Tag Archives: Phill Jupitus

Histcompod Episode 9 – Porky’s Red Wedge Cartoon

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.

This episode also features an extract from an ‘in conversation’ event with Phill Jupitus from 2015, plus Olly and Elspeth’s dramatic reading of Porky’s strip cartoon from the Red Wedge Comedy Tour programme (see below!)

‘A Tale of Two Punters’ cartoon by Porky the Poet (c) Phill Jupitus

Apologies, we have a slight error to correct. In this episode I mention that the year is 1987, when in fact it was 1986. Many apologies!

Don’t forget to get involved! You can contact us via standup@kent.ac.uk or tweet us at @histcompod. You can search the online catalogue for more information about the holdings of  the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive at http://archive.kent.ac.uk.

Images of some objects featured on the podcast can be found on our flickr site in the ‘History of Comedy in Several Objects‘ album.

Interesting facts about the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive

1. The British Stand-Up Comedy Archive contains 22 collections; we have been collecting material since 2013.

BSUCA collections on our Calm cataloguing system

BSUCA collections on our Calm cataloguing system

2. We have material dating from 1970 to the present day, documenting the rise of alternative comedy and stand-up comedy. We are keen to collect material from relevant areas of performance including alternative cabaret, performance poetry and working men’s club comedy.

3. We have collected a range of material in a variety of formats (including photographs, scripts, diaries, audiovisual recording, posters, contracts) and for a variety of purposes (promotion, academic research, for broadcast).


4. Throughout 2015 we have been developing new workflows to ensure that the recordings in the archive held on legacy audiovisual formats (such as cassette tapes, MiniDisc and DAT) are digitised and accessible for researchers today and in the future.

5. The digitisation of both printed and audiovisual material means that we can provide samples of representative content from the archive on platforms such as Flickr and Soundcloud as well as on our blog.

6. We have worked to ensure a range of content from the comedy world has been collected and we have been keen to engage with comedy promoters and venues. Monika Bobinska donated a large collection of material from the Meccano Club (1985-1995) and Peter Grahame has given material from Downstairs at the Kings Head (established in 1981). We also have material from more recent clubs and promoters, including The Folkestone Comedy Club and What The Frock! Comedy.

Meccano Club Bookings Book.

Meccano Club Bookings Book. February-March 1995. Featuring acts including Tracy Brothers, Al Murray, Nick Wilty and Dylan Moran. (c) Monika Bobinska

7. One strength of the BSUCA collections is the number of unique, unedited interviews with comedians, recorded for purposes including academic research and publication (Oliver Double Collection), and radio broadcast (John Pidgeon Collection, Andrew Sherlock Radio Collection).

Interviews with comedians on DATs (Digital Audio Tapes) from the John Pidgeon Collection

Interviews with comedians on DATs (Digital Audio Tapes) from the John Pidgeon Collection

8. We’ve had some incredible events this year, with performers such as Mark Thomas, Attila the Stockbroker, Richard Herring, Stewart Lee, and Phill Jupitus (at the University of Kent), and Jo Brand, Susan Calman, and Stephen K. Amos (at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe). These events were all recorded and can be accessed in our reading room at the Templeman Library, University of Kent.

Phill Jupitus talking about a Red Wedge Comedy leaflet which cartooned for (as Porky the Poet). Photo Matt Wilson

Phill Jupitus talking about a Red Wedge Comedy leaflet which cartooned for (as Porky the Poet) during an in-conversation event with Oliver Double in September 2015. Photo Matt Wilson


9. We are holding a joint conference with the British Cartoon Archive ‘Comedy On Stage and Page: satirical cartoons and stand-up‘ (14-15th January 2016), which will explore issues including the relationship between the audience and the comedian, writing shows, the comedy industry, censorship, and women in comedy, and also highlight the Stand-Up Comedy Archive collections.

10. Alongside the conference we will be hosting a joint exhibition with the British Cartoon Archive, providing access to material from the archive and explaining more about its establishment, development and collections in the new Templeman Library gallery area.

Phill Jupitus in conversation with Oliver Double

Matt Hoss, University of Kent Stand Up Comedy MA student, reviews our third British Stand-Up Comedy Archive in-conversation event, Phill Jupitus in conversation with Oliver Double, which took place on Tuesday 29 September 2015 at the Templeman Library Lecture Theatre:

At the very start of the term, the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive immediately welcomes new and returning students with an uproarious and academic conversation with Phill Jupitus. The evening takes place in the new Templeman Library Lecture Theatre, where it is hosted by the engaging Doctor of Comedy, Oliver Double. However Double doesn’t particularly prompt Jupitus, as he sets his own tempo, as he himself unravels his early works. The audience eagerly follows his momentum as he details his transition from performance poetry, under the act Porky The Poet, through to Stand-up Comedy, as Jupitus discusses his most recent Edinburgh Fringe Shows*.

Phill Jupitus at the University of Kent, 29 September 2015. Photo Matt Wilson

Phill Jupitus at the University of Kent, 29 September 2015. Photo Matt Wilson

Throughout the evening, Jupitus shares a mixture of thoughts and anecdotes from his encounters with other comedians and reflects on his vast and determined progression of how he turned into a full-time comedian. Jupitus gives plenty of insider tips to comedy, with mentions to improv groups and other ventured aspects of comedy. In particular Jupitus discussed how he developed his uniquely brilliant show, a comedic retelling of Star Wars: Episode 4 called Jedi, Steady, Go which he built the material from being the compere at the Comedy Store.

Jupitus’ passion for his politics is shown throughout the conversation. This begins tentatively with his humble beginnings working alongside Billy Bragg and Red Wedge, which sparked a somewhat raging commentary about the state of current affairs. But towards the end, when several audience members ask questions about politics in regards to comedy, Jupitus releases a whirlwind of left-wing notions and spitefully shouts about the lack of morality in current politics and television. He passionately yet angrily declares: “Education should be Free!” and to “LEARN!” and “SHARE!” creating a rapturous and unifying celebration shared by the audience.

Phill Jupitus talking about a Red Wedge Comedy leaflet which he cartooned for (as Porky the Poet). Photo Matt Wilson

Phill Jupitus talking about a Red Wedge Comedy leaflet which he cartooned for (as Porky the Poet). Photo Matt Wilson

Jupitus receives countless laughs and constant bursts of applause, leaving the audience spellbound with his comedic charm and his inspirational rhetoric. The Stand-Up Archive has another fantastic addition to its star-studded collection.

*Phill Jupitus: Sketch Comic, Impossible, and Phill Jupitus is Porky the Poet in Apologist Now!