I apologise for all of the boring – and I promise I don’t do this on stage because it’s just dull,’ says Andrew Maxwell. The Guide had been talking with the stand-up comic about the nature of democracy, which set him off on an informative lecture about the problems inherent in the first past the post system and how it has led us to the problems we face today.
And by ‘talking with’ we mean, ‘asked a question and then couldn’t get a word in sideways for the next few minutes’.
Perhaps best-known as the voice of MTV’s reality show Ex On The Beach, he also has his own Radio 4 show Welcome To Wherever You Are, and is the host of Andrew Maxwell’s Public Enemies and is a regular on The News Quiz.
But Andrew’s own comedy focuses on social commentary and the major issues of the day, as well as the personal.
In his new show, Showtime, he take the starting point that if we've learned anything over the last year or two it's that you shouldn't take anything for granted. From political gambling with all the variables and the very likelihood of robots taking over the world; this show is about all things we should be discussing as opposed to immigration, globalisation and populism.
‘It’s a combination of the topical stuff about the hoo-haa of Brexit, and my own perspective of going from an extremely “remain” part of north London, populated with media types like myself, to a retirement seaside town at the end of Kent populated by incredible levels of Brexity-leavers.
‘So it’s both what’s happening in the news and my life surrounding it.
‘There’s stories about my touring and taking the Mick out of western Europe and then stories about my own stupidity of being a father and a family man. Everyone gets targeted and then the punchline is very much me.’
Originally from Dublin, Andrew has lived in England since the mid-’90s. And as someone who is pro-EU, he never thought of himself as having an outsider’s perspective on life here until the result of the 2016 referendum.
‘I didn’t think I did until the result, and then it was: “Oh, wow”. At that stage I’d been living in the UK for 22 years, and I realised I’m a complete and utter stranger to the place.
‘But I don’t read tabloids, so unless you’re imbibing this ill-thought-through garbage on a daily basis, then you won’t be in the mainstream swirl of British society.
‘It takes a lot to convince people to vote against their own best interests – you need a daily diet of bendy bananas and victim-hood – it takes a long time to convince people they’re victims.’
He recalls a recent incident where his car broke down in arch-Brexiteer Jacob Rees Mogg’s constituency, North East Somerset. He ended up chatting with the mechanic who fixed his car and went to grab a bite to eat with him.
‘This fella says to me: “He’s a hell of character isn’t he [Rees Mogg]?
‘I told him, you know he’s an Irish businessman now? He goes: ”What?” You know, he’s relocated all of his companies there.
‘And he says, “I don’t even know what he makes his money from”, so I told him he basically washes dirty Russian and Saudi money, which he was forced to admit live on the Andrew Marr show. He’s realised that his business is going to be disadvantaged by Brexit so he’s relocated to Dublin.
‘And the guy was like,’ he affects a deflated tone: ‘”Oh.” But that’s what it takes – a couple of sentences of basic information.’
He goes on to give Boris Johnson and Michael Gove a verbal kicking as liars and failures too.
But don’t go expecting a pro-Brexit show. As he recalls of a show he did at the Edinburgh Festival on the Scottish independence referendum.
‘People in the arts were either rabidly pro-independence or they kept their mouths shut, and I could see that was bull. So I waded in on both sides and gave both sides a kicking – because there was plenty of stupidity on both sides.
‘There always is, and that’s why I love politics, it’s a such a rich vein of daftness. It’s impossible to please everyone all the time, and yet that’s what we demand of our political class.
‘I don’t like to hector people – there’s enough stupidity to go around.’
That Edinburgh show even saw him getting attacked on stage.
‘Someone threw a pint at my head, but I won an award, because I carried on, so’ he deadpans, ‘it’s swings and roundabouts.
‘It was point blank, but it’s one of those really thin plastic ones – so hurray for health and safety – mandated by the EU…’
ANDREW MAXWELL: SHOWTIME
The Spring Arts Centre, Havant
Saturday, April 27