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Features / Comic Mark Steel returns

Mark Steel.

POPULAR comedian and writer Mark Steel is returning to Shetland this weekend to perform a stand-up show that explores the “ridiculous story” of how he came to learn the identity of his birth parents.

The English comic, who is known for appearing on TV programmes such as Have I Got News For You, visited to the isles last year to perform a Shetland-specific routine.

This time around, however, Steel – who was adopted in 1960 – will be retelling his journey of searching for his paternal parents when he performs his Who Do I Think I Am show at the Lerwick Legion, on Sunday.

“It turned out to be the most ridiculous story. It’s just so daft,” the comedian smiled.

“My natural father, who I never thought I’d come across, turned out to be this multi-millionaire Wall Street trader bloke in the middle of the establishment.”

This is, of course, something of a culture clash with Steel, who is known for his left-wing political stance and being a member of the former Socialist Workers Party.

The comedian is revered for his razor-sharp wit when it comes to current affairs and it’s safe to assume his new show won’t completely ditch the topical jabs.

Steel said he started his search for his birth parents around 12 years ago, with surprising results revealing themselves over the years.

“I think with anything in a stand-up’s life, you’re thinking ‘I wonder if that could be a bit of material’,” he said.

“With something like this, you think it could be a show. Loads of people were saying you’ve got to do it as a show. I actually wrote it to make it into a book one day.”

With such an emotive topic as adoption and family overarching the show, it seems there could be potential for touching moments of reflection, as well as hilarity.

“You take from it whatever you like,” he said. “Comics like to make jokes, so that’s what you’re mainly trying to do. I haven’t deliberately tried to pull at the heartstrings.

“Some people though might think a story is really funny, but some people might think it’s actually really sad. It’s like a song – some people might find it amusing, and some people burst into tears.”

Tickets for Mark Steel’s Who Do I Think I Am at the Lerwick Legion on Sunday are still available from Shetland Box Office priced at £15.

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