Mark Thomas’ most recent show is an exploration of the social and political state of humanity at this point in time. The infamous award-winning satirist examines the unexpected, and often disastrous, events of last year, before laying out well-considered predictions as to where we might now be headed. Thomas will be performing A Show That Gambles on the Future at Summerhall throughout August.
1) What excites you most about the Edinburgh Festival?
Going to see loads of shows and performers. It is the biggest arts fest in the world, what is not to like? I always try and see a minimum of 40 shows every fringe, I know others see more and other see many less, but with a target of 40 it means you get and out and don’t waste time.
Other things I like: actors being actory, spotting Nicholas Parsons in a cravat, arguing performance art at Summerhall, bumping into mates in queues for shows and/or chips, drama students practising by being actory, taking my kids to a performance that is inappropriate- last one was naked mine artist with 14yr old daughter, Fruitmarket gallery, being interviewed in the BBC tent in front of an audience in cogoules, seeing Kirsty Walk filming at the Traverse, the comics wrestling match, and having tourists from Norway asking me if I am Mark Steel.
2) What was your first Edinburgh show about?
My first time at the fringe performing was as a stand in for Paul Merton. He broke his leg playing football, ended up in hospital with a blood clot and his promoter asked me to stand in. Lots of anti-Tory stuff and sex. People v disappointed
3) Does your comedy attract a certain type of audience?
I hope so, otherwise my audience would be comprised of people taking random chances, which after 32 years performing would be a bit shit. According to bar staff and front of house folk, my crowd tend to be ‘nice’.
4) What is the worst experience you’ve had with Edinburgh accommodation?
One festival my accommodation was sharing a mattress with a friend on the living room floor in a flat rented by actors, which meant we would be woken by actors in their underwear stepping over us with mugs of coffee. Once we were woken by an actor with no underwear steeping over us looking for his underwear. He went on to star in Eastenders.
But the worst was a van. I spent most of the festival smelling of diesel and sweat and was shouted at for weeing out the side door directly into a drain. Which is fair enough.
5) What is your most treasured memory of your comedy career so far?
Winning 3 Bafta’s in one evening.
6) What show will you definitely be seeing at the festival this year?
Richard Gadd, Bilal Zafar, Archie Maddocks, Northern Stage and, if Gary McNair is around, him too.
7) What do you hope to gain from the Edinburgh Festival this year?
Money and a cure for Hep C.
8) What do you imagine your last ever show will be about?
An audience participation show teaching untrained amateurs the joys of the high wire without a net.