Working-class and Tory are not two ideas that usually exist in the same sentence or, if they do, it is to emphasise the mutual exclusivity of the pair. It is perhaps surprising to find that the council estate born Geoff Norcott’s most recent Edinburgh show unashamedly pronounces that his vote the last General Election favoured David Cameron and his crew. This is a particularly emboldened statement given the traditionally liberal circles that creatives move in, and an even braver one to make in the heart of Scotland. It is here, at The Museum of Comedy, that Northcott brings his show back to London.
Norcott enters the stage sporting a “man-bag”, in an effort to “warm up” his “working-class” look and accent, quipping about the dungeon-like qualities of the venue and the dark music that he accidentally played as we entered, and embarks on a short period of audience interaction. This opening is effective, leaving us immediately at ease; this is a man that knows what he is doing and we are in safe hands. It is symptomatic of his wider comedic mode, a conversational, discursive brand of comedy, not gag-heavy as such but dense with well-formed jokes and irony. Topics range from frank opines on the merits of business and capitalism to the differences, sometimes scathingly presented, between the generations. Norcott is also adept at improvisation, finding the funny in a discussion of the gentrification of London spurred by his interaction with an audience member from Hackney.
In light of this, Norcott appears to be selling himself short when he professes himself to be a “working-class blokey bloke”, and I’m not sure how much the The Look of Moron, a title that plays on that of the irreverent musical The Book of Mormon, lives up to its bill as a “show about stupidity”; this is political comedy of the highest order and, with writing credits for 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown, Live At The Apollo and A League Of Their Own to name a select few, Norcott boasts a CV less moron and more sharp, comic mind. His material is consistently original and, unlike some Edinburgh shows that comprise of rigid scripting, Norcott’s content is dynamic and changing, the prerequisite of political comedy. As the political landscape is ever moving so must material centering on it; Norcott adds jokes about the infamous David Cameron Pig-Gate scandal (actually funny ones, compared to the cheap brand that has rapidly been travelling the comedy circuit), an obvious addition from the Edinburgh run given that this event hadn’t yet occurred.
That Norcott comes from a sometimes unpopular political viewpoint seems subsidiary. “I voted Conservative but I’m not a Tory”, he quips. His political stance, although predominantly anti-labour rather than pro-Tory, is refreshing in that no-one is beyond reproach. Indeed, David Cameron gets it just as hard Corbyn and his band of followers. What is more important is that Norcott is genuinely funny and his set pieces are well articulated and come from a basis of education rather than ignorance. Though our votes may lay in different political camps, I am pleased to say that this particular Tory voter has a real gem of a show.