Comedy / Jeremy Corbyn

Interview: Mark Thomas

By steve wright, Saturday Oct 21, 2017

Few predicted the events of 2016. And even fewer seem to know where we are going. The brilliant, incisive comic and activist Mark Thomas sets out to discover what the future has in store for us by collecting and examining his own predictions and those of his audiences before gambling on their outcome.

By making futurologists of us all, he will create a fantastical, hilarious and possibly accurate vision of the world. And maybe even make a few quid on the side.

Mark brings his new, audience-interactive set A Show that Gambles on the Future to the Comedy Box at the Hen & Chicken on Thur, Nov 2 and Fri, Nov 3. Here he is to tell us more.

A Show that Gambles on the Future. How does that work, then?
I have decided to add some more chaos to an uncertain world by getting the audience to forecast what the future holds for us. Using the audience’s hive mind, we try and work out what events are likely to occur in the next few years. The audience writes down their forecasts. We discuss it. We vote on our favourite idea and then collect some money on the way out. We put that money on a bet for the idea.

Give us a few of your favourite audience predictions so far.
Everyone in the White House  will quietly leave while Trump is asleep.
Freddo chocolate bars become a popular tool for measuring inflation and wage devaluation.
Tinned bitter to make a comeback.
UK/EU negotiations fail and UK applies to join Indian Empire.

Are your own predictions broadly pessimistic or optimistic?
Broadly optimistic. Every time a little chaos reigns, it is a chance to make an intervention in the world for the better. The next government will be a Socialist one, so there’s lots to look forward to.

Is this a fruitful time for writers of political comedy? Is it good to have plenty of fodder at times like these, or does it demand that you up your game as more comics than usual are talking politics?
To assume that political disasters spell good news for comics is a bit of a lazy trope, to be honest. Amazingly, comics manage to write and be funny even in times when fascists aren’t knocking at the gates. Yes, there is lots to write about now: but there always is.

What’s your take on Corbyn: how effective a PM could he be, and how likely a prospect is that?
I think he will be the next Prime Minister. May will not last long. It’s unlikely that the DUP coalition will last, or that the Parliamentary coalition will hold in the face of a few by-elections. But more importantly, we have reached a point where the majority of people want re-nationalisation of utilities and rail; CEOs to get smaller salaries and pay their taxes onshore; and taxes to increase to fund the NHS. The tide is turning against May.
How effective will Corbyn be? I can only hope that the public opinion and his growing popularity ensure he and the movement are successful.

Mark Thomas brings A Show that Gambles on the Future to the Comedy Box at the Hen & Chicken on Thur, Nov 2 and Fri, Nov 3. For more info and to book tickets, visit

Read more: Introducing: Blue Mustard Comedy, The Kensington Arms

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