Geoff Norcott: Right Leaning but Well Meaning

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Geoff Norcott
Published 18 Aug 2017

I'm not sure any of the straw men in the audience get what they want this evening. The rabid lefties whose comedy smothers the Edinburgh Fringe like a wet red blanket don't get a hate figure to maul. The up-tighty righties don't see the left eviscerated – indeed, most of his shots are blue on blue attacks on the swivel-eyed loons in the Tory party.

And, that's the problem here: Norcott is undoubtedly well-meaning and economically right-of-centre. But I think he'd be surprised by how little separates him and and the other political hot takes on offer at the Fringe. Or maybe he woudn't be surprised – which might explain why it's hard to believe he really has his heart in this under-powered set. Take, for instance, an extended story on the rights and wrongs of fighting a gay man. Norcott comes across as a man sensibly grappling with the complex set of issues that recognising marginalised groups' historical persecution and right to contemporary equality give rise to – which seems like a good summary of every show at the 2017 Fringe. Only Norcott seems so preoccupied with the right-wing thing that he forgets to add enough jokes.

There's a few half-baked pops. Left-wing economics are all very well until someone has to pay the bill; Diane Abbott is a bad politician. Not all comedy needs to be fresh as a daisy, but if your schtick is to be a bastion of sensible conservatism in a scene you (speciously) define by its lefty homogeneity, then it feels reasonable to expect a hot take, and that's not what we get here.