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Stand-Up History Preview

A fun-filled mix of history and comedy is coming to Brighton’s Komedia next week.

Dreamt up by Alex Farrow, at the time a History, Politics and R.E. student at Oxford University, Stand-Up History is a comedy night with a historical twist. The Brighton line-up features a mix of comedians and professional historians; headliner Pierre Novellie is both!

I chatted to comedian Harry Househam, who helped develop the show while he was at university with Farrow and will be performing this coming Wednesday.

“If you ever wondered ‘when is too soon for a joke?’ or if you ever cracked up in a History class at something ridiculous – you’ll feel at home at Stand-Up History,” says Househam. Formerly an Archaeology and Anthropology student, he notes it “is quite a niche degree so there’s a lot of weird facts you might learn that people don’t know: King Tut having a knife from space, why carrots are all orange, Martin Luther throwing dogs out of towers… that sort of thing. There are a lot of strange and marvellous facts at a Stand-up History show.”

The group jumps about a lot for its comedic inspiration, with Farrow particularly interested in the history of advertising and marketing, and Househam professing a love for the Stone Age, “mainly because most people know virtually nothing about it”, he explains. “People get their ideas about the Stone Age from the Flintstones and the Croods. There are lots of really interesting facts to be discovered in the Stone Age beyond all the misconceptions: one of the leading theories of why people painted on cave walls 40,000 years ago is that they all got high and had massive cave raves.”

Those behind the show are proud of the off-beat, geeky nature of Stand-Up History; Househam notes that “there do tend to be a lot of beard owners and star wars shirt wearers in our audiences. Once we even had a descendent of Captain Morgan (of the rum fame) in our crowd, who was both bearded and wearing a star wars t-shirt.” They are keen to stress that anybody is welcome though, and go by the phrase “for history buffs and joke lovers alike”.

I asked Househam what was unique about Stand-Up History compared to other comedy nights in the city. “A lot of others can have quite a raucous atmosphere,” he said. “Or sometimes they might be too rude for some tastes. At Stand-Up History, the show is very BBC Radio 4. There are lots of fun facts with some cruder tongue in cheek horrible history style stories. At a Stand-up History night most heckles are made with the raise of the hand – “I think you’ll find that was in the 18th century” is the type of thing you get. Imagine if Blackadder, QI and Live at the Apollo had a weird love child: that’s the kind of show we do.”

Househam adds: “If you want to hear about the History of alcohol, the Anglo Saxons, the devil AND all whilst having a drink and a laugh then this is the show for you.”

Stand-Up History Brighton will be at Komedia on Wednesday 29 November. The show starts at 8pm (doors 7:30pm).

Tickets : £10

Image Credit: Stand-Up History

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