About Mark Steel
Bitingly funny, sharply observational and with a knowledgeable wit, Mark Steel is one of those brilliantly smart comic’s that never fails to give a fresh perspective on social, political and historical hilarity.
Starting his stand-up career over 3 decades ago, Mark began working the circuit in 1982, performing on the bill alongside jugglers and escapologists before making waves at popular clubs such as the Comedy Store and Jongleurs. The star of Radio 4’s Sony Award winning show, Mark Steel’s in Town, he is also well known for 4 series of ‘The Mark Steel Solution’, (Radio 4 and 5) and a radio series about cricket, which provoked a whole page of fury in the Daily Express. Mark has presented three series of the sports programme ‘Extra Time’, written numerous books including ‘It’s Not a Runner Bean’, and ‘Reasons to be Cheerful’, and starred in 3 television series of the BAFTA nominated Mark Steel Lectures on BBC 4 and BBC 2.
Always perfectly marrying the personal and (fiercely left-wing) political, Mark Steel has appeared on various panel shows such as Have I Got News For You, QI, and Room 101 as well as writing weekly columns in the Socialist Worker, the Guardian and the Independent.
WATCH MARK STEEL: VIVE LA REVOLUTION
Taking the theme of his book Vive La Revolution, BAFTA-nominated firebrand Mark Steel presents his latest comic caper. Combining insightful humour with the terror and turmoil of late 18th-century France, Mark’s passion for linking history with modern day wisdom will take you from the very serious matter of the King’s sexual ejaculations, to pondering the catalyst for “drive-by-cannonings”.
Reviews and Awards
Mark’s Radio 4 series, Mark Steel’s In Town, has won the 2018 BBC Radio Awards Best Comedy Show, the Silver Award for Best Comedy at the Sony Radio Academy Awards and the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Award for Best Radio Comedy/Light Entertainment in 2010.
‘Excellent stand-up’The Times
‘Steel’s rapier wit cuts to the chase’Observer
‘True comedy gold’Herald
‘He’s a man with a passionate desire to communicate his ideas, who is also very funny’The Guardian
Mark Steel Tickets
Info on Mark Steel’s upcoming gigs and live shows can be found here.
Adopted 10 days after he was born to a father working in Insurance and a part housewife part factory worker mother, Mark Steele grew up in Swanley in Kent. An avid sports fan from a young age, state-school educated Mark was expelled in his mid-teens for bunking school to attend a week-long cricket course. He told The Guardian “I thought, fantastic! The punishment for not coming in is that I’m not allowed to come in.”
Tracing his biological mother later in life, Mark learned he had more in common with her than just genes. From a Scottish working-class family, she had an active involvement in left-wing politics for much of her life, as Mark himself does to this day. She had met his biological father, an Egyptian Sephardic Jew, Joe Dwek, at a party in London. Mark met Dwek only once around 2006 after writing to and emailing him, and arranging to meet in a London restaurant.
Mark Steel told The Guardian that in the late 1970s his adoptive father suffered a mental breakdown and was placed into care at Stone House Hospital. He says that his first encounter with social injustice was when he saw how mentally ill patients were being treated in that hospital. The shabby conditions of the home reinforced Steel’s political beliefs
Known for deftly combining the personal and political in all of his work, Mark began working the comedy circuit for several years, during the 1980’s before first presenting his 1992 satirical radio show The Mark Steel Solution on BBC Radio 5, consisting of half-hour monologues which offered solutions to social problems. It ran to four series. It’s Not a Runner Bean, a comic autobiography, was published in 1996, and this led to a column in The Guardian which appeared between 1996 and 1999. In 2000 he started writing a weekly column for The Independent, which appears in the Wednesday Opinion Column.
To date, Mark has written and performed several radio and television series for the BBC as well writing his live shows and authoring several books. Being able to flit seamlessly between writing stand-up and penning books is quite a skill. In a recent interview he admitted, “The tricky thing is each has its own set of rules. Writing a column is completely different to writing a stand-up routine. If you have just passed your driving test and are able to drive safely up the high street doesn’t mean you are capable of driving a F1 car. I love what I do and consider myself fortunate that I am able to do just that.”
And he’s certainly been busy doing what he loves. As well as regularly touring his solo’s up and down the country, he has been taking shows to the Edinburgh fringe for nearly two decades. From The Mark Steel Lectures (his unique comic perspective on some of the world’s iconic characters) in the early noughties, to Who Do I think I am? (a hilarious and heartbreaking show about tracking down his birth mother just before she died) to Every Little Thing’s Gonna Be Alright (a feast of current political affairs set to the backdrop of his divorce), Mark has always had something refreshingly unique to offer the world of live stand up.
Get More Mark
Want more of Mark Steel? You’re in luck – his full stand-up comedy special is available to watch on NextUp – a digital comedy club where you can stream instantly over 120 comedy specials from some of the exciting names in comedy. Oh, and there’s a 7 day free trial.