Ref NoBSUCA/JP/1/1/8/2
CollectionJohn Pidgeon Collection
TitleLaughing Matters with Arthur Smith (as broadcast)
Name of creatorPidgeon, John, 1947-2016
DateJune 1995
Duration2 hr. 2 min. 37 sec.
Extent1 sound cassette (DAT 124)
1 audio file Broadcast WAVE Format
DescriptionLaughing Matters' with Arthur Smith (edited programme as broadcast on British Airways Radio).
[00:02] Audio begins, sting “You’re I’m Arthur Smith…” [00:09] Introduction to a clip of Bob Newhart, clip of Bob Newhart plays.
[06:05] Clip ends, Arthur Smith [A.S.] discusses Bob Newhart as a childhood memory, comic monologues, a single like The Laughing Policeman. [06:37] A.S. talks about being in school productions of Peter Pan and Tom Sawyer, the beginnings of his comedy ad-libbing.
[07:34] Peter Cook and Dudley Moore, Peter Cook was funnier than everyone else in the world, Dudley Moore would “corpse” at Peter Cook [08:10] Clip of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore plays.
[14:17] Clip ends, A.S. says Dudley Moore knew he wasn’t the funny one. [14:33] Peter Cook was charismatic, had integrity and cynical view of the world. [14:52] Clip plays
[17:46] Clip ends, [17:56] Alan Bennett said Peter Cook’s life of excess could yield up its own wisdom [18:32] Laughing Matters Sting, [18:40] A.S. talks about radio, Jack Jackson, The Goon Show, Tony Hancock [19:19] watched Hancock on TV, he was of the period, Sunday Afternoon skit, [20:04] Clip of Tony Hancock plays.
[32:23] Clip ends, A.S. discusses Sid James being a wonderful comic foil to Hancock [32:43] A.S. gets compared to Sid James constantly. [32:58] Remaking Hancock with Paul Merton in the Hancock role with the same scripts [33:22] Laughing Matters sting plays. [33:36] Clip of Woody Allen stand-up plays.
[37:04] Clip ends, discussion about Woody Allen’s stand-up [37:29] Steve Martin also started in stand-up and went in film, not an option for British comic [37:51] Other American comics like Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd also started in stand-up and went on to do films, [38:04] John Belushi created Saturday Night Live as a success in the States, describes Belushi as self-destructive and dangerous [38:52] Clip of Chevy Chase and John Belushi on SNL plays.
[40:42] Clip ends, John Belushi was more rock-n-roll than comedy, most successful film Blues Brothers [41:17] Laughing Matters sting plays. [41:20] Americans didn’t have tradition of political stand-up comedy until Lenny Bruce and Bill Hicks. [41:17] Denis Leary is an actor, Bill Hicks was himself on stage [42:11] Clip of Bill Hicks plays
[47:44] Clip ends, A.S. talks about comic personas with integrity, [48:22] Laughing Matters sting plays [48:31] Clip of Noel Coward plays. [51:45] Clip ends, A.S. discusses Noel Coward going to America and being treated like Oscar Wilde. [52:53] A.S. describes Noel Coward as the high-priest of wit [53:04] Tom Lehrer is in the same tradition, with political input, Poisoning Pigeons in the Park [53:47] Clip of Tom Lehrer plays.
[55:52] Clip ends, Flanders & Swann did songs about Hippopotamuses and Mud, while Tom Lehrer did songs about The Bomb and killing pigeons [56:04] Comedy and music is difficult, [56:18] The Bonzos [Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band] and Vivian Stanshall [56:30] Clip of The Bonzos plays.
[59:14] Clip ends, combination of Neil Innes’s lyrics and Vivian Stanshall’s accent, [59:45] British Airways sting, silence for approximately a full minute
[01:00:57] Alternative comedy started in Britain in 1979 at the Comedy Store, A.S. was appearing in revues in Edinburgh, hangover from 1950s revues [01:01:28] Alexei Sayle was doing jokes about social workers and pine furniture [01:01:37] Clip of Alexei Sayle plays.
[01:05:38] Clip ends, Alexei Sayle and The Comic Strip opened up a new world for A.S. [01:05:50] there weren’t role models for young stand-ups, it was comics like Jimmy Tarbuck. [01:06:35] Clip of Arnold Brown plays
[01:09:23] Clip ends, A.S. discusses him at the Comedy Store and his delivery [01:09:57] Laughing Matter Sting plays, [01:10:01] A.S. discusses his career as a comic [01:11:07] people talk about Jo Brand as an overnight success because she had a series on but she’d been on the club circuit for years [01:11:33] A.S. talks about how there isn’t a tradition of female stand-ups in Britain, French & Saunders were a knockabout double-act, Jo Brand was a stand-up [01:12:25] Clip of Jo Brand plays.
[01:20:47] Clip ends, A.S. talks about heckling, [01:23:34] A.S. talks about stand-up comedy writing, and writing plays [01:24:44] A.S. wrote a play at university marked by Malcolm Bradbury, most of his early plays were autobiographical [01:25:54] A.S. wrote An Evening with Gary Lineker following watching England v West Germany in 1990, [01:27:34] Laughing Matters sting plays. [01:28:00] Clip of the radio show Radio Active plays.
[01:39:19] Clip ends, A.S. discusses Radio Active, it has been superseded by On The Hour. [01:39:57] Laughing Matters sting plays. [01:40:10] Clip of Harry Enfield plays. [01:42:16] Clip ends, A.S. calls Harry Enfield the contemporary Dick Emery, has a wonderful gallery of cartoon characters.
[01:43:22] Clip of Emo Philips plays. [01:45:24] Clip ends, A.S. discusses Emo Philips, compares him to Steven Wright [01:47:13] Clip of Steven Wright plays.
[01:51:32] Clip ends, A.S. discusses [01:52:20] Laughing Matters sting plays [01:52:24] A.S. talks about poetry, [01:52:43] John Hegley poetry and songs [01:53:06] Clip of John Hegley plays.
[01:56:20] Clip ends, A.S. discusses [01:56:59] Laughing Matters sting [01:57:03] The George Carlin Book Club [01:57:41] Clip of George Carlin Book Club plays.
[02:00:14] Clip ends, A.S. discusses doing a production of Hamlet featuring The Book Club. [02:00:42] British Airways sting. [02:02:26] Recording ends
NotesLPCM wave 16 bit 44.1kHz. Digital Audio Tape (DAT) captured using a Mac running MacOS; SPDIF connection via RME PCI card. Digitisation engineer Adrian Finn, Greatbear analogue & digital media ltd. Digital file was topped and tailed.
CategoryAudio recordings
Access conditionsThis recording is available for consultation at the University of Kent's Special Collections & Archives reading room, Templeman Library, University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NU for study/research purposes only. Access to audio-visual recordings is through digital listening copies. The University of Kent acknowledges the intellectual property rights of those named as contributors in this recording and the rights of those not identified.
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