After walking the wall in the West Bank, becoming Guinness World Record holder for political protests and chasing arms dealers, comedian and activist Mark Thomas has turned his attention closer to home.
His latest show, Bravo Figaro, is the true tale of his attempt to put on an opera in the Bournemouth bungalow of his father, a builder with a passion for opera and a degenerative illness.
Mark’s also busy warming up for another series of The Manifesto on Radio 4, in which he curates the opinions of his audiences to create a People’s Manifesto.
When did you first realise you were funny?
That is unimportant, what matters is that Bravo Figaro is an amazing show, the like of which you will not have seen before.
It is irrelevant that my primary school report described me as ‘the class clown’ and I thought it was a review, cut out the words, pasted them on a board and put it outside my bedroom.
In those days, I did two shows an evening and a matinee on a weekend.
All of that is meaningless compared to a brutally honest story of love, death and parents, which manages to be poignant and hilarious.
I rarely agree with critics, but they were right on this.
So who cares that I would tell my dad jokes I had nicked from Steptoe and Son when I was seven?
What matters is that Bravo Figaro is multi award winning and brilliant.
What would you be if you weren’t a comedian?
A gigolo. I’ve got the looks.
Name three things that make you laugh.
Some of the things animals in zoos do. It is proper entertainment for all the family.
Local newspapers. I love the ‘Gardeners to benefit from extra wheelie bin’ type headlines.
UKIP election material. Some of the most creative writing I have ever seen is in their flyers. It’s like a game of Where’s Wally. Somewhere in the leaflet is a well-hidden fact dressed in a scarf and bobble hat.
Tell us a joke.
I tell them for money. You pay, you get funny. If you ain’t got the money, stop wasting my time :o)
Who’s your biggest hero?
Dave Allen, a comic genius and unafraid to call it as he saw it.
· Mark Thomas brings Bravo Figaro to the Nuffield in Southampton on Sunday. Tickets cost £15 from (023) 8067 1771.
Then, on Tuesday, he comes to the Wedgewood Rooms in Southsea with a Manifesto warm-up show. Tickets cost £10 from (023) 9286 3911.