(Second) student perspective – using the Stand-Up Comedy Archive

Postcard accompanying the book ‘Mark Thomas presents The People’s Manifesto’, which contains a selection of policies suggested during the ‘Its the Stupid Economy’ tour

Matt Hoss writes:

In my module Introduction to Stand-Up, I listened to unpublished materials from the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive and analysed a comedian in relation to their social context. I eagerly persuaded (some may say ‘coerced’) my group to listen to Mark Thomas. The audio was occasionally difficult to hear, however it retains and encapsulates the true passion within Thomas’ comedic rhetoric. The clip is an hour long and it involves the second half of his 2009 show It’s The Stupid Economy. The clip starts with Thomas reading out suggested policies written by audience members in the interval. Responding to their decrees, Thomas delivers witty anecdotes accompanied an undertone of political restlessness.

Thomas demonstrates his tremendous craft by voicing his politics but also estranging us from it through absurdity. For example he envisions a simple solution to the Israel and Palestine crisis by transferring their mortgages to Northern Rock and sending “busloads of Geordie Bailiffs”. The interweaving of pertinent issues within our society represents how Thomas topically frames his intelligent and poignant jokes, which suit the structure and the significance of his set.

Overall, the archive grants access to significant pieces of Stand-Up which is both a rare opportunity and a genuine delight.