Part of the joy of Beyond The Title is to record a moment in time of how an individual thought and felt about not only past accomplishments but also current projects and things in the pipeline. The method to this madness was that if I was lucky enough to have further encounters with the specific individual, I already had a point of reference that we could return to which would hopefully form the basis of the podcast. So far in the past 8 years I have managed to welcome four people back onto Beyond The Title for another slice of showbiz insight and storytelling. Comedians and entertainers are the perfect candidates for endless anecdotes and stories because that’s essentially what they do. Therefore it wouldn’t matter how many times you interviewed a comedian as every occasion would be totally different from the last.
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Or watch the full unedited zoom call on youtube
Writer and comedian Marcus Brigstocke shall forever hold a significant part in the story of Beyond The Title being the penultimate subject who we recorded an episode with before the 2020 lockdown. At the time, he was in the midst of developing a new stand up show surrounding the need to find your tribe and how it shapes your identity. Yet when Covid hit, Marcus no longer felt this was relevant in the context of the changing world in which we were now living in. Lucky, the benefits of being married to a fellow comedian meant that despite being locked down, Marcus could still exercise his comedic powers in the form of Instagram videos alongside his wife Rachel Parris. Suddenly the world had changed and what was considered relevant before the pandemic now seemed outdated. Therefore the fact that Marcus and Rachel still had the ability to entertain and interact with a live audience albeit online maintained a level of normality in what was unprecedented circumstances.
This was just another unconventional chapter in the life of the heavyweight comedian which has spawned so many. Enrolling on a drama degree at Bristol University, Brigstocke wholeheartedly embraced university life and everything it brought. The only thing that he wasn’t keen on was university itself and decided to quit after his second year. However, having already paid for his third year accommodation, he decided to still return to Bristol and spend the year figuring out what to do with the rest of his life. Spending one final year alongside all the friends he’d made throughout his university experience proved one of the best in Marcus’s life and offered him vital freedom required to kickstart the rest of his life. It was also here that he began performing on the open mic circuit which was the perfect springboard to everything that was about to happen.
In a matter of years, Marcus Brigstocke went from university dropout to one of the most prolific comedy performers in Britain, proving that further education isn’t always the most effective option. Making his Edinburgh Fringe debut in 1996 where he won the prestigious BBC Best New Comedian Award which helped to elevate him into the comedy elite, Brigstocke’s observations about the British class system was now being recognised in its own right. As someone from a privileged background, Marcus has never felt the need to hide from his social standing and often uses it as the basis of his material. Britain has forever been obsessed with the class system and appreciates comedy from all sectors of the social landscape. Therefore if Brigstocke wants to touch upon themes of; shopping at Waitrose, public school education or growing up in an affluent household, he can do so without feeling guilty or embarrassed about his upbringing. I guess that is what we call progress?!
This educated, informed tone is one of the many reasons why he is so beloved by the Radio 4 audience and his formidable repertoire cements this. To work alongside icons of radio comedy including: Nicholas Parsons, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Paul Merton and not glean something is impossible and Brigstocke may have had just about the best schooling there is. Brigstocke insists that Graeme Garden remains one of the very best radio comedians that Britain has ever produced and to say that he’s worked so closely with the comedy legend over many years is a huge accolade in itself. Beyond The Goodies, for fifty one years, Graeme has been a permanent fixture of the heavyweight Radio 4 panel show I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue and is now the show’s longest serving cast member. Both his vast experience in entertainment together with his ability to use the medium of radio to its fullest potential makes Graeme Garden a giant both amongst fans and colleagues and Marcus remains one of his greatest champions.
So this comedy celebration wouldn’t have been complete without a considerable delve into the art of one of the best comic minds currently on the circuit. For a multitalented performer like Marcus, who is just at home on the set of Steph’s Packed Lunch as he is headlining a new, bespoke comedy festival in the middle of nowhere, if there’s an audience, he will make them laugh. It was a real pleasure to welcome back the heavyweight Marcus Brigstocke back to Beyond The Title and im already looking forward to the next time!