Caro Meets Comedy Interview

Geoff Norcott: I Blame The Parents

By | Published on Friday 20 May 2022

Headed to the New Wimbledon Theatre shortly, for the final date on a fairly lengthy UK tour, is comedian Geoff Norcott. 

The show’s called ‘I Blame The Parents’, and in it Norcott asks what happened to the idea of personal responsibility in a world where it seems to him that whatever is wrong with your life can be blamed on someone or anything else. So… is it the parents’ fault? 

The acclaimed stand-up explores that topic through anecdotes from his own childhood and, of course, plenty of jokes. 

I arranged a quick chat to find out more about the show, and about Geoff himself. 

CM: First of all, tell us about the themes of the show. What is it about?
GN: Like most stand-up shows, it started with a big theme, but it’s now just the funniest stuff I have to say at this point in time. Though the anecdotes about my parents are still there. The world needs to know how hilariously mental my mum was. 

CM: What made you want to do a set including all those stories?
GN: The stories about my parents are family heirlooms I wanted to share. It’s not in this show, but my dad once got pulled over by the police for not wearing a seat-belt. He then noticed the two coppers who nicked him weren’t wearing theirs when they pulled off. So he pulled them over. He ended up with forty hours of community service, but it’s a great story.

CM: Given the focus on your parents, can you tell us a little bit about what your childhood was like?
GN: It was happy but sometimes tense. We went from an aspiring middle-class life to living on a council estate. Though that council estate was in Wimbledon, so I rarely get any street cred.

CM: You’re a parent yourself, aren’t you? Do you find it challenging to bear that responsibility?
GN: Not really. I’d love to take some credit but my son just emerged a lovely and polite little boy. Pretty sure he bowed to the nurses and said thanks to the midwife. 

CM: People have often noted your more right-leaning politics. Comedy people with non-left wing views have often seemed quite rare. Do you think that’s changing at all?
GN: It’s changed loads. There’s now a scene which – if not right-wing – comes at things from a different angle. People like Andrew Doyle, Simon Evans, Francis Foster, Leo Kearse, Tania Edwards and many more. I think it’s healthy and plenty of left wing people don’t only want to hear stuff they agree with.

CM: Do you think there are comedians with more right wing politics who simply stay away from those sorts of topics in order to fit in? Or is it a job that attracts more lefties?
GN: Maybe some keep quiet. Though, if your thing is one-liners or observations about household objects, maybe you’re not obliged to let people know how you vote. In fact I’m sure many of your readers think we could all do with talking about our politics a little less.

CM: Do you think comedy has the power to reach people socially and politically? Do you think you can influence people through it? Do you want to?
GN: Absolutely not – and I’d be terrified if anyone changed a fundamental opinion based on anything I said! What it can do – and I found this with my book – is just shed a light on something which resonates with people. The older I get the more I think the core of our political character is probably set by the time we finish primary school.

CM: You weren’t always a comedian – what did you do before comedy and why did you decide to pursue a performing career?
GN: I worked in advertising and then teaching. From proposing to my wife to actually getting married I had two career changes. The in-laws must’ve been terrified. 

CM: What have been the highlights of your comedy career thus far?
GN: This tour – the reaction, the number of people who’ve come, and all coming off the back of such a difficult time with the lockdowns. It blows my mind that I can go as far as Newcastle and Glasgow and anyone gives a toss about what I say.

CM: It’s been quite a long tour and you are now reaching the end of it – what plans do you have for after it?
GN: Hopefully writing another book. It needs to be something, because if I’m not busy doing comedy my wife will start talking about ‘jobs that need doing’. I don’t like ‘jobs’. It’s one of the main reasons I got into comedy.

CM: What plans and ambitions do you have for the future?
GN: To spend as much time with my family as possible. I love going to theme parks with my son. It’s like clubbing but the queues are worse, though you are in bed by 9pm. 

Geoff Norcott performs ‘I Blame The Parents’ at the New Wimbledon Theatre on 29 May. For more info and to book tickets see this page here.

LINKS: | | | 

Photo: Karla Gowlett