Ref NoBSUCA/OD/1/4/1
CollectionOliver Double Collection
TitleIvor Dembina interviewed by Oliver Double
Date07/07/1988
Duration12 min. 19 sec.
Extent1 audio file Broadcast WAVE Format (BWF)
DescriptionOliver Double [OD] interviewing Ivor Dembina [ID] for his PhD at the University of Sheffield ('An approach to traditions of British stand-up comedy', 1991).
OD talks about his research into the contrast between alternative comedy and club comedy, and musical theatre [00:30] Ivor Dembina [ID] talks about how he got involved in comedy; was originally a promotor but aged 33 he realised he enjoyed introducing acts more than organising events so he started writing and performing his own sets in clubs and pubs in London. After a while he reverted back to compering and tried to create that as his specialism [01:40] ID talks about his comic influences; names Charlie Chaplin, Billy Connolly, Ben Elton, and others, but basically anyone who is good at what they do. Says he is not influenced by a particular type of comedy. [02:25] Discussion about the 'alternative comedy; tag - ID thinks it has become obsolete; just a term of convenience used to describe acts that are non-racist, non-sexist. The two kinds ('alternative' and not alternative) are merging, and you now have good comedy and bad comedy; but he would describe himself as coming from the alternative comedy traditiion [03:00] Discussion about politics and comedy; ID thinks it is inevitable that your stage act reflects where you are politically, but it is hard to purposefully write political comedy and make a political point [03:58] opinion on whether alternative comedy failed. Feels that good comedy is based on truth [05:00] performers who reflect popular attitudes will get a laugh, even if it is based on older types of comedy (mother-in-law, and Irish jokes, for example) [05:50] OD thinks that good comedy/a good comedian should challenge beliefs [07:00] Discussion about the problem facing alternative comedians about how do they retain their integrity whilst increasing the number of people they are reaching and their success. ID feels that the problem with going on television as a comic is that your act is molded by what television audiences want; feels that many good performers are sanitised by television. [9:10] discussion about whether getting involved in a scene (e.g the alternative comedy scene in London) moulds your comedy anyway. [10:30] discussion about Ben Elton; ID feels it is a pity he has been labelled the 'political comic', feels it is misleading as his material about everyday life is stronger. Discussion about Jerry Sadowitz; ID feels he is most responsible for challenging the safety of alternative comedy; most important comic. [interview ends at 12:19]
NotesLPCM wave 24 bit 48kHz. Digitised using Denon Cassette Deck DN-790R, Roland Edirol UA-55, and Adobe Audition CC 2014. 2015-06-25. Extract created using Adobe Audition CC 2015. 2015-10-21.
This interview was originally recorded on sound cassette BSUCA/OD/1/4 Side A; 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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