There’s still something horribly unfashionable about political comedy in Britain. It can’t simply be that most comics have such sensitive leftist tendencies that they find it unbearable to go hell for leather at attacking the government that has ruled over us for the last decade.
Certainly when you study the treatment deservedly meted out to Thatcher compared with pre-Iraq Blair, it’s night and day. With the apparent Midas Touch of the Saatchi machine now on Gordon Brown’s side, it could be even longer before stand-ups have a chance to get riled at actual real proper Tories in power, but there’s always one man we can turn to for genuine social satire on our stages.
Mark Thomas has been a thorn in the establishment’s side for more than 15 years now, though it’s quite probable that he regrets the moment that helped catapult him to comedy glory: his nomination for the highly controversial and much campaigned against Perrier Award. Among the Thomas targets down the years have been Coca Cola, the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act of 2005 and the Hinduja brothers who he chased after their company became embroiled in an arms to Sudan scandal.
Although stand-up comedy has opened a few doors to Thomas (and led to quite a number being slammed in his face), you can’t help but think that interviewing Noam Chomsky would be up there as his number one career high.
The Stand, Edinburgh, Tue 2 Oct; the Stand, Glasgow, Wed 3 Oct.