In episode 14 of A History of Comedy in Several Objects the brilliantly funny comedian Angela Barnes visits the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive (you can too!) to look at a whole swathe of material relating to her comic hero, Linda Smith.
We looked at lots of material but Angela selected as her object of the episode some post-it notes which Linda had used as set-list style prompts.
Post-it notes used by Linda Smith for unknown show
Episode 13 of Histcompod features an exclusive interview with Richard Herring! That’s right – the creator of RHLSTP (“Ruh-huh-luh-stuh-puh!”), one half of comedy double act Lee and Herring, and writer of many masterful Edinburgh Fringe shows. In our exclusive interview with the fantastic “Podfather ”, you’ll hear Olly asking him a multitude of searching questions (albeit not as searching as, “Ham hand or sun cream armpit?”). Herring discusses his university scrapbook, his contemporaries and his analytical approach to comedy.
You can access this episode of ‘A History of Comedy in Several Objects’ via iTunes and acast.
Scanned image files of Richard Herring’s book ‘Diary of Comedy and Drama’, kept whilst studying at the University of Oxford, 1986-1989.
Episode 12 of Histcompod features an exclusive interview with Josie Long and her sketchpad, talking about the creative process behind her 2006 Edinburgh show, Kindness and Exuberance. You can access this episode of ‘A History of Comedy in Several Objects’ via iTunes and acast.
Drawing pad used in Josie Long’s 2006 show Kindness and Exuberance (second page)
Episode 11 of ‘A History of Comedy in Several Objects’ is now available on iTunes and acast.
In this special guest episode we talk to Warren Lakin about Linda Smith’s life and her work, feminism in comedy and the Miners’ Strike of the 1980s, focusing on a flyer for the Cable Street Community Centre show as part of the 1985 ‘Pit Stop Tour’ run by Sheffield Popular Theatre, plus an exclusive interview clip with Mark Thomas.
Poster advertising the 1985 ‘Pit Stop Tour’ in support of the National Union of Mineworkers featuring Token Women and other acts (BSUCA/LS/3/1/1/3) (c) Stephen Houfe, Warren Lakin
Episode 10 of ‘A History of Comedy in Several Objects’ is now available on iTunes and acast.
In this episode we look at at a range of evocative posters and photos from Captain JJ Waller, alongside an exclusive interview. In the course of doing so, we find out about the links between Covent Garden street theatre and alternative cabaret, and hear just how he managed to carry the weight of two London double decker buses on his chest.
Promotional flyer for Captain JJ Waller (front cover), with an image of JJ Waller, taglines ‘Oscar Winning Busker’ and ‘You too can have a body like mine…’
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.
Episode 7 of ‘A History of Comedy in Several Objects’ is now available on iTunes and acast. In this episode (‘Meccano Club Bookings Book’) we discuss one of the archive’s most popular items: the bookings book from legendary London alternative comedy venue, the Meccano Club, part of the Monika Bobinska Collection (reference BSUCA/MB/1/1/7). This episode looks at the stars of the circuit that played the Meccano Club in the 1980s and 1990s, as well as featuring an exclusive interview clip with the club promoter Monika Bobinska. Further information about the Monika Bobinska Collection can be found in the blogpost ‘Spotlight on: The Monika Bobinska Collection‘.
Meccano Club Bookings Book. January 1987. Featuring acts including Ian McPherson, Mark Thomas, Johnny Immaterial, Kevin Day & John Hegley
Episode 6 of ‘A History of Comedy in Several Objects’ is now available on iTunes and acast. In this episode we look at strongly-worded letter written to that legend of early alternative comedy, Jim Barclay. This angry missive was provoked by a riotous show by Alternative Cabaret at Goldsmiths College Students’ Union in 1979. Expect deviance, titillation and Keith Allen. We also have excerpts from an exclusive interview with Jim Barclay himself!
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
The third episode of A History Of Comedy In Several Objects (or HistComPod for short) is now available via iTunes.
Join Olly and Elspeth for another week spelunking in the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive as they look at an attempt to establish a Comedy Trade Union in 1983, and go through a list of all the key acts in the alternative comedy scene of the day, where future stars like French and Saunders rubbed shoulders with long forgotten performers whose gags are now lost in the mists of time.
The specific focus of this episode is a letter written in 1983 by Andy de la Tour and Lee Cornes to others involved in the alternative cabaret scene at the time about the formation of a ‘union’ for performers, looking particularly at pay from specific venues. This letter is from the Andy de la Tour Collection (within this folder of material).
Olly also talks about a new group, the UK Comedy Guild; the article discussed (‘Gagging rights: British comedians set up UK Comedy Guild trade union’ by Paul Fleckney) can be found on The Guardian website.