Comedian Marcus Brigstocke has been busy lately, a TV panel show favourite, starring on stage in Spamalot and now dipping into politics, for his latest stand-up tour.
The pretext for Marcus Brigstocke’s first stand-up show since Cameron and Clegg swept to power is simple.
“The show’s called The Brig Society,” says Marcus, the comedian, actor and satirist best known for his performances on BBC Radio 4, the movie Love Actually and such TV programmes as Have I Got News For You? QI and Would I Lie To You?
“The Brig Society essentially takes the Big Society idea, which, as people know, is a paper-thin veneer pasted over some ideologically unsound policies that target the poor and needy and vulnerable.
"Then, what the audience and I do, is create our own Brig Society.
“I appoint ministers from the audience, to run various departments, which, let’s face it, isn’t that bad an idea.
"Even the simplest person could almost certainly do a better job than Jeremy Hunt. And then we talk through our ideas and have some fun from there.”
Brigstocke is careful to avoid over-politicising, making sure the laughs come first.
“It’s comedy first and foremost, the idea is asking people to take these ministerial positions and see what happens.
“I’ve been on the road for a little while and I've been amazed at the way people respond.
“I appoint a chancellor and then people just unload on me, they are really funny, they really think about thinks that go on.”
The show has changed from town to town. It started in Edinburgh and there were a number of dates in the North East.
“The North East and the South East are practically different countries. It’ll be interesting to see the reactions in Ludlow, Telford and Wolverhampton.
“The laughs are the most important thing, though. The deal with stand-up is simple, if they’re not laughing then I’m not doing my job.
“But I want it to be interesting and informative too, that’s a nice way of working and it makes the tour more fun.”
Brigstocke believes he’s got a pretty good insight into the machinations of the Coalition cabinet, having attended some of the same expensive schools that Ministers attended.
He said: “I went to boarding school when I was seven, so I know what life was like for people like David Cameron.
“It’s not impossible, but very difficult for them to empathise with people who are not like them. I went mental, fortunately, and managed to get into comedy, instead of politics.
“I haven’t done a tour since the Coalition began so there’s plenty of material for me to go at. I had an itch to do this tour.
“When it gets near show time I have nerves, but by then I just want to go on, I’m ready, I’m straining at the leash.”
Marcus Brigstocke plays Ludlow Assembly Rooms tonight, Telford’s Oakengates Theatre on November 28 and Wolverhampton’s Wulfrun Hall on December 16.