Comedian, activist and reporter Mark Thomas is a veteran in the world of stand up. He started his career back in the 80s after making regular appearances on BBC radio 1.The Mark Thomas Comedy Product, his political comedy show, brought him into the spotlight when several of his investigations done for the show led to changes in the law. Ahead of his performance at The Lincoln Drill Hall this Friday, Mark Thomas spoke to The Linc about his show, 100 Acts of Minor Dissent.Mark Thomas is live at The Drill Hall this Friday. Photo: Joe Dunckley (via Flickr)
Mark Thomas and his Minor Dissents
Following on from his award winning show “Bravo Figuro”, Mark Thomas has written a new show in which he tells the story of his mission to complete 100 acts of minor dissent in the space of a year.
Minor dissents are basically acts of mischief, and Thomas began this challenge in May with the intention of completing all 100 of these acts by May 2014.
When asked about what his “Minor Dissents” are, he retold a story from his recent stint in Edinburgh.
“We put on a lesbian, gay and bisexual show for people outside the Russian Consulate in Edinburgh. That sort of event can cause a stir and will obviously get an audience chuckling.”
His challenge has also seen him conduct a flash mob in an Apple store, photograph on-duty police and subversively change a supermarket display.
He was keen not to mention any other dissents as not to ruin the show, but claims to be a third of the way through. This means he’s probably completed around 30 acts.
He says the new show is “hugely enjoyable”because it allows him to explore different ideas.
When asked why this show is so different from anything he’s done before, he says that in new shows, the public want comedians to: “Do it again, but different, but the same.”
In the past, his shows have all been very different; “Bravo Figuro” told the story of his father and his love of opera, as well as their relationship, and “Extreme Rambling – Walking the Wall” saw him tell the story of his walk between the Israeli and Palestine boarder.
This time around, Mark plans on sharing the story of a different act of dissent at each show, meaning every gig will be completely unique. He says this gives him a sense of freedom: “The show will be fun for myself!” he says.
Comedians that go on endless tours, performing the same material to an audience every night might be okay for some, but not for Mark. The thought of a tour that tells the same joke over and over again fills him with “utter dread.”
Thomas claims to be a lot more than your ‘run of the mill’ comedian. He’s often described in the media as a ‘libertarian anarchist.’
Asked whether he knew what the phrase actually meant, he said calmly, “I’ve no idea.”
Since starting his career in the late 80s, he’s won as many awards for his work away from comedy as he has for his shows. For example, he’s held the World Record for the most political demonstrations in 24 hours, but he said he got the honour, “by accident.”
His interest in politics and want to make a difference has created a rather strange and interesting bedfellow for comedy but it’s a match that has worked for many years and is still going strong today.
Mark Thomas is live in Lincoln at The Drill Hall tonight (September 20th,) with tickets costing £15.Tweet