Tag Archives: Linda Smith Lecture

Linda Smith Lecture 2017: Susan Calman

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

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.

Linda Smith Lecture 2016: Andy Hamilton

Matt Hoss, a University of Kent MA Stand-Up Comedy student, reviews the second Linda Smith Lecture, this year given by Andy Hamilton.

Returning for its second year, The Linda Smith Lecture came back in full glory on the 3rd May 2016 at Canterbury’s Gulbenkian Theatre. Any act would have a hard time following Mark Thomas from last year’s event, but Andy Hamilton was able to deliver.

The show had highly comical moments created by Hamilton, as he picked upon his vast wealth anecdotes which he leisurely perused at his disposal. For example he talked about throwing up regularly at Green Park, swearing as a six-year old around a campfire and calling a producer’s bluff about his “Grannie in Dundee”, as he discusses his comedy career.

Hamilton’s performance also had rather touching moments encapsulated within his lecture. In particular his moments reflecting Linda Smith were particularly poignant and well-suited for the environment and tone of the evening.

Hamilton really raised some interesting points within the world of television, offence and comedy. He talked about how television producers shy away from genre splicing, but Hamilton states that this is an alien concept as life does not separate comedy from the tragedy.

Andy Hamilton, presenting the 2016 Linda Smith Lecture, 3 May 2016, Gulbenkian Theatre, University of Kent

Andy Hamilton, presenting the 2016 Linda Smith Lecture, 3 May 2016, Gulbenkian Theatre, University of Kent

The crown jewel within Hamilton’s lecture is his main argument about how he believes that comedy is important, but it is more important to not be offended. Hamilton claims “Comedy licenses us to be subversive and transgressive about the things we fear the most. But we will no longer be able to do that if we keep on increasing the subjects that are out-of-bounds”. He backed up these moments of honesty and truthfulness with more hilarious stories, creating an explicably engaging speech.

Overall Hamilton’s lecture was thoughtful and highly comical and left the audience with glee. Certainly next year’s speaker will have an even higher expectation to perform to after Hamilton’s remarkable performance.