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Times changed, though, with Blair and New Labour coming to power, 9/11 shaking the world, with Britain and Australia finding themselves knee-deep in a Middle Eastern conflict that essentially divided the nations’ populations. 

“It became difficult to do political comedy. We were a country at war so it was not the best time for anti-government sentiment, but it also became a time of very vacuous comedy, too,” he says.

“I call it the Russell Brand era: popular observation stuff – ‘my toaster, my girlfriend’, really bubble-headed stuff.

My style of comedy was hard to place so I had [gender politics-based one-man production] Defending The Caveman, which was a simple piece of human politics that people loved.”

Reinvigorated by the changing times, culturally and politically, Little now takes to the stage minus any of the theatrical distractions of previous years – it’s just one man, one mic and one mouth. Movie roles and TV appearances have formed a steady supplemental diet for years – Little had a bit part in Mel Smith’s lawn bowls comedy Blackball in 2003, and is a regular on The Wright Stuff, Channel 5’s weekday morning current affairs debate show, the live aspect forcing him to keep his wits sharp.

But it is his passion to re-engage both with the people and the fire that fuelled his career decisions in the first place that is most noticeable. “In the old days, we didn’t want to put things right, we wanted to tear it all down,” he says, his punk urgency now emboldened by a wisdom that comes with age, but untempered by this same passing of time.

Rather, Little sees 2012 and beyond as a time for the old guard to thrive. “All the old-schoolers are coming back out of the woodwork after the Blair and Brand era, and they are finding a new audience, too – the old school has something to say to the new school,” he says.

Dismissing some of today’s youth as ‘the Twits’, brought up on a diet of Facebook and Twitter and social- and mind-distractions, it is clear he is not totally enamoured with this generation, nor his own, instead seeing people as those that think and those that don’t.

At the end of the day, The Bullshit Artist is still here to make people laugh as well, but that shouldn’t be much of a problem.  “I know I’m still the funniest bastard out there,” he roars.

”You’d be a fool to disagree, but there’s no doubt Little would relish the argument – and the fact you’re thinking for yourself.

The Bullshit Artist, Assembly George Square, Edinburgh. Aug 1-27. £15  edfringe.com. Then nationwide this autumn. The Bloomsbury Theatre. Nov 10. £16  thebloomsbury.com

Photos: Getty

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A Little bit of honesty: interview with Australian actor and comedian Mark Little
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