WHO AM I?
Tom Mayhew is a critically acclaimed comedian, whose material about being working-class – mixing the personal and the political, with the punchline-rate of a one-liner comic – sets him apart from any other act on the circuit. His 2019 Edinburgh show I, Tom Mayhew, about being someone in their 20s living on benefits in austerity Britain, received 4 and 5 star reviews across the board, and transferred to a sell-out Soho Theatre run.
He adapted this show for his own radio series - Tom Mayhew is Benefit Scum - which aired on BBC Radio 4 in March 2021.
After dropping out of university, Tom found himself unemployed for three years. Living in a small Home Counties town with no access to a car, he got stuck in a poverty trap, trying to fight against a system that punishes the poor. He eventually found work at a national supermarket chain, and through a mix of talent, persistence and sheer bloody mindedness managed to develop his comedy career. He won the Comedy Store’s legendary Gong Show in 2016, was nominated for Leicester Comedy Festival Comedian Of The Year in 2017, and made the semi-finals of the BBC New Comedy Award in 2018.
Tom is the voice of the Precariat *, articulating the worldview of a generation of working class people who came of age in a UK dominated by austerity, the gig economy, an insane housing market, intern culture and bullshit apps. He has a unique voice, telling stories that are rarely heard in a media that seems to believe the working class should only be seen in Essex nail bars, street gangs or police cells.
Despite all of the social and economic cards being stacked against him, Tom finds hope and humour in his family, who have remained resilient and strong despite everything they have had thrown at them. He is fighting for a better world for people like them, one joke at a time.
He has also written for The News Quiz (BBC Radio 4), NewsJack (BBC Radio 4 Extra), and performed on Radio 1 and BBC Radio 4 Extra.
*Precariat: a condition of existence without predictability or security, affecting material or psychological welfare. The term is a portmanteau obtained by merging precarious with proletariat.**
‘Authentic material we can relate to: funny, sharp, intelligent, meaningful and pleasing. Mayhew is a voice that needs to be heard.’
‘The hour is studded with delightful little one liners. It is genuine, powerful, political stuff. These are four stars for a voice that should be heard more. Four stars for comedy shining a light on some grim, unjust places.’
★★★★ The Scotsman
‘Mayhew is passionate, articulate and – above all else – hilarious. His jokes are punchy, sharp and forthcoming. Despite the often weighty subject matter, laughs are never too far apart. Mayhew’s comedic voice should be heard, even if you don’t want to hear it.’
★★★★ The Skinny
‘Quite simply an absolute gem of a performance.’
**Tom didn't want to write the word precariat as he didn't know what it meant without Googling it, but his agent said it was a good idea.