Ref NoBSUCA/JP/1/2/14
CollectionJohn Pidgeon Collection
TitleDavid Baddiel interviewed for 'Talking Comedy'
Name of creatorPidgeon, John, 1947-2016
Duration1 hr. 18 min. 49 sec.
Extent1 sound cassette (DAT 124)
1 audio file Broadcast WAVE Format
DescriptionDavid Baddiel interviewed by John Pidgeon at The Sound Company, London, 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: [00:01] Recording starts, general chat between John Pidgeon [JP] and David Baddiel [DB]
[00:44] JP begins by asking DB who the first people he can remember influencing him were. DB says the first comics to have an impact on him were Monty Python. [01:18] DB says he can’t specifically remember if it was Python or actually Derek & Clive.
[01:27] DB said he was laughing at The Goodies before both of those, as well as other things that have not made a lasting impact on him. [01:48] Many years later DB became aware of the notion that there were different types of comedy to sketch comedy, with his introduction to stand-up being Jasper Carrott.
[02:52] DB talks about Morecambe & Wise, and how he likes it more now than he did at the time, because Python and Derek & Clive turned him against mainstream comedy during his adolescence, such as Morecambe & Wise or Les Dawson.
[04:13] DB says Monty Python could be seen as an example of something that was less funny in hindsight, and says that about 70% of Monty Python’s Flying Circus is rubbish, describing the rest as a triple album of greatest hits.
[05:31] JP talks about how much he likes the opening of the Spanish Inquisition sketch with Graham Chapman and Carol Cleveland. [06:47] DB talks about the way actors Michael Palin and Terry Jones lose control of the sketch. [07:41] DB says that the character John Cleese plays in the Parrot Sketch is a recurring character throughout the episode. [08:30] DB talks about how he thinks Terry Gilliam’s animations are visually great but hardly ever funny.
[09:48] DB says that Python (and to an extent The Goons) were the first people to realise that there is an innate comedy in certain things, such as cheese. [10:20] DB says that The Goons were more intense and unpalatable than Python, who made that kind of humour more digestible and arguably watered down for general audiences.
[11:00] DB wants to listen to the Cheese Shop Sketch.
[14:34] DB talks about the formula of high vs low, such as “Kenneth Clark who made Civilisation fighting Jack Bodell in the ring”, or “Chairman Mao & Trotsky on a quiz”, and philosophers playing football.
[15:53] DB says that he was not a big fan of The Day Today, because he thinks comedy about TV has been overdone, and more comedy should be about real life. [16:17] DB’s problem with French & Saunders is their over-reliance on parody. [16:57] JP says Stanley Baxter, who he never found funny at all, did the same thing.
[17:15] JP goes back to Peter Cook & Dudley Moore, specifically Derek & Clive, which DB goes on to talk about in length.
[23:42] JP brings up Sam Kinison and Bill Hicks, and says that he trusts them with certain kinds of subject matters. [24:23] DB talks about how he didn’t like Sam Kinison initially when Denis Leary introduced him to his stand-up.
[25:39] DB can’t stand Andrew Dice Clay, because unlike Sam Kinison, he never showed his vulnerability, which DB suspects that Sam Kinison sometimes probably didn’t realise set him apart from other “hate comedians”. [26:51] DB says Kinison’s material about marriage could’ve been like Bernard Manning but actually shows an element of pain.
[28:15] JP plays a clip of Sam Kinison.
[33:26] DB talks about Bill Hicks. [35:30] DB says that what both Bill Hicks and Denis Leary did with Sam Kinison was make it more liberal and PC for a more mainstream audience.
[36:17] JP brings up Alexei Sayle in the context of people as perfomers. [36:45] DB says that comedians should be allowed to say the unsayable, which Alexei Sayle did at the time.
[37:30] DB says that Alexei Sayle established the tone of alternative comedy as it is generally understood. [37:44] Ivor Dembina had a similar vocal inflection.
[40:58-41:35] Clip of Alexei Sayle
[43:02] JP brings up Woody Allen, DB says that Woody Allen connects with Eric Morecambe, in that they are both inherently funny.
Jack Benny Bob Hope
[46:44] Mort Sahl record, Woody Allen started doing stand-up when he saw Mort Sahl
[50:50-51:15] Clip of Woody Allen
DB was interviewed by the Jewish Chronicle, talking about how much Jewish comedy influences him.
[52:25] Nick Hancock, Bobby Charlton, Gary Davis [56:50] JP brings up Alan Davies saying he used to rant, Jo Brand has a metronomic way of speaking, and DB used to [57:53-58:42] Neil Malarkey and Nick Hancock audio clip [01:01:30] DB used to discuss with both Rob Newman and Frank Skinner clichés and tropes that have been done before. [01:03:42] DB talks about his old comedy partner Rob Newman. [01:06:46] They were never a double act like Reeves & Mortimer, they were two performers who worked together. [01:08:35] DB talks about Vic Reeves & Bob Mortimer. [02:09:35] DB thinks that Bob Mortimer has the funnier comedy mind, but that Jim [Moir] has naturally funny bones. [01:10:30] DB talks about the sitcom Friends, which he says is massively underrated by critics despite being popular. [01:10:41] When DB appeared on a chat show in America and praised Friends, the host John Stewart was very negative about it. DB says it’s the best American sitcom, better than Seinfeld and Frasier. [01:11:19] DB says Matthew Perry is one of the best comedy actors in the world. [01:13:06] He likes the soap opera element too, and says that some sitcoms do focus on that too much, specifically the sitcoms of Carla Lane. [01:13:44] DB also admits that he’s a bit in love with Jennifer Aniston. [01:13:56] JP gets DB to record the links.
[01:18:30] 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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