Erica: My Google searches are going to look really bizarre for the next few years, thanks for that.
Marcus: Yes, they are.
Erica: Without giving away anything in the show, do you come to any conclusions as to why you find yourself so regularly an unhappy, straight, European, white man?
Marcus: You’ll have to forgive me for tooting my own horn, but it’s because I’m capable of empathy. The happiest people are either thick, or incapable of empathy. People who just bumble along, not noticing things or asking any questions, or people who simply don’t care. Our newspapers are largely owned by people who are really good mates with the people they should be holding to account. It makes me so sad and so genuinely angry, and frustrated to the point of not quite knowing what to do with myself. When you follow the news I think it’s very difficult to maintain a state in which you’re not angry and frustrated a lot of the time. And a bit confused as well: how can it be that so many people seem to not mind? It’s quite hard to read the Daily Mail and not know that its millionaire editor has claimed massive grants from the European Union, that he doesn’t really care about anything and that their aim is to keep their money offshore under some of the nastiest people on earth, and is demonstrably mean and unpleasant – people read the Daily Mail like they don’t even mind! In public, on the train! Incredible. And then there’s the simple stuff, like the person at the train who uses a paper ticket instead of an oyster card and you’re like, “Oh for fuck’s sake…”
Erica: Yeah. Even with everything that's going on in the world, for a moment, that person’s worse than Trump, aren’t they?
Marcus: Oh, way worse! But honestly, the answer to what makes me happy is gratitude. Understanding those things for which I should be grateful, and there are so many. Without revelling in Straight White Man privilege, it’s perfectly reasonable to just be grateful that I am a straight white male. I’m pretty blessed here so the least I can do, without taking away from other people, is enjoy myself. That’s a debt I owe to myself, and everyone else.
Erica: So, “I’ve won first prize, I didn’t earn it, but I should at least be happy that I’ve got it (for now)”?
Marcus: Exactly! I’ve done nothing to earn this prize, but my god, I’m gonna put it on the shelf.
Marcus Brigstocke is performing ‘Why The Long Face?’ at London’s Soho Theatre from 25th April – 7th May