If my kids are anything to go by, the end of lockdown is going to be MESSY. We had some friends over with their kids today and as the afternoon progressed the children got wilder and wilder until it was full on Lord of the Flies (and I was Piggy). They were dancing, chucking things around, sticking things to my face (kids seem to understand that I am an adult they can 100% bully without repercussions) and not doing what they were told. They’d had a bit of cake, but they weren’t even drunk. Imagine what the adults are going to be doing as lockdown becomes unlocked.
Will the Indian variant put paid to all our hopes, or will the vaccine stop it in its tracks? I am still waiting for shot 2 and my recent chemotherapy makes me slightly more vulnerable (apparently - I feel pretty much normal. I am a bit tired by the end of the day, but I don’t think that’s down to chemo, it’s down to feral children and me being old), so I am hoping that my jab is coming soon and that it will allow me to get back into public spaces and do my job. I am back on stage at the Clapham Grand a week on Monday.
Geoff Norcott is one of the guests for the May 24th show (Sarah Kendall is the other) and I’ve been listening to his new audiobook this weekend. I don’t agree with some of the stuff he says. I don’t really think that many stand ups are actually out and out lefties for example, though appreciate that not that many of them are openly Tory supporters. I know there’s an assumption that comedians are all socialists, but I also know that people lump that assumption on to you without the need for any proof. I’ve certainly experienced how people can extrapolate a world view for you from one statement - most recently a tweet in which I said we should call people whatever they want to be called, led to me being accused of only saying that because I wanted to be able to go into women’s changing rooms. That was just one of the angry accusations that I got for tweeting possibly the most inoffensive and just polite thing I’ve ever said.
I have never really nailed my colours to the mast politically speaking, partly because I am not strongly behind any political party or cause (beyond a wishy-washy desire for fairness) and also because that’s not the kind of comedy I really like. For me (as a rule of thumb, which as with all comedy rules of thumb is made to be broken by the right genius) comedians need to be sitting outside, looking in and just take the piss out of things that are ridiculous whoever is saying them. I don’t think I’ve ever really put myself out there as a socialist because I don’t think I am one. But I am routinely lumped in with that group by people who assume they know about me. I was not political as a young man, comedy was all I cared about and I never went on protests or marches, though occasionally got on board with the odd cause. I think I could only describe myself as not Tory.
But anyone who doesn’t understand why people vote Tory or who thinks that voting Tory makes someone bad or mad should have a read of this book, because it may help you understand why people do (and also that demonising a huge swathe of society for not agreeing with you is a bit dumb, though to be fair, that works both ways).
Geoff is keen to demolish stereotypes about the working class (whilst reinforcing quite a few about the middle class) and that’s something that has always annoyed me, on comedic terms as much as anything else. Stereotypes rarely hold much in the way of truth and I think the best comedy has to at least feel like it’s true. But mainly they’re just lazy ways to raise a laugh. I am sure you can find lots of examples of me being that lazy, but I don’t like everything I’ve ever done. Or anything?
But we’re all too keen to judge the opposing side by their most extreme exponents, whilst getting angry if people do it about “our” side. The way the left view the right and the right view the left is coloured by this prejudice.
It does surprise me that the Labour Party have been successfully painted as the Metropolitan Liberal Elite, not because they aren’t, but just because the Tories clearly are that as well. Does Labour holding itself to a higher standard or supposedly representing regular people, make them more hypocritical and less likeable than Tories? I don’t know if voting for Boris Johnson is the actions of someone annoyed by a Metropolitan elite.
Anyway, some interesting stuff to talk to Geoff about already.