Brighton joins the British Library for comedy conference and live stand-up
15 Aug 2013
In January 2011, the British Library and the literature team at the University of Brighton Faculty of Arts organised a conference and live stand-up session, focussing on the languages of laughter.
The event was part of the British Library's celebration of the English language in all its diversity in a major exhibition entitled 'Evolving English: One Language, Many Voices.' As part of an extensive accompanying programme of performances, talks and debates, the Library together with the University of Brighton presented a one day ‘comedy conference’ debating aspects of language and humour. The event also featured two nights of live stand-up performance.
The event attracted national press coverage, some of which is linked below:
BBC Today Programme
Chortle.co.uk (UK’s leading comedy website)
BL podcast of the event
Leading performers will join some of Britain’s key comedy experts and journalists for discussions on the art and mechanics of joke telling, the language of camp, the regional and class variations in humour and the taboos and limits of comedy.
Participants include Barry Cryer, Arthur Smith, Tim Vine, Richard Herring, Shazia Mirza, Chris Green, Amy Lamé, Bill Dare, Simon Fanshawe, Susan Murray, Neil Bartlett, C P Lee ( Salford University) and Richard Wiseman (University of Hertfordshire).
The British Library Conference Centre Tickets £7.50 / £5 concessions
With Susan Murray, Richard Herring, Arthur Smith and Ida Barr (aka Chris Green). Compere Doc Brown.
The British Library Conference Centre Tickets £10 / £7.50 concessions
09.45 arrival and coffee
10.15 event begins, welcome and introductions
10.25 Opening address: Arthur Smith
10.45 – 11.45 QUEERING THE PITCH: The language of Camp
What is the state of the ‘camp aesthetic’ in the 21st century?. Where did it come from and why has it become such a popular aspect of British popular culture? Since the era of Kenneth Williams and the BBC Radio programme Round the Horne, which borrowed from Polari, what was once the coded language of gay men became part of mainstream culture. In the age of civil partnerships is there still a need for the language of camp? Is camp a masculine language, or do women have their own version of camp? Panellists: theatre director and novelist, Neil Bartlett; performer Chris Green (aka Ida Barr and Tina C); broadcaster and club hostess Amy Lamé and Andy Medhurst (University of Sussex). Chaired by broadcaster and writer Simon Fanshawe.
11.50 – 12.50 HOW DO JOKES WORK?: The mechanics of comedy
What makes for a good joke? Are there words and structures that are intrinsically funny - and how does timing work? How far can audience reactions be predicted? What are the tricks of the trade? Panellists: comedian writer and star of I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue Barry Cryer; Lucy Greeves (co author, with Jimmy Carr, of The Naked Jape); legendary punsmith Tim Vine, and Richard Wiseman (Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire,. Chaired by C P Lee, broadcaster, music historian, and Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at Salford University.
14.15 – 15.15 BEYOND THE PALE?: How far can comedy go?
Is there anything that is beyond the bounds of the comic? Is there material that is too sensitive to be the stuff of comedy - or is it just a case of how you tell 'em? In a world where cartoonists have been subject to death threats, are there limits to what can be funny? And to what extent are comedians and the producers of comedy accountable to those who take offence? Panellists: writer and BBC producer Bill Dare (Spitting Image , Dead Ringers , The Now Show ), comedians and writers Richard Herring and Shazia Mirza, and comedy critics Kate Copstick and Steve Bennett. Chaired by Chris Ritchie , creator of the innovative comedy degree at Southampton Solent University.
15.20 – 16.20 A UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE?: Comedy, class and regionalism
Is comedy universal? Different comedians draw their material and audiences from different class, regional and cultural backgrounds; a comedian such as Chubby Brown is hugely popular in the Northern regions, but is largely ignored in the South and rarely seen on television. Is there an element of snobbery in the exclusion or dismissal of some forms of humour? Does 'vulgar' comedy use the language of the demotic to reaffirm class and cultural identities - or does it challenge them? Do local populations and cultural groups produce their own comedic languages? Panellists: writer and broadcaster Simon Fanshawe; Brummie/ Glasgwegian comedian Susan Murray; Sharon Lockyer (Brunel University, author Reading Little Britain and The Limits Of Comedy). Chaired by Leon Hunt (Brunel University) What’s So Funny?
The British Library Conference Centre Tickets £7.50 / £5 concessions available.
With Shazia Mirza, Alistair Barrie, Tiffany Stevenson and very special guests.