Brexit, but I can certainly crack a few at the expense of certain Remainers. You know the ones who developed this lifelong love of the EU the moment the vote went the other way. And they go on the marches, but only if it’s on a Saturday and they can factor in brunch at Browns.
Do you ever get adverse reactions from audiences?
Sometimes people get triggered. Corbynistas cannot take jokes at Jeremy’s expense. I was at a gig in Bristol and remarked that Corbyn looks like a pensioner at a service station who thinks he’s lost his coach party. One lady got up and said ‘Stop being mean about Jeremy!’ Which was fine, but the previous comic to me had been making jokes about Theresa May’s appearance and she’d laughed throughout. I made that point and she stormed out, ironically no-platforming herself.
Why do you think there are so few comics on the right?
Historically the alternative scene was a reaction to the stand-up of the day. Even though that was ages ago, some lefties cling onto this view that any right-wing comedian must be unpleasant (so unlike the left to get their big ideas from the seventies). If anything, me not turning out to be a totally evil git seems to annoy them more.
Geoff Norcott brings his show, Traditionalism to The Lowry, Salford Quays on 14 October 2018. See website for full tour details.
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