NEXT year, Mark Steel will be performing in Haywards Heath.

He says it would be a good candidate for his Radio 4 show, Mark Steel’s In Town, which sees Mark research a town, then travel there and perform a set of stand-up comedy tailor-made to it.

The show has recently been nominated for Best Scripted Comedy in the BBC Comedy Awards.

“I’m fascinated by the little quirks in every town,” he says enthusiastically now.

“That’s why I love doing the series so much.

“Everywhere you go you find these really brilliant, enthusiastic people who just love all the little quirks and bits of stupidity about their town.

“When it worked well it was really good fun, people would start shouting things out and get involved.

“In all my shows I try to do as much as possible about the area I’m performing in. Haywards Heath is the right sort of town.

"It’s a place that’s just outside a bigger place, so it’s got that slight sense of frustration. ‘Yes you’ve all heard of Brighton, but we’re not Brighton, we’re Haywards Heath’.”

So Brighton itself wouldn’t be as good a target for Mark Steel’s In Town?

“I’d love to do Kemp Town. There are certain things that are so Brighton.

“Like the table tennis club in Kemp Town, which I’m a member of. They’re just brilliant down there, it’s packed all day long and there’s just something so welcoming about it.”

I am speaking to famously left-wing comedian Mark Steel while he is on his way down to “that merry seaside metropolis” Brighton.

It is also three days after the General Election that saw the Conservative Party gain its largest majority since Margaret Thatcher. Mark laughs briefly when I ask if every little thing is going to be all right (the name of his show).

“Yes, it is going to be all right,” he says. “Isn’t it?”

There’s a moment’s pause, then Mark continues.

“There’s so many things about events of the last few days that irritates me, all this stuff about who’s going to be the new Labour leader because I think the real question is so much bigger than that.

“Someone needs to work out why it is that people in places that have always voted...” Mark starts, then breaks off abruptly.

“Well, you know, all the obvious things. I don’t know, my opinions no bloody good.”

One feels that Mark is not being entirely sincere when he says this.

The comedian is famously forthright with his opinions.

“How much politics is there in the new show?

“Well I had a 25-minute bit at the start that I was really enjoying because it was quite fiery, with yelling all over the place, and it was going really well, I was really happy with it.

“But I was aware over the latter stages of the summer there’s probably going to be an election, Boris Johnson is probably going to win, and 80 percent of this probably going to be out of date by the time I do the next lot of shows. I think it’s still possible to find a really funny 25 minutes from it that should go well everywhere.”

This isn’t the only difficulty that Mark has with being a comedian – particularly a political comedian – today.

“We’re in a world now where things are taken to literally.

“I do think the big divide in this society, not young and old, not Labour and Tory, not leave and remain, the big divide is people who realise things are funny and people who don’t.

“You can say the most absurd thing that’s clearly a joke and people are like ‘Well that wouldn’t happen would it!”

“At Christmas if you say there’s a joke in me cracker: ‘What’s red and sits in the corner? A naughty strawberry.’

“Half of the country will be like ‘Well strawberries have no sense of shame! They don’t have the thought process. The joke doesn’t make sense.’

“I think half of the country is like that and I don’t know what we’re supposed to do with them.”

“Like when people get really irate because someone’s used the wrong language or something.

“You think, well it doesn’t mean someone’s racist, they just might not be aware of the latest twists and turn of semantic bloody policy, you know?”

With all this in mind, is it harder to be a comedian nowadays?

“Well it probably always was like that, but those people never went out to comedy nights.

“Now it’s different because comics talk about ‘ideas’ and what have you. But enough people usually get the joke.”

Mark is aware that he has been criticised in the past for “preaching to the converted,” though he doesn’t agree that is the case.

“There was a joke that I was doing for a while, which used to go down well. It went: I actually really like Labour’s policy on Brexit, I think it chimes with the country, because the Labour policy is ‘bloody hell complicated isn’t it?’ And that used to get such a big laugh!”

“I’ve always struggled with anyone talking in public in a way that assumes that everyone is of that sort of liberal view of the world, cause then you’re not trying to appeal to anyone else.”

“There’s a sense in a certain cultural circle that everybody A, knows all you references, and B is part of your world, and you just automatically assume that everybody is like you, not just agrees with you but is like you.

“I’ve always felt very uneasy with that.”

Mark Steel will perform at Haywards Heath’s Clair Hall on March 22