South Londoner Mark Thomas’ career defies definition – he’s carved out a niche over 30 years as a part comedian, part actor and part left-wing activist. Just don’t compare him to Stewart Lee.

“I’m nothing like Stewart Lee.

“I like Stewart, but if you tell me I’m like Stewart Lee I’ll come down there and shoot you.”

No laughter followed.

Perhaps three decades of relentless performing, touring, acting, writing and rabble-rousing would make anyone slightly acerbic.

To be fair to Thomas we did speak in his 15-minute respite from rehearsals for his new show, about a Wakefield Labour club.

Or perhaps he just hates journalists.

South Clapham native Thomas has just come off a successful book-and-tour year where he pledged to commit 100 acts of minor dissent – or donate £1,000 to Ukip.

Some of these mini-protests were silly, some were serious and a few even provoked real change.

Highlights included switching signs in a Tesco Express with ones which read ‘CCTV blind spot’, ‘Tiramisu: Lacks adventure and taste’ or ‘Day after day it’s always the bloody same’.

And in response to their stance on female drivers, Thomas organised a female-only remote control car race in front of the Saudi embassy.

“They drive their cars – they get their children killed!” was the response – shouted through a gate – from a Saudi official.

And one he’s particularly proud of saw the Curzon cinema group buckle to pressure – recognising their staff’s union and paying them the London Living Wage.

“I used to just do stand-up but my career is much more about activism now – provoking real change,” he said.

“I wouldn’t even purely define myself as a comedian – I did one show about opera which in some ways was more of a one-man show, with recorded audio clips of my parents’ voices.”

The year was wrapped up with a five-hour show detailing each one of the 104 he managed to get done – and he even bought 300 portions of chips for the whole audience as a token of appreciation.

And he’s already kicked off the next project – Trespass – an interactive stage show highlighting gentrification and the changing face of our cities.

Teddington is his only stop in south-west London – and anyone who’s into challenging, thought-provoking comedy would be well-advised to give it a go.

Just don’t tell him you loved his one about pear cider.

Mark Thomas’ show Trespass is at Landmark Arts in Teddington on Thursday, February 11. Tickets cost £15 or £13 concessions. Go to

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