Marcus is the master of satirical comedy and has proved to be blisteringly funny over a wide range of topics including; Climate Change, Religious Extremism, Immigration, Loans Companies, The Special Relationship, Compensation Culture, Women’s Magazines, The EU and David Blaine, not to mention his own personal battle against his middle class roots. Marcus has also found himself treading the boards of the West End with a critically acclaimed performance as King Arthur in Monty Python’s Spamalot.
Marcus Brigstocke made his 10th appearance at Latitude with his trademark political comedy routine. He received a generally warm welcome, though his on-the-nose comment that ‘the fact we’re in Suffolk and at Latitude means 4/5 of the audience here voted Conservative’, was met with loud applause only from select audience members (suggesting that sadly he was right.) Other Latitude-specific jokes went down slightly better, with the usual affectionate digs at the middle classes thronging the dusty paths.
The recent humiliation of Greece at the hands of Germany gave Brigstocke plenty of comedy fodder, though his Greek accent left a lot to be desired (as he readily admitted). One of the particularly pleasing extended metaphors he regaled us with was the image of teenage Greece struggling to get into a club, with a grumpy French doorman and German techno DJ, making poor Greece dance faster and faster until reduced to a sobbing wreck on the floor. It worked well on many levels, and his B-movie German accent, combined with aggressive beat boxing was surprisingly effective at conjuring up a fearsome Teutonic rave. Politics dominate his set, and he doesn’t shy away from condemning the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices, proclaiming hilariously that if he was to make an image of the prophet Mohammed he would do it as a magic eye picture, so only the most patient jihadists would seek him out to kill.
The latter part of the show is dominated by some fairly male-centric comedy; jokes about getting up in the night to pee and the anxieties around having sex in a new relationship. He observed that he was so obsessed with getting consent for everything that sex was reduced to the equivalent of an optician’s examination. ‘Is it better if I do this, or this?’ ‘How is it if I turn it around?’ It was all very funny stuff but I couldn’t help thinking that it’s the sort of ‘period and relationships’ observational comedy that female comedians get so lambasted for, yet I’m sure with him half the audience didn’t give it a second thought.
There was one disappointment in the set, which was that Brigstocke’s final story about his sore testicles was one that I had heard before, in that very same tent at Latitude 2014. Now of course comedians have routines and set pieces that they wheel out all over the country, but I thought it was slightly odd that he chose to repeat material two years running at the same venue. (That being said, inspiring a crowd of hundreds to fight for the NHS is no bad thing, and perhaps he simply couldn’t resist the opportunity.)