Magazine article New Internationalist

Natural Bedfellows

Magazine article New Internationalist

Natural Bedfellows

Article excerpt

MARK THOMAS is a stand-up comic and media activist, often described as 'Britain's Michael Moore'. Pranks and stunts from his Channel 4 TV show have included setting up a fake Public Relations company at an arms fair and persuading the Indonesian Defence Attaché to admit on camera that the army has used torture. He is interviewed by Paul Fitzgerald.

Why do you use humour to tackle political issues?

People on the Left tend to regard politics as something devoid of humour and often talk about how we can get the message across through humour as if the two were not natural bedfellows. Which is the first point - politics is funny. If the Left can't find the humour in George Bush, for example, they shouldn't be allowed out of their houses, let alone to try and convince others of the evils of capitalism.

What particular quality or strength do satire and mockery have?

They are an instinctive response that most people have to power and politicians. Look at the number of gags that fly round the email when something happens. Where do they come from? People. There is not a secret gag laboratory churning them out These are instinctive responses that reduce those in power to our level. …

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