News about the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive and the Stand-Up Comedy Archive Beacon project, which celebrates, preserves, and provide access to archives and records relating to stand-up comedy in the UK.
Episode 9 of ‘A History of Comedy in Several Objects’ is now available on iTunes and acast.
In this episode, we look at a programme (from the Linda Smith Collection) for the 1986 Red Wedge Comedy Tour, a run of pro-Labour performances featuring comedians such as Mark Miwurdz and Porky the Poet. The Red Wedge Comedy Tour emerged from the political initiative ‘Red Wedge’, a collective of performers, fronted by Billy Bragg and Paul Weller among others, who formed in 1985 and organised a number of major music tours in 1985, along with comedy tours in 1986 and 1987.
In the fifth episode of A History Of Comedy In Several Objects, now out on the iTunes store, we talk to legendary political comedian, Mark Thomas. We look at his particularly absurd object (a squeezy hand grenade! You’ll have to listen to find out more information…) which leads us to discuss big topics as whether comedy can create change and what is the role of a stand-up comedian? Join Olly and Elspeth to explore Mark’s unique engagement in the world stand-up comedy and the world in general.
Squeezy stress grenade (Mark Thomas Collection). Photo Matt Wilson
We are delighted that the brilliant comedian Susan Calman has agreed to give the 2017 Linda Smith Lecture. Susan is known to Radio 4 listeners as a regular panellist on The News Quiz, and for her two series, Susan Calman is Convicted and Keep Calman Carry On. On television she has appeared on QI and in the sitcoms Fresh Meat and Dead Boss. She is also known for her superb stand-up act, and her first DVD Lady Like is available from Go Faster Stripe.
Susan Calman, photographed by Steve Ullathorne
The deposit of Linda Smith’s personal archive with the University of Kent in 2013 provided the inspiration for the formation of the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive, which is now growing into a substantial collection, for use by comedians and for those researching stand-up comedy and associated performance arts. The Linda Smith Lecture was established in 2015 to be an annual event to celebrate Linda’s life and work, her interest in comedy and its use in and for political and social commentary, and to promote the work of the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive.
You can get your tickets for the Lecture via the Gulbenkian box office, online or in person.
In the fourth episode of A History Of Comedy In Several Objects, now out on the iTunes store, we get to grips with comedians’ set lists, whilst exploring how scripts and prompts are used in stand-up. We see some archived materials from influential comedians, including Josie Long’s spider diagrams, Linda Smith’s notes, Andy de la Tour’s scripts and, the main feature of this episode, Robin Ince’s postcard set-lists written for one of his ‘Robin Ince is as Dumb as You‘ 2005 shows. We also feature exclusive audio clips from Andy de la Tour and Linda Smith performing life stand-up comedy.
The first ever episode of ‘A History Of Comedy In Several Objects’, alternatively known as ‘HistComPod’ is now available on the iTunes podcast store.
The podcast, devised and presented by Dr Oliver Double (Director of the Comedy & Popular Performance Research Centre and previously a professional comedian) and Elspeth Millar (Archivist in the University’s Special Collections & Archives), aims to illustrate the history of stand-up comedy through objects found within the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive. Each episode features a particular item/object/record from the archive, which Olly and Elspeth discuss to show what it reveals about the art and craft of stand-up and the recent history of the form.
In the jam-packed inaugural episode, Olly and Elspeth discuss the origins of the archive, the project of the podcast and whether it’s possible to archive a performance. The articles that we reference are:
The main feature of this first episode is an orange from the Josie Long Collection. The orange was originally from one of Josie’s ‘Trying is Good’ shows, but was returned to Josie as part of ‘All the Planet’s Wonders’ (check out Josie’s call for ‘Edinburgh Ephemera’ here). Olly and Elspeth engage with the decomposing citrus fruit and the significance it has, whilst touching upon Elspeth’s “archivist’s guilt”.
An orange in a box donated to Josie Long as part of her ‘All of the Planets Wonders’ tour. Image: Matt Wilson, University of Kent