The Cambridge Geek

Geoff Norcott's Withdrawal Disagreement

I think proper reviewers are meant to try and remain unbiased, offering opinion only on the artistic merits of what they're partaking of, but let's be honest, I'm just a chap with some web hosting. So here a bunch of my biases up front.

I'm a mostly leftie Green, who voted remain, and still think we're significantly better off wielding shared and outsized diplomatic, financial and political power as part of a European alliance, than trying to argue with the actual superpowers all on our lonesome. And while I'm lecturing, have an analogy about "no deal".

No deal/hard Brexit is a bit like cancelling your electric, gas, water and broadband (complex trade, defence, diplomatic and financial agreements) all at once, without an alternative option to change to instead. Now, theoretically, there are better tariffs out there (unrestricted free trade deals), but until you find them, you're sat in the cold and dark, unable to Netflix and/or chill (buy energy and/or food). You're probably likely to be in a bit of a hurry to find something that you can get things going again with, so will possibly end up with a chancer (let the orange-faced imbecile Trump pick your diplomats).

Perhaps, then, I am the utterly wrong person to listen to Norcott's show about what we're all like after Brexit. Or at least, that's what the show should have been about - the first 100 days after Brexit day, the 31st March. As you may have noticed, it's not.

If you're still here (well done/commiserations), on to the actual show. As always, Norcott is a right-leaning, Tory comedian, which puts him in a very small niche. It would be quite a clever niche to sit in even if he wasn't, as there's always going to be a demand for the dissenting voice, and when it comes to Brexit, most comedians appear to be remainers.

Admittedly, the topic is a difficult one to make funny, because honestly, it's been done to death seriously so completely from each side, there isn't much depth to dig through (and I've seen far too much of it on twitter). Still, he manages to reach fairly wide, covering the stereotypes on both sides, ("gammon" vs "traitor"), and hitting the deficiencies of various parties (Corbyn's inability to make a decision, and the Lib Dems' general wetness).

There's also a nice bit about the trolling comments he gets from the "FBPE" crowd, (admittedly some of which are hilarious), voiced by his useful backing group. It's a nice touch, the additional voices, one I wish more stand-up style shows would use. And the echo chamber effect of the radical left only talking to each other (slightly ignoring the similar issues seen with the Brexit party logo brigade).

I suspect my biggest complaint however is his implication that a repeat of the referendum would be "cancelling a diplomatic vote, ie fascism". (Let's just put aside Nigel Farage trying to purge the civil service of people who disagree with him.) It's a trope that's annoyed me for a while, because if it had been a very definite landslide to leave and we completely ignored it, I'd agree. But it was damn near even. And having tried to do it, it's proved incredibly complicated and, if anything, more divisive than the vote. And given the way polling has gone, I suspect the country might be changing its mind. Seems silly to do something so potentially destructive without going "are we sure?" And then if we still are, crack on. But if we're not, that'd be nice to know.

(He also has the position of blaming MPs for not being able to do it cleanly/easily, whereas I suspect it is impossible to do without the havoc we've seen.)

So, there's all the things I disagree with him on. The show is certainly funny at times, such that I chuckled along while listening to it, but I think I might just not be the best target audience. See if it annoys or tickles you.

Score 3

Tagged: Radio Comedy Monologue Stand-up News/Political