Mark Steel started doing stand-up in 1982 in England, around the circuit of bizarre gigs, going on after jugglers and escapologists and people that banged nails into their ear. Then came the Comedy Store and Jongleurs and getting bottled off at The Tunnel, and then a regular slot on Radio 4′s Loose Ends, where he met Joseph Heller, Christopher Lee and Gary Glitter.
He did 4 series of ‘The Mark Steel Solution’, one for Radio 5 and the others on Radio 4, and a radio series about cricket, which provoked a whole page of fury in the Daily Express. He presented three series of a sports programme called ‘Extra Time’ which he was very proud of, especially as it went out on Tuesday nights on Radio 5 to possibly no listeners whatsoever. Then there was four series of the lectures on Radio 4, a book called ‘It’s Not a Runner Bean’, another one called ‘Reasons to be Cheerful’, and 3 television series of the lectures on BBC 4 and BBC 2.
He has done weekly columns in Socialist Worker, the Guardian and the Independent. He has written a book called ‘Vive le Revolution’, and has been on various panel shows like Have I Got News For You and QI, and on Room 101, and on Question Time he says that he “got very confused when I insulted a member of the Tory shadow cabinet, and afterwards he said I was splendid and invited me for a drink.” And he’s spoken at lots of demonstrations and union meetings and protests, and appeared at quite a few benefits. This essay originally appeared on his website: http://marksteelinfo.com/blog/.
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