Ref NoBSUCA/JP/1/2/12
CollectionJohn Pidgeon Collection
TitleArthur Smith interviewed for 'Talking Comedy'
Name of creatorPidgeon, John, 1947-2016
Date06/05/1997
Duration1 hr. 13 min. 33 sec.
Extent1 sound cassette (DAT 95)
1 audio file Broadcast WAVE Format
DescriptionArthur Smith interviewed by John Pidgeon for 'Talking Comedy', a BBC Radio 2 programme in which comedians talk about the people that make them laugh. This is the unedited interview, not the programme as broadcast.

Summary: [00:03] General chatter.
[02:23] John Pidgeon [JP] asks Arthur Smith [AS] who or what first made him laugh. AS answers kids at school. [03:22] AS briefly mentions liking Monty Python as a kid.
[03:29] AS talks about Noel Coward.
[07:25] JP asks AS about Peter Ustinov, [08:10] AS talks about Peter Ustinov as an “anecdotalist” and jokes that he wouldn’t have been surprised if Peter Ustinov had been offered the throne of Albania like CB Fry was.
[08:54] AS says David Niven was another person who could tell an anecdote. [09:13] JP brings up Cliff Michelmore and Julian Pettifer. [10:27] AS talks about Peter Ustinov quipping about Ned Sherrin.
[11:15] AS talks about Peter Cook & Dudley Moore. [12:58] AS compares Peter Cook to Paul Merton. [13:58] JP talks about seeing Peter Cook in the film Bedazzled. [14:50] AS says that Peter Cook will be remembered as the one who achieved more, and says that Dudley Moore has become “a bit pathetic now sadly”.
[15:24] AS talks about double acts. [15:45] Morecambe & Wise [16:03] French & Saunders [16:22] Fry & Laurie, Reeves & Mortimer [18:14] AS says Stephen Fry recalls Peter Ustinov in the sense that he’s a deeply intellectual character full of erudition. [19:12] AS talks about being in a double act called Fiasco Job Job with Phil Nice.
[20:35] AS talks about Richard Pryor, [20:48] AS dismisses the belief that Lenny Bruce started modern stand-up and instead credits Richard Pryor.
[22:00] JP brings up Harry Enfield & Paul Whitehouse, [23:09] AS also mentions Kathy Burke, [23:31] people call Harry Enfield “the Dick Emery of our time”. [24:10] AS says Les Dennis appeals to the lowest common denominator.
[24:31] JP brings up The Fast Show. [25:06] AS says that Paul Whitehouse has revealed himself to be a man of much greater talents than merely one of Harry Enfield’s writers.
[27:25] AS brings up Jack Dee and says that Jack Dee follows in the footsteps of Les Dawson. [28:17] AS says when Jack Dee started out, he sounded like Jeremy Hardy.
[29:57] JP mentions Jeremy Hardy again, and AS says there were lots of Jeremy Hardy clones on the London circuit at the time. [30:32] AS says at the moment there are a lot of people on the circuit now who sound like Eddie Izzard.
[31:04] AS talks about his admiration for Jeremy Hardy’s political comedy, and mentions how most political comedy was eventually frowned upon because all it seemed to require was saying “I hate Margaret Thatcher but in a rude way”. [31:27] AS says Jeremy Hardy and Mark Steele are comedians who make political points in addition to actually being funny as well.
[32:16] JP mentions Alan Davies being influenced by Steven Berkoff in his early career. [33:50] AS says Alan Davies is a very good actor, as we’ve seen with a show he did with Caroline Quentin.
[35:00] AS talks about Steven Wright.
[37:08] JP asks what AS thinks about women in comedy. [37:54] AS talks about Hattie Hayridge, and how her gender is almost irrelevant. [39:00] JP brings up Rita Rudner conversely being unashamedly female, but AS says that Rita Rudner and Hattie Hayridge aren’t too different in their “gentleness”.
[40:55] JP mentions Tom Lehrer, Brass Eye, Spinal Tap being on AS’s list, and mentions that he usually only plays one musical clip, that being Noel Coward in AS’s case.
[42:00] JP talks about interviewing Spinal Tap.
[45:00] JP and AS listen to the clips [45:45] Noel Coward [48:26] Peter Ustinov [50:45] Peter Cook & Dudley Moore John Cleese [53:15] Richard Pryor [55:09] Steven Wright [56:17] Rita Rudner, AS talks about her husband Martin Bergman [59:33] Harry Enfield [01:01:27] Paul Whitehouse in The Fast Show [01:03:20] Jeremy Hardy [01:04:49] Jack Dee [01:06:09] Alan Davies
[01:07:20] JP gets AS to record the trailers, promos etc.
[01:13:04] 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 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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