Interview with Geoff Norcott

Geoff Norcott takes some time to talk to Voice about the show, inspirations, and to give advice to young people.

Interview with Geoff Norcott

Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?

I am Geoff Norcott. Depending on who you believe I'm either swimming against the tide of left-wing views in comedy, or deliberately winding people up to get coverage.

How would you describe your show?
It's about being right of centre but trying to be a good person - however I want this year's show to have a lighter touch. My rule about political comedy is you only get to spout partially informed bollocks if you have a joke at the end of it. Preferably two.

Why do you want to perform at Edinburgh Festival Fringe?
It's the greatest arts festival in the world. That's what they say isn't it? I haven't been to any other arts festivals anywhere but that's the exact sort of jingoism that made me vote Leave.

What differentiates it from other festivals?
I don't know. I'd guess most other festivals don't have the punters sun-bathing in a beer garden one minute than cowering in a cagool five minutes later.

Do you think the Fringe has changed over the years? If so, how? Are these changes positive or negative?
Other than getting bigger it's stayed fairly similar. One thing that always bugs me about the festival is there's a lot of focus in diversity on stage, but the audience is so unrelentingly white and middle-class. I'd love to know how they plan to reach out beyond those demographics. It makes sense on a moral and commercial basis.

What first motivated you to enter the industry? Who were your inspirations?
I just fell into it. My inspirations then were Ricky Gervais and Dave Allen. I still love those two but now I'd say the likes of Bill Burr, Louis CK and Hannibal Buresss.

If you didn't have your current job, what would you probably be doing?
Teaching. The students didn't bother me, it was the staff room I found unbearable - with all the moaning and back-biting. I must've been the only teacher who couldn't wait to leave the staff room and get back in front of some thirteen-year-old shit-heads.

If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
Superstar DJ. I just want to be Eric Prydz to be honest. I saw him in May in front playing credible house music to 15000 people. I've never seen anyone leave a comedy gig with the look his punters had on their face (however people at comedy are way less likely to be on ketamine).

What is your earliest childhood art memory?
My mum playing opera while she did the housework.

On the council estate we lived on it's fair to say she was unconventional.

Do you ever feel any pressure to be a social commentator, or constantly update material to respond to events?
It's an intrinsic part of what I do. However, I don't feel political comics need to stay in that dry world the whole time. In this year's show the coalition with the DUP got me thinking about homophobia and the predominance of my gay men in my social circle. When I mentioned that on stage it seemed to surprise people, so I've developed a bit around that.

Equally, do you think there has been a shift in public sentiment that has affected your work?
I think the 2015 general election was a watershed moment. It was the first time that echo chambers pulled the rug on people's expectations.

Brexit was bigger, but that was a precursor for electoral surprises.

Describe the last year in 5 words or less?
Your grandkids will study it.

If you could work with anybody, from any point in history, who would you pick and why?
Dave Allen. Very few comics can tick over at such a low tempo but get such big belly laughs. You get the impression he could've done his set on a Lilo.

Why would a performer opt to do either a ticketed event or participate in the free fringe? What are the benefits and limitations of both?
For me I have to be ticketed. While I respect the free fringe, knowing that people have parted with money in advance makes me work my arse off.

Also I did a collection one year. It's pretty tough going when you've slogged your guts out and people are dropping polo mints into your bucket.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to take a show up to the fringe?
You have to do it for a whole month, so make sure the show has jokes.

When and where can people see your show?
Underbelly Wee Coo, George Square 18:40 (Not 14th or 16th)

And where can people find, follow and like you online?

Geoff Norcott: Right Leaning but Well Meaning is performing at the Underbelly Wee Coo at 18:40 until the 27 th August. For tickets and more information visit the Ed Fringe website.


Tom Inniss

Tom Inniss Voice Team

Tom is the Editor of Voice. He is a politics graduate and holds a masters in journalism, with particular interest in youth political engagement and technology. He is also a mentor to our Voice Contributors, and champions our festivals programme, including the reporter team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe..

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