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Mark Thomas – Packing a Political Punchline

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Stand-Up Comedian and political activist Mark Thomas returns to The Humourology Podcast with Paul Boross to discuss the value of comedy in building connections.

Mark Thomas is an expert storyteller and on-stage comedian. For Thomas, the timing of a story or a joke is the key to bringing the audience along for the ride. Timing in story telling is like music for Thomas, you have to intentionally hit the right beats to hear the music of a good joke or story. Listen to great storytellers and take note of their beats and unconsciously you will start to feel the rhythm that sells a story.

More Laughs Through Listening

Whether on stage or in his political activism work, Mark Thomas knows just how important stories can be when it comes to connecting with others. For Thomas, a story can help share your situation with others and give them the key to unlock the door into who you are.

“There’s something brilliant about being able to see that you can laugh at yourself, that you can create laughter for you, and that you can create a story and then that story will be taken seriously.”

Thomas appreciates just how important a story can be in the political world, especially one intentionally chock full of comedy. For many political players, comedy is a major source of charisma that powers them through the polls. Thomas understands that in a world where political power is centralised to only those with confidence to continue on, politicians have two choices to win over the people’s hearts: fear or humour. And we all know which one helps the medicine go down.

“So, all this power is the charisma of power and the power of charisma. They’re kind of interchangeable at these moments in time. It’s fear or comedy. Those are the two things you’ve got in your arsenal if you’re a leader.”

Throughout is career in comedy, Thomas has learned just how powerful humour can be in communication. Whether dealing with tasks that bring you anxiety like talking in a full room, or simply connecting with another individual, comedy and communication go hand in hand. For Thomas, being a great comedian is all about being an exceptional communicator.

“I think if you communicate well, you have to listen well. And all good comics listen.”

Speaking of communicating at the comedy show, Mark Thomas is a fan of being heckled. Thomas has reframed the act of heckling from going after the man on stage to joining in with the performer. Becoming part of the communication for the sake of comedy, not in opposition to it.

“It’s about mucking around. And if you create that atmosphere that we can play, and that, actually, if you are really good at the game, you’ll get a round of applause.”

Mark Thomas recognises that in order to create an atmosphere where crowds feel comfortable communicating with their comedians, you have to create connection. For Thomas, humour can open up an audience and make them comfortable enough to speak up. While most comedians would shy away from the average heckler, Thomas knows that connecting with crowds and fostering open communication, no matter how cheeky, is a way to open the human heart and mind with humour and mirth.

Join Mark Thomas and The Humourology Podcast for a continuation of a masterclass on comedy, communication, and activism. Hear some of Mark’s most side-splitting and heart-breaking stories from his careers in comedy and political activism. Learn how communication and comedy are close comrades and how improving your timing can make your stories sing only on The Humourology Podcast.

Mark’s series of absorbing, illuminating and very very funny books and DVD’s are available Here

You can find out more about Mark Here 

I always have such fun with Mark, so it is really no surprise to anyone who knows us that our conversation easily stretched into another episode. His energy and optimism are infectious, and I am sure that you will enjoy being taken on more wonderful flights of very funny fancy with Mr T.

If you enjoy the interview, please take a moment to like, subscribe and leave a review wherever you get your podcasts.

See you next Tuesday.


Paul x

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