Monthly Archives: February 2015

Student perspective – using the Stand-Up Comedy Archive

The University of Kent has a history of teaching comic performance and provides a number of opportunities for students at both undergraduate and postgraduate level to study the theory and practice of stand-up comedy. We think it is fantastic that the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive is based within a context in which students themselves are studying and performing comedy, and we hope that the archive will inspire performance as well as record it.  Thank you to Yolanda Cooper for writing the first of our ‘student perspectives’ on using some of the audio-visual material within the collections.

Yolanda Cooper writes:

As a third year Stand-Up comedy student, I was given the humbling opportunity this week to work with a fantastic, rare clip by the hilarious Mark Thomas from his ‘It’s the Stupid Economy’ tour. My task was to listen to the clip (recorded in Sheffield in 2009) – a treat in itself due to the small collection of people who have had the opportunity – and select a section to analyse contextually.

CD from the Mark Thomas Collection of a recording from the Sheffield leg of his 2009 'It's the Stupid Economy' tour

Making the decision as to which part was my favourite proved a hard and perilous task after listening. (It was all hilarious!)  Along with Thomas and his audience I agree that perhaps we should change our anthem to ‘Gold’ by Spandau Ballet and that we [Britain] are in seriously financial trouble when Primark has a sale! Consequently, not only was I able to laugh out loud at the comical truths of our nation that Thomas describes, but his witty political satire charged the realisation that we as Brits don’t say what we think.

After analysing the chosen segment, my group and I presented to the class our findings and research regarding the context of the specific jokes. Luckily for us the show was performed in 2009, so the political references he was making were still relatable to our generation!

This was just the beginning of my exploration through the archive, which is an exciting platform for students and the public alike to investigate further rare comedic material. Not only did Thomas’ clip make me laugh, it also inspired me, an occurrence that wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for the Stand-Up Comedy Archive.

Alexei Sayle in Conversation- Postponed

Unfortunately the first of the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive’s ‘in conversation’ series has been postponed. The event, with Stand-Up comedian Alexei Sayle, was due to take place on Saturday 7th February at the Gulbenkian.
Further details of the postponed event, and other events in the series, to follow.

Postponed poster

Politics and Humour Conference

Tory Gillespie writes:

Nick Hiley and Olly Double at the launch of the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive.

Nick Hiley and Olly Double at the launch of the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive.

Exciting news! The official launch of the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive took place on Friday 16th January 2015, as part of the Politics and Humour conference held at the University of Kent. What an appropriate setting in which to launch a collection that houses so much fantastic work from politically-minded comedians such as Linda Smith and Mark Thomas. The Glorious Launch (which was really just us saying interesting things and having a few drinks, but we did have fun) was held at the Gulbenkian Theatre, who have been incredibly supportive to this new venture. The conference itself was a star-studded affair, in academic terms. Keynote speaker Dr Sharon Lockyer (Brunel) shared her research on disability and stand-up comedy and our internationally-renowned guest speakers, including Kent’s own Dr Oliver Double, shared interesting and diverse research from the broad field of comedy. In the evening we were entertained by two of the most prominant new political comedians – Grainne Maguire (The Now Show, Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle) and Liam Williams (Russell Howard’s Good News) – who we hope at some point in the future will donate some materials to the archive.

The rest of the conference was highly entertaining, with topics ranging from satirical political organisations in Northern Ireland to the practice of evil clowning. It was a great weekend and a fantastic way to launch the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive.