Mark Thomas is widely recognized as one of the boldest and the most uncompromising comedians in the last twenty years, who has had no qualms in combining comedy with political activism. As an artist, he regularly uses comedy, theatre, and opera to up his ante and to raise political consciousness about among the audiences. His frequent clashes with politicians have helped establish his reputation as a headstrong individual and as a powerful comedian/political activist. One of his interviews regarding evasion of taxes for inherited property even led to the alteration of a law in the United Kingdom. Like many politicians of his generation, his interest in politics stemmed from working for the Labour Movement right after the miners’ strike. Through his many shows, he engages in investigative journalism, human rights campaigns and activism. Listeners and TV audience, who tune into his shows, are eager to latch on to his passionate, shrewd and cynical political observations. Although there is a certain amount of brazenness in the way he confronts his opponents, his earnestness makes him one of the most adorable and enjoyable trouble making comedians and political activists on television. To learn more about this personality, scroll further and read the biography below.
Childhood & Early Life
Mark Thomas was born to a midwife mother and a self-employed builder father in South London.
He studied at the Macaulay Church of England Primary School till 1974 and then at Christ’s Hospital School, where he completed his O-levels and A-levels.
He subsequently enrolled at Bretton Hall College in 1981 and got a degree in Theatre Arts.
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This talented comedian initially worked with his father on construction businesses and started doing stand-up gigs in 1985 and also wrote material for the famous Irish comedian, Dave Allen.
In the 1980s, he worked as a regular presenter at the Comedy Store in Leicester Square and performed regular gigs for students in cultural festivals, TV and radio. By 1989, he was a regular on ‘The Mary Whitehouse Experience’, a show for Radio One.
In the 1990, he founded the Cutting Edge comedy show and also co-hosted the talk show, ‘Loose Talk’ in 1991, along with Kevin Day.
He regularly appeared on ‘Booked!’ from 1995 to 1998, which slowly catapulted him to popularity.
His very own television show, ‘The Mark Thomas Comedy Product’, premiered on February 23, 1996 on Channel 4. With his unique ways and surreal sense of humour, he often interviewed or confronted politicians and also highlighted important world issues.
In 1998, as a part of the show’s reports, he investigated how the wealthy avoid inheritance tax by making their assets available for public viewing. Consequently, the-then Chancellor of Exchequer, Gordon Brown, changed taxation laws in the following budget.
In the following decade, he frequently contributed articles to the columns in the political magazine, ‘New Statesman’ from 2001 to 2007.
Apart from contributing columns, Thomas has also authored ‘As Used on the Famous Nelson Mandela’, an investigation into the International Arms Trade in 2006.
He authored ‘Belching Out the Devil’, an expose of the Coca Cola Company, in 2008.
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His other publications include, ‘It’s the Stupid Economy’, ‘Extreme Rambling-Walking the Wall’ and ‘Bravo Figaro’. His latest radio project of the same title, ‘Bravo Figaro’, which is a solo stand-up show, is currently enjoying a run on BBC Radio 4, in 2013.
As part of his ‘It’s the Stupid Economy’ UK tour, in 2009, he encouraged audiences to propose and vote for their own silly or serious policies. They were published as ‘Mark Thomas Presents The People’s Manifesto’ in 2010 and the same was broadcasted on BBC Radio 4 from 2009 to 2010.
Mark Thomas once hounded MP Nicholas Soames for his tax avoidance by legitimately asking for permission to see his furniture. His investigation into the practice of avoiding inheritance tax, effectively led the-then Chancellor, Gordon Brown to change the law. This is considered one of Thomas’ greatest contributions to the society through his works.
Awards & Achievements
He was given the ‘Time Out Comedy Award’, in 1990.
For his campaign against building a dam in Turkey, he was awarded the ‘Kurdish National Congress Medal of Honour’, in 2002.
He was presented the prestigious, ‘International Service Award for the Global Defence of Human Rights’, in 2004.
This talented activist was enlisted in ‘The Guinness Book of Records’ for ‘Most Number of Political Demonstrations in 24 hours’. This record he held in 2006 and 2010.
Personal Life & Legacy
Mark Thomas is married to Jenny, a TV producer and has two children with her; Charlie and Izzy.
This popular comedian and political activist claims that the happiest moment of his life was a minute after getting married, when the registrar enquired his new wife how she felt and she responded saying, “Trapped!”