Ref NoBSUCA/OD/1/10/2
CollectionOliver Double Collection
TitleFelix Dexter interviewed by Oliver Double
Date18/01/1990
Duration44 min. 30 sec.
Extent1 audio file Broadcast WAVE Format (BWF)
DescriptionFelix Dexter [FD] interviewed by Oliver Double [OD], 18th January 1990.
Doing comedy since 1986; open spots before that but seriously since 1986. Did a law degree at UCL, failed the Bar. Was in Jongleurs, had seen Richard Pryor, and got excited about performing. Arthur Smith at Jongleurs offered someone from the audience a spot, so he performed that night. Was interested in performing anyway. After that became more regular at Jongluers with material he had written [01:30] scene has changed since 1986; become an alternative profession; thinking about a structure to their career; looking to get a sitcom, television spot. Originally to give voice to your thoughts on politics etc; prompted comic movement was that people interested in performing differently and making some sort of social comment. Trend was still continuing when he started in 1986 (started from 1980) Some sense of performance imbued with being different, whereas now just a trend on getting a laugh. [3:30] right-wing comedy (Dice Men, american performers); trend that is saying a lot about american society and american comedy; become a comedy. Become that here now; a lot of performers without any moral or political principle trying to get noticed. Jerry Sadowitz inspiration is not so much to get noticed, become a big star, but motivated by a cycnism about that we are all meant to be enlighted, but how sincere are those liberal values etc. Alternative circuit needs that critique/critic. Danger in being patronising and so smug (about being middle class and liberal minded) as much as being right-wing; immense amount of hypocricy. [6:25] altcom remained an all-white phenomenon even though meant to be non-racist, non-sexist. Felix social/cultural thing as Black people not totally immersed in british society anyway; prefer to go to other forms of entertainment; comedy comes out of people being in real situations, arising out of real life; interst in black comedy in the black community (Lenny Henry, Richard Pryor). Element of racism in that impulsive to say we have Lenny Henry, we have one black comedian. Particular type of vogue in comedy; Oxbridge set, persona comedy, about who is successful. Still women and gay comedians (references Simon Fanshawe). Lots that needs examining in terms of who decides who is successful. [09:40] Discussion about the Black Comedy Club [started by a white woman Jenny Landreth]; impetus came from a white liberal source, but response has been good. Many black performers around are funny but might not be doing 'comedy', instead acting, rap etc. [11:00] OD asks whether alternative comedy has artistically become more conservative i.e. about getting laughs. FD thinks there has been increased pressure on comedians to get laughs (audience pressure and financial pressure). A lot of the comedians FD admires have an impetus to do that sort of comedy. If you die at a gig you might not get booked again (bookers have financial impetus). CAST encourage more experimental comedy; student gigs also the most receptive audiences around, although sometimes need the technical ability to get the audience to listen; want challening comedy, although also happy with joke competitions often with racist, disability jokes [end of interview 13:16] Rest of the tape is an off-radio recording of an episode of 'Someone and the Grumbleweeds' with Ken Goodwin, broadcast 12 July 1990 on BBC Radio 2.
NotesLPCM wave 24 bit 48kHz. Digitised using Denon Cassette Deck DN-790R, Roland Edirol UA-55, and Adobe Audition CC 2014. 2015-06-25.
This interview was originally recorded on sound cassette BSUCA/OD/1/10 Side B; a digital copy has been made for access purposes.
CategoryAudio recordings
Access conditionsAvailable for consultation at the University of Kent's Special Collections & Archives reading room, Templeman Library, University of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7NU. Access is available via 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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