In episode 16 of ‘A History of Comedy in Several Objects’ we have an exclusive interview with Bruce Dessau, the comedy critic from the Evening Standard and his own Beyond The Joke website. Together we went back to 1981 to examine a review of The Comic Strip written by Charles Spencer, and discuss the role of the comedy critic, how it has changed in the last 36 years and how comedy relates to both theatre and live music.
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 8 of ‘A History of Comedy in Several Objects’ is now available on iTunes and acast. In this episode we look at a few different flyers from Nick Toczek’s collection. The main focus of the episode is two flyers dating from 1994 for the Bradford comedy cabaret club ‘Cracker’. You may spot a familiar name on both flyers… We also feature an archive audio recording of Olly compering at the Last Laugh in Sheffield in the 1990s.
Cracker at the Java cafe Bradford flyer, 8th October- 26th November 1994. Featuring acts such as Ross Noble, Mary Unfaithful & Attila the Stockbroker (c) Nick Toczek
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!