mark steel in penzance

Stand-up Mark Steel is travelling around Britain at the moment for a new series of his comedy show ‘Mark Steel’s in Town’.

Taking six British towns in turn, he lovingly celebrates their quirks and individuality, but much more importantly for the purposes of comedy, he rips the piss out of them on home turf in front hundreds of locals.

Last night he was in Penzance (it’s not hard to see how it made the shortlist) – and I was lucky enough to have tickets to witness the Steel spectacle.

Without wanting to give too much away, highlights included a portrait of Humphry Davy as a caner, using chemistry experiments as an elaborate excuse to get high; the First Great Western train from London spontaneously converting into a donkey at Plymouth; and, naturally, St Just, St Just and a bit more St Just.

You’ve got to admire Steel for wading fearlessly into shark-infested waters with gags on the Land’s End development, and – brace yourselves – the embittered Penzance harbour controversy. But, like all the best comedians, he used the mounting tension in the room wisely…

The Penzance show of ‘Mark Steel’s in Town’ airs on BBC Radio 4; 5 May 2010 at 6.30pm.

Here’s a taster of the series, in which Boston, Lincolnshire, gets the Steel treatment: