Ref NoBSUCA/JP/1/2/35
CollectionJohn Pidgeon Collection
TitleMarcus Brigstocke interviewed for 'Talking Comedy'
Name of creatorPidgeon, John, 1947-2016
Datend [2002]
Duration1 hr. 27 min. 30 sec.
Extent1 sound cassette (DAT 95)
1 audio file Broadcast WAVE Format
DescriptionMarcus Brigstocke 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: [01:35] Marcus Brigstocke [MB] tells John Pidgeon [JP] that the first thing that made him laugh was The Muppet Show. [02:32] Rowlf the Dog was Tom Waits for the younger listener.
[04:26] Peter Sellers was a guest on The Muppet Show.
[05:03] MB says his favourite comedy movie is Dr Strangelove. George C Scott. [06:36] MB has been trying to get the rights to do Dr Strangelove on stage for a long time, but the rights belong to Stanley Kubrick so it seems unlikely.
[06:55] Sellers plays Merkin Muffley, Fieldmarshall Mandrake and Strangelove himself in the film. [07:23] Kubrick said of Sellers “You get one actor for the price of four.”
[07:41] Inspector Clouseau. Herbert Lom.
[08:05] JP builds upon MB’s initial point on satire about arms and warfare by mentioning talking to Greg Proops that Bill Hicks made jokes about the Gulf War acceptable. [08:46] MB talks about Bill Hicks. [10:29] MB briefly criticises Charlton Heston for being the president of the NRA despite the ending to Planet of the Apes.
[11:07] MB says that when he started in stand-up, he thought that Bill Hicks was infallible, but soon discovered that disagreed with a lot of his personal politics, such as Hicks swinging between being pro-smoking and not.
[12:20] MB talks about Chris Rock in terms of passion. MB says Chris Rock’s acting is appalling (“as bad as Keanu Reeves”) but as a stand-up is as good as Richard Pryor.
[14:21] JP brings up Richard Pryor. [14:44] MB talks about Richard Pryor, a video clip he hasn’t seen where Pryor has the worst comedy death on stage during a gig, [15:02] and praises how he was able to mix really sharp social political observation with utter stupidity and enthusiasm.
[15:31] MB talks about Richard Pryor’s Mudbone routines, and mentions loving Eddie Murphy’s Raw and Delirious shows, and mentions how Eddie Murphy used to re-enact Richard Pryor’s routines. [16:05] Eddie Murphy did a character on SNL called Buckwheat, which was all inspired by Mudbone.
[16:47] MB loves the film Stir Crazy, Pryor and Gene Wilder had a fantastic chemistry together, Blue Streak, See No Evil Hear No Evil.
[19:30] JP asks MB how he got into stand-up. [20:25] One of the first live comedy VHSs MB bought was Robin Williams Live at the Met, and proceeds to talk about Robin Williams. [23:02] MB says Robin Williams was there the night John Belushi died.
[23:20] MB says he was lucky enough to open for Steven Wright at the Dominion Theatre.
[25:11] MB says he enjoys mellow comics such as Tim Vine, [25:35] conversely you’ve got someone like Milton Jones who is in some ways similar to Tim Vine.
[25:51] MB likes comedy where it feels like the comedy is being created right there and then, such as Eddie Izzard, [26:14] MB brings up Ross Noble, Sean Cullen, Sean Lock, and Bill Bailey. He likes that this wouldn’t be happening if the audience wasn’t there. [26:51] MB says Bill Hicks isn’t like this, and instead had a well-researched routines which he performed to an audience.
[27:18] MB & JP move on from stand-up and talk about MB’s other choices, who are mostly TV comedians, [27:30] starting with Peter Cook.
[27:51] MB talks about how difficult it is to come up with a way to end a comedy sketch, [28:18] it’s MB’s belief that Peter Cook wrote the definitive end to a comedy sketch in the One Leg Too Few he performed with Dudley Moore.
[29:25] MB praises Peter Cook, and talks about accusations that he lost his ambition in later life as he wrote for big hits like Round the Horne and Beyond Our Ken when he was an undergraduate.
[29:46] Beyond the Fringe was also massive, and MB posits that achieving so much at a very young age will probably make one lose their way in later life. [30:22] MB talks about reading Chris Morris talking about Peter Cook on the Clive Anderson show not long before he died.
[30:58] MB talks about a Beyond the Fringe sketch Cook wrote and performed about the futility of war. [32:20] From this, MB talks about the ending of Blackadder Goes Forth. MB praises the lines in Blackadder Goes Forth. Stephen Fry, Baldrick, Darling.
[34:23] MB talks about not knowing who Rowan Atkinson was until he saw Blackadder, he used to listen to Not The Nine O’ Clock News secretly as a kid.
[35:23] MB talks more about Peter Cook. [36:50] Mb talks about John Bird and John Fortune capturing the slow relentless delivery of truly brilliant satire that Peter Cook perfected, and that the fact that they called all of their characters George Parr and gave them the same voice was incidental, because all of those characters are essentially the same idiot.
[37:35] When thinking if Bird and Fortune can do other voices, he mentions John Bird’s “slightly offensive” Idi Amin impression, which he revived for a recent Rory Bremner sketch, but didn’t “black up” for the role this time.
[37:58] MB talks about Peter Cook & Dudley Moore’s chemistry and improvisational style. [39:52] Peter Cook’s improvisational stuff was better when he was confined by a semblance of a script, MB talks about loving Derek & Clive as a teenager, but says it’s too loose and lacks any shape.
[41:04] MB mentions the Peter Cook biography by Harry Thompson, and how it makes you realise how much he achieved in his life.
[41:31] JP asks Mb about the Why Bother series where Chris Morris interviewed Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling, it seemed more like Chris Morris having a pop at Peter Cook in his late career, but said there was some great improvisational material in there.
[43:18] MB talks about Chris Morris as being another hero of his, and says he likes him because he hasn’t enjoyed everything he’s ever done, he didn’t like Brass Eye much, [43:48] but did like The Day Today.
[43:56] MB says that the nicest thing he’s ever heard was in a review where someone said that his show We Are History did for history programmes what The Day Today did for news programmes.
[44:12] MB talks about On The Hour being a looser, less refined version of The Day Today, some of it worked better on the radio. [44:58] MB talks about how you can hear the evolution of Alan Partridge from his beginnings on On The Hour and The Day Today.
[46:20] MB says Steve Coogan is like a modern Peter Sellers. [46:50] Steve Coogan produced Human Remains, MB praises Rob Brydon’s comic acting in that show. [47:32] MB says The Day Today ruined the news for him, [48:29] and MB admires Chris Morris being uninterested in being a celebrity.
[50:28] MB talks about The Two Ronnies, particularly Ronnie Barker. MB talks about how Ronnie Barker has gracefully retired, while Ronnie Corbett has presented some awful TV programmes. Ronnie Barker was one of the best comedy writers ever, often using aliases when submitting them, MB theorises this was for Ronnie Corbett’s benefit, so one didn’t get preferential treatment over the other.

[53:36] Clips [54:05-55:15] Rowlf the Dog [56:38-58:46] Dr Strangelove, Peter Sellers (was friends with John Lennon) [01:00:00-01:01:08] Bill Hicks [01:02:12-01:03:55] Richard Pryor (Stevie Wonder) [01:05:14-01:06:06] Robin Williams [01:07:07-01:07:54] Peter Cook & Dudley Moore [01:10:33-01:11:28] Blackadder (Stephen Fry) [01:13:35-01:14:52] John Bird and John Fortune
[01:16:15-01:17:13] The Day Today, Chris Morris [01:18:19-01:20:20] The Two Ronnies, Mastermind Sketch (Bernard Manning gag, Magnus Magnusson impression)
[01:21:46] Recording Intros and Trails
[01:27:04] 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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