Edinburgh 2015: Geoff Norcott – The Look of Moron, Just the Tonic at the Tron, review: 'daring'

Comedian Geoff Norcott
Comedian Geoff Norcott Credit: Dominic Pascale

You don’t have to wander far on the fringe to bump into comedians bemoaning the election result. You do have to head off the beaten track, though, to find a comic willing to admit it’s their fault.

In a rudimentary stand-up dive in a pub off the Royal Mile, a middle-aged, working-class geezer called Geoff Norcott is uttering words that, to my knowledge, won't be heard anywhere else at the festival. “I voted Conservative in the last two elections,” he tells the late-lunchtime crowd. He knows this is a rare confession. “It’s a bit like buying a James Blunt album. You know millions of other people must have done it – but you never meet anyone who admits it.”

Having been awarded an operational service medal for performing to troops many times in Afghanistan, Norcott can presumably handle hostile environments, but there’s not so much as a tut, let alone a cry of "shame!” from the audience. Perhaps so-called "shy Tories" are more prevalent comedy-goers than has hitherto been acknowledged.

In past shows, Norcott – who describes himself as resembling “a bloke out of a slightly sexist beer commercial”– has made flattering remarks about David Cameron. In The Look of Moron – a nod to the decidedly un-PC musical The Book of Mormon – the thrust is anti-Labour.

“Jeremy Corbyn wants to take us back to the Seventies,” he says. “Of all the decades to go back to why couldn’t he take us back to one where we trusted the entertainers?” Hardly profound analysis but his pay-off is bang-on: “He inspires people – that doesn’t mean he’s right.”

Much of the material sounds common-sensical but could easily bring death threats in the Twittersphere: “Business never gets credit for getting things right,” this eager capitalist dares to opine. His reflections on the differing fortunes of the generations may bait outrage, but they also offer some refreshing free-thinking. “Pensioner used to mean ‘poor and vulnerable’ now it means ‘tanned and rich’,” he quips.

And why is the NHS beyond criticism, he asks. His prescription is privatisation: one zany revenue-raising idea he floats is for patients to watch adverts during MRI scans.

Perhaps Cameron should get him to fill the shoes of Steve Hilton as his resident blue-sky thinker. On the comedy circuit, this much is sure: he’s an absolute tonic.

Until Aug 29. Tickets: 0330 220 1212; justthetonic.com