Whatever happened to the idea of personal responsibility? In the age of victimhood, it seems like whatever is wrong with your life can be blamed on someone else: governments, employers…some bigot from four hundred years ago.
Where did it go wrong? It has to be the parents. For every generation, there's an opportunity for a new set of mums and dads to set their kids straight and make a stand against whatever trendy nonsense is currently doing the rounds. But do we? Or is it easier to give in to fear and the pursuit of a quiet life?
Geoff has also realised that he's a bag of contradictions. Raised on a south London council estate by two maverick parents, there"s plenty he has to sift through. His dad was a trade union man who obsessed over stocks and shares. His mum was a closet chauvinist and far too frank on the subject of sex.
All of which has made Geoff an unusual person, and in this show he casts his unique comedic eye over his most diverse range of subjects yet.
Q/ How has the tour gone so far?
Geoff Norcott (GN): It's been great to get back out there. In the Autumn leg you had a lot of people still having their first nights out. So, you got a lot of laughter, but also a lot of people who clearly hadn't got their social 'sea legs' back.
Q/ What is IBTP about?
(GN): I have lots of stories about my mad parents. The anecdotes they left behind are a priceless inheritance.
It also branches out into the hyper-sensitivity we see so much of and the fact that everyone seems to have an opinion on what you say and do. I brought a puppy recently and got lectured about so many different things, you'd have thought I was adopting a former child soldier. I think it's high time we brought back the phrase 'Mind your own business.'
Q/ How was life for you growing up? Were you held accountable for your actions by your parents?
(GN): I was. My dad used to hold 'Family Meetings' where me and my sister had to explain our actions like tiny lawyers. Maybe it was the trade union man in him who liked holding people to account.
Q/ Are you a disciplinarian?
(GN): I'd like to say yes, but the truth is I'm a surprisingly soppy dad. My wife is far more on it with discipline. However, my son is still terrified of me finding out when he's done something wrong. My wife would say "Wait till your father gets home", but I've been home a lot, so it's more "Wait till your father emerges from his make-shift office."
Q/ Speaking of discipline, you were an English teacher before going into comedy full-time. What made you go into comedy?
(GN): Unlike many people, I liked teaching. I just got a better offer. Whisper it quietly, but teaching isn't that hard a job if you're well organised (Geoff ducks to avoid incoming missiles from teachers).
Q/ You're right-leaning but the comedy circuit leans left, do you feel out-of-step?
(GN): It does lean predominantly left, but things are changing. I may be out of step with a lot of my colleagues, but my views are often more in line with the British public.
So, I may be in the minority in the dressing room, but it's a different story when I step on stage. Luckily my audience is a real cross-section of people. A lot of my colleagues seem to think I play exclusively to 'gammons' who open beer cans with their teeth but it's not like that at all.
Q/ What"s been your favourite heckle so far?
(GN): The most interesting heckle on this tour was in Guildford. I was criticising Boris (spoiler alert, voting Conservative doesn't mean I agree with everything) and a woman shouted out "Leave Boris alone!" I asked why. She said: "You're just jealous he's funnier than you." She may have been right. Only in Guildford eh?
Q/ After the Spring tour, what do you have planned for the rest of 2022?
(GN): Nothing much, just a documentary, another book, a film, a corporate gig for the Labour Party and - if time allows - a bit of supply teaching to keep myself grounded.
Geoff Norcott – I Blame The Parents - at The Old Market, Hove, on Saturday 5th February 2022. Click Here for tickets.