He is particularly associated with the 6.30pm comedy slot on BBC Radio 4, having frequently appeared on several of its shows, including The Now Show.
The son of a London City banker and a schoolteacher mother, Brigstocke was educated at several independent schools: St. Edmunds School in the village of Hindhead in Surrey, at Westbourne House School in the cathedral city of Chichester in West Sussex, and at King's School in the town of Bruton in Somerset. He also attended Netherton Hall School, a boarding school in Farway, Devon. He then attended the University of Bristol, where he studied Drama, but did not complete his degree.
Moving to London with his then girlfriend, later wife, during the early nineties Brigstocke worked part-time as a podium dancer at the nightclub Ministry of Sound. He also worked on a North Sea oil rig around this time.
Many of the central themes of Brigstocke's work were first addressed during his time as a student at the University of Bristol. While at Bristol he often performed in the comedy trio Club Seals, which later made the transition to TV in the series of short programmes We Are History.
Brigstocke has a successful radio career including The Now Show (with Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis) and Giles Wemmbley-Hogg Goes Off. The Now Show provided an outlet for his fierce dislike of David Blaine, referring to Blaine himself as a "Git Wizard", and his "Above The Below" stunt as Freakdangle. Brigstocke hailed the failure of Blaine's "Drowned Alive" as proof that Blaine is "not special; not magic; just a moistened git". He increasingly enjoyed mainstream success, appearing on such broadly popular TV shows such as Have I Got News for You and Jack Dee's Live at the Apollo series.
Brigstocke plays an arts journalist named Marcus in the Neil Gaiman film A Short Film About John Bolton and a radio DJ in the Richard Curtis film Love Actually. On 9 April 2006, Brigstocke appeared in BBC Radio 4's Classic Serial adaptation of The Code of the Woosters as Bertie Wooster with Andrew Sachs as Jeeves.
Brigstocke hosts a satirical programme on BBC4, The Late Edition, which has been described as "Newsnight with jokes". It is loosely based on the format made popular by the American programme The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. This commitment led to his absence from the final two Now Show series of 2006 with his place filled by other comedians referred to by the rest of the cast as "our replacement Marcus Brigstocke". He did however return to series in 2007.
Brigstocke's first stand up comedy DVD Planet Corduroy, produced by Phoenix Film & Television Productions, and executive producer Matthew Willetts was released in November 2007.
In April 2008, Brigstocke and fellow comedian and snowboarder, Andrew Maxwell founded the Altitude Festival - a comedy and music festival in the ski resort of Meribel, in the French Alps.
In September 2008, Brigstocke was team captain for the first series of a comedy panel show, Argumental for UK TV channel Dave as the Captain of the Red Team competing against Rufus Hound with a variety of guest participants, under the chairmanship of John Sergeant.
In 2009, Brigstocke starred in the UK tour of the American live improv show, Totally Looped.
Brigstocke's second stand-up show God Collar toured in 2009. In June 2010, He announced that he had signed a publishing deal with Transworld to turn the God Collar Tour into a book.
He has also worked for television shows aimed at children for CBBC: Stupid! and Sorry I've Got No Head.
One of the best-known jokes Brigstocke uses is an ironic commentary on the controversy regarding the influence of video games on children.
This joke is frequently quoted on the internet and often attributed to famous figures in electronics (such as an apocryphal CEO of Nintendo, "Kristian Wilson," although Hiroshi Yamauchi held that position from 1949 to 2002), but Brigstocke vehemently claims authorship of the joke:
Ah! Bloody Pacman....It is my joke. I wrote it, then I took the rest of the day off as I was so chuffed with it. I am gutted that it has been claimed and passed around by so many people. Intellectual property law will not save me, the false claims will continue until I am man enough to give it all up. All I can say is -- it seems that it is very unlikely that it was written by a Nintendo employee in 1989, being as Pac Man was still around and not much of a childhood memory, there were very few claims that gaming influenced children's behaviour, and that the wording of it is identical to how it has been delivered in my stand up routine for 6 years! For those that are interested it has also been attributed to Bill Gates, but then so has Windows! Bitter? Well perhaps just a little. It was sent to me by someone at Channel 4 a few years back after I did it on Channel 4 in a late night stand up show! Hope that clears everything up.
Brigstocke took part in the BBC programme Excuse My French with Ron Atkinson and Esther Rantzen, broadcast on BBC Two. They were immersed in the French language by staying in a French town in the Provence region, being compelled to adapt to the French lifestyle and speak the language.
Brigstocke's ultimate assignment was to perform a live stand-up comedy act in French to a French audience, a task at which he excelled. According to the programme, he continues to learn French, and has since performed more stand-up in France (predominantly in English, but with sections in French).Just A Minute
The Now Show
I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue
Giles Wemmbley Hogg Goes Off
Think the Unthinkable
The Museum of Everything
2000 Years of Radio
As Safe As Houses
I've Never Seen Star Wars
The Brig Society
We Are History
The Late Edition
Have I Got News for You
Excuse My French
What's The Problem? With Anne Robinson
Marcus Brigstocke's Trophy People
News Knight with Sir Trevor McDonald
Thank God You're Here
Sorry, I've Got No Head
Hole in the Wall
I've Never Seen Star Wars
Would I Lie to You?
Who Set Fire To My Mud?
The Graham Norton Show
Live at the Apollo
The Joy Of Techs
Red Nose Day Actually
Marcus Brigstocke – Planet Corduroy (DVD Region 2). The Shaw Theatre, London, England: Sony/BMG. November 26, 2007. ASIN B000X21NIS.
In 2010, Brigstocke made his musical theatre debut as King Arthur in the UK tour of Spamalot for a limited engagement. He then starred in The Railway Children as Albert Perks at the Waterloo station Theatre in 2011. He appeared in the role of Ali Hakim at two semi-staged concert performances of Oklahoma! at the Proms with the John Wilson Orchestra on 11 August 2017.
In 2000, a sample of a comedy sketch performed by Brigstocke, Dan Tetsell and Danny Robins in the sketch show Barking as part of a Bristol University revue in which an individual assuredly proclaims that he is a non-smoker was featured in DJ Dee Kline's "I Don't Smoke", alongside another line in the style of Jim Davidson's character 'Chalky White'.
The sample was used without the knowledge of the comedians until the voice of Brigstocke was recognised by Tetsell, who heard the track while shopping, resulting in the trio successfully claiming publishing rights for the track, which entered the UK charts at number 11.
Brigstocke enjoys snowboarding – he has set up a stand-up tour in the Alps and a comedy festival called The Altitude Festival. He has performed in beatboxing battles on stage with Shlomo and Bellatrix.
During an episode of The Late Edition in October 2007, Brigstocke noted that he was an atheist and was presented with an Out Campaign T-shirt by his guest and atheist Richard Dawkins to which Brigstocke replied: "Look at that. Outed, outed as an atheist and proud to be so." During an appearance on The One Show in July 2009, Brigstocke reflected that "a lot of people have signed up to the Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens thing", and on being an atheist, that "I was, I probably still am, but I'm not so sure now. It can be a sort of weird and quite a cold experience, actually, if you don't then develop something to believe in."
Brigstocke endorsed Caroline Lucas and the Green Party in their successful campaign for the seat of Brighton Pavilion in the 2010 General Election.