ANDY Parsons is one of those comedians who has an air of unpredictability, a performer who is a master of the cynical barb.

Listening to him lay into politicians and tin pot celebrities on Mock The Week is high on my list of TV pleasures.

He’s back on the road again and the latest stand up show from this former Spitting Image scriptwriter couldn’t be more topical.

“David Cameron had decided that he wanted to find out how happy Britain was, so he’s asked the national audit office to come up with a happiness index.

"I thought before they get a chance to report back I would jump the gun and make some sweeping generalisations as to how happy I thought Britain might be,” he says.

Andy takes a keen interest in politics and on stage he’ll be letting rip about everything from bankers bonuses to tuition fees.

“What the politicians decide affects us all - whether it be licensing laws or whatever,” he says.

He also describes himself as “a bit of a news junkie” which probably explains why he’s so at home on Mock The Week, the BBC’s topical quiz show.

And yes, it sounds as much fun to work on as it is to watch.

“It’s an insane format in the sense that it’s one of the few panel shows where people aren’t asked individual questions and there’s a topic chucked up in the air.

"It’s a bone fight and that’s the way the format is,” he says.

Andy says the on screen cameraderie spills over into real life - all the MTW crew go for a meal together before each show.

He thinks these sort of programmes are very important and can play a role in bringing some young people up to speed when it comes to current affairs.

“They say - I don’t know how true it is - a lot of kids find out more about the world from watching comedy than they do from watching news.

"With Mock The Week you have to not only do jokes on the stories but you’ve got to explain the stories as well.

"For a lot of the audience it’ll be the first time they’ve heard the stories,” he says.

A Cambridge law graduate, this Dorset-born performer has come a long way since he used to write jokes for the crown prince of satirical shows, Spitting Image.

Everybody was fair game on a programme that was compulsive viewing on a Sunday night.

Will it ever return to our screens?

“They did a one-off a couple of years ago but I think that’s done and dusted,” he says.

While there are still plenty of targets out there, I always think it’s best to leave good comedy shows on a high, leave them wanting more as they say.

* Andy Parsons is at the Lowry, Salford on Thursday, April 7, 7.30pm, 0843 208 6000; Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, Friday, April 29; Forum 28, Barrow-in-Furness on Saturday, May 14.