Marcus Brigstocke finds humour in troubling topical issues

Marcus Brigstocke at Buxton's Pavilion Arts Centre on Saturday, September 17.
Marcus Brigstocke at Buxton's Pavilion Arts Centre on Saturday, September 17.
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People have been asking the comedian Marcus Brigstocke, “Why the Long Face?”

The answer? He has been looking so glum because of such troubling matters as Brexit, austerity, Donald Trump, cheese strings, Isis, tax avoiders and the inexplicable popularity of nail bars.

But now, in typically brilliant fashion, Marcus has turned his frown upside down.

In his superb new show, entitled Why the Long Face?, the award-winning comedian explores why in actual fact he has many reasons to be cheerful.

The stand-up, who kick-started his career by winning the BBC New Comedian Award at the Edinburgh Festival in 1996, begins by explaining the inspiration for Why the Long Face? “It started as I was recovering from a big low. I’d had a messy break-up, and the show came about when I began to feel better.

“All I would say is that this show actively encourages people to remember the things for which we should all be grateful.”

One of the many tremendous aspects of Marcus’ stand-up is his ability to constantly generate new material. A man who is hardwired to the news, the comedian is coming up with terrific jokes about every day’s headlines.

He said: “I’m writing new material for the show all the time, reflecting what’s happening. It’s fun for me and the audience to hear stuff that responds to the day’s news.”

The comedian, who has also appeared on Have I Got News For You (BBC1), QI (BBC2), The Jump (Channel 4), and Sorry I’ve Got No Head (BBC1), believes that particularly in such turbulent times, “It is vital to be engaged with the news.”

Marcus, who promises that he will bring his record player and vinyl collection on stage in order to help cheer people up, has been particularly exercised by the result of the recent EU referendum. “My stock in trade has always been to ask why I am unhappy. A big part of that recently has been Brexit. It’s an absolute passion for me. As far as I can see, it was just a big campaign of lies.”

“But we’re going to have to line up in the queue with non-EU passports, for goodness sake! That’s a practical issue that no one has thought about. I don’t want to have to go down that aisle. And… how much will we have to pay when we do actually travel?”

Marcus’s shows always end with a bang, and Why the Long Face? will be no exception. But the comedian is reluctant to spoil the surprise of it. “I can’t say what the ending will be, but it’s something that I’m both excited by and ashamed of.”

Marcus Brigstocke is at the Pavilion Arts Centre, Buxton, on Saturday, September 17, at 8pm.

Tickets £18.50. To book, call the box office on 01298 72190 or visit the website www.buxtonoperahouse.org.uk