In this podcast, Oliver Double and Elspeth Millar from the University of Kent examine material from the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive. Each episode features a particular item from the archive, which they discuss to show what it reveals about the art and craft of stand-up and the recent history of the form. If you enjoy HistComPod, please remember to subscribe, share with your friends and give us a review on iTunes. We’re on Twitter (@HistComPod) and Facebook (A History of Comedy in Several Objects Podcast). And you are welcome to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries, suggestions and to organise a visit to the archive.
Episode 35 'Rik, Ben and Andy at the Edinburgh Fringe, 1983'
Merry Podmas everyone! ‘Tis the Season to be jolly, and we’re celebrating with an incredibly spectacular episode, looking at a 1983 Edinburgh Fringe show featuring Rik Mayall, Andy de la Tour and Ben Elton. Your hosts Oliver Double and Elspeth Millar discuss the financial logistics of the Fringe and how much they’ve changed since then, and we have EXCLUSIVE AUDIO from interviews with JENNY LECOAT, ANDY DE LA TOUR and – wait for it – BEN ELTON! Yes, we have a bit of comedy legend BEN ELTON on the show, we absolutely bloody do! BEN ELTON!! I bet you’re wishing it could be Podmas EVERY DAY! Please Deck the iTunes Halls with boughs of 5 star reviews. And why not join our Facebook group?
Episode 34 'Peter Grahame's Diary 1986'
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, we are here for the case of A History Of Comedy in Several Objects versus the concept of boredom. The Prosecution (Dr Oliver Double and Elspeth Millar) will present the case of "Peter Grahame's Diary 1986". They will discuss their main evidence – the bookings diary for Downstairs at the King’s Head, one of the UK’s oldest comedy clubs. In the course of doing so, they’ll the wider context of the comedians and comedy scene of the 1980s. ORDER IN THE COURT! Olly and Elspeth interview Peter and hear about his fascinating and unique outlook on the industry and how it is changing. Do not be GUILTY of not giving us 5 Stars on iTunes (or it's a life sentence for you!).
Episode 33 'Felix Dexter Interview, 1990'
Just about in time to catch the end of Black History Month, this episode’s object from the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive is an interview from 1990 with the late, great pioneer of black British stand-up, Felix Dexter. We place this in context by talking to two very different comedians – Ray Campbell performed as Buddy Hell on the 1980s alternative cabaret circuit, and John Simmit set up the mighty Upfront Comedy Club, helping to build the black British comedy scene for well over two decades. Both talk about their own experiences as black British stand-ups, and working with Felix, giving their impressions of him both as a comedian and as a person. Plus we might just have squeezed in a question for John about being in Teletubbies. If you like this podcast, please tell your friends, share on social media, and leave us a 5* review on iTunes.
Episode 32 'Linda Smith's Erith Joke'
The recent film Funny Cow uses one of the late, great Linda Smith’s signature jokes without permission or attribution. In this episode, Elspeth and Olly look through Linda’s old set-lists and unpublished recordings going back to the 1980s to trace the origins of the joke, and look into how it fits into her development as a comedian. You’ll hear different versions of the gag at different points in her career, to show how it changed and developed. It’s still quoted as one of Linda’s best jokes today. So what is the gag? All I’ll say is if you’re a fan of Linda’s – and not so much of her home town Erith – you probably already know it. In any case, listen to the episode and find out. Why not follow us on Facebook or Twitter @HistComPod? And maybe leave us a 5 star review on iTunes?
Episode 31 'Cabaret a Go Go'
It’s episode 31 we’re cookin’! All you cats are gonna flip your lids and razz your berries as Elspeth and Olly discuss the craziest beatnik the 1980s had to offer in, er, Newcastle. Yes, it’s the one and only Cabaret a Go Go! Dig? Check out our interview with its founder, Ray Campbell (AKA Buddy Hell), who looks through a whole stack of Cabaret a Go Go posters and talks about how it fitted into the scene in the North East. If you’re interested in provincial alternative comedy, this episode’s for you. It’s hip, it’s a gas, it’s neat-o,! Why not follow us on Facebook or Twitter @HistComPod? And maybe leave us a 5 star review on iTunes? Later, daddy-O!
Episode 30 'Tommy Cooper's Fez'
HistComPod has hit the BIG THREE-OH! Yes, it’s episode 30, and we’re celebrating by picking out our most iconic comedy object yet! What is it? It’s only TOMMY COOPER’S FEZ, that’s what it is! This piece of comedic headgear was given to the cartoonist Giles, and now resides in the British Cartoon Archive. So we use this episode to discuss connections between comedians and cartoonists, going right back to Dan Leno’s Comic Journal in the late 19th Century. We also look at some relevant objects from the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive, including a copy of The Dandy featuring a Harry Hill comic strip, and a storyboard for Harry’s TV work. Why not follow us on Facebook or Twitter @HistComPod? And maybe leave us a 5 star review on iTunes?