290 Views

Stand-Up History Review

Komedia last week played host to a fun-filled stand-up ensemble who mixed their passion for comedy with that of history, archaeology and philosophy. The MC was Harry Househam who has been with Stand-Up History since its early days while he was studying at Oxford University. He was a confident and jovial host, leaving much of the body of the evening to the other comedians – understandable as there were five of them to get through. He simultaneously resolved and intensified that early show audience anxiety with the assurance: “if you’re not laughing, you are technically learning”.

Each set brought a uniquely interesting spin on the offbeat medley of history and humour. Ella Al-Shamahi weaved in her remarkable experiences as an archaeologist working in active war zones, while Ben Lund-Conlon played with the oddities of popular responses to history such as the bizarrely dangerous results often generated by the “who would you invite to your dinner party?” ice-breaker. Not only is it unlikely that either Winston Churchill or Gandhi would actually want to attend your party, it’s also far from advisable to have them in the same room together for an evening of pleasantries.

Headliner Pierre Novellie demonstrated fantastic scope in his own set jumping from South African racial history to Viking invasions to Tenth Century Welsh law. Going into the show I had been apprehensive that the geeky history knowledge displayed might be the sort of thing we’d all heard a million times in classrooms and in Horrible History books, so the variety of the sets was a welcome surprise.

The momentum of the evening did fluctuate throughout, and some of the sets required a bit of polishing. Novellie’s charisma and improv skills allowed his under-rehearsed piece to flow with ease and charm, but Paul Duncan McGarrity’s came across as a bit rambling and his angry performance style was more awkward than entertaining. Meanwhile, Ella Al-Shamahi was visibly uncomfortable. She made light of the way many of her edgy jokes failed to hit the mark with an audience which she described as “too white” and “too P.C.” – probably accurate observations, but then this is Brighton after all.

Nonetheless the fast-paced nature of the evening meant no dip in the energy of the room lasted any good length of time. The awkwardness emerging from a particularly unfunny heckler was handled excellently by Alex Farrow, founder of Stand-Up History and undoubtedly the strongest act of the evening. When the audience member asked – to his own intense satisfaction – if he could “phone a friend” on Farrow’s ‘Frederick Nietzsche or Kelly Clarkson quote’ quiz, he snapped “no you can’t use your phone, it’s a history gig! Phones aren’t invented yet!” Following the same heckler’s repeated interjections, he gave us some background on the renowned philosopher (that’s Nietzsche, not Clarkson), adding to him “he was a bit of an asshole, you might like him.”

Ultimately the evening presented a playful, rather geeky evening that didn’t take itself seriously, and left one with a handful of intriguing anecdotes to dispense upon everyone they met for the following week, whether they like it or not.

Image Credit: Stand-Up History

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
504 views1
Campus News
504 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series
Arts
38 views
Arts
38 views

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - June 17, 2018

Pictured: Zac Black At Proud Cabaret audiences were spellbound as if at night at the circus, yet this was not like Angela Carter’s magical realist novel; Verve…

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review
Arts
83 views
Arts
83 views

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review

Florence Dutton - June 11, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Last Monday at 8pm at Brighton’s The Old Market, I sat myself down in my theatre seat eagerly awaiting…

Fleabag preview
Arts
88 views
Arts
88 views

Fleabag preview

Florence Dutton - June 2, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Following the mass success of the Bafta award-winning BBC Series, DryWrite and Soho Theatre are about to hit the…

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome
Arts
111 views
Arts
111 views

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome

Georgia Grace - June 1, 2018

Having completed my final semester of university with modules on punk history and queer arts, it was fitting that I rounded off my end-of-assessment celebrations by attending…

Arts
132 views

The Tempest review

Georgia Grace - May 30, 2018

As the sun begins to set over Hove Green, tinnies of Red Stripe are cracked open, tartan blankets are strewn, and families tuck into their picnic hampers.…

A Glass Half Empty review
Arts
145 views
Arts
145 views

A Glass Half Empty review

Georgia Grace - May 27, 2018

For those of us coming to the end of another year of university study, the prospect of careers, marriages and babies may seem a long way off.…

DollyWould at The Old Market review
Arts
137 views
Arts
137 views

DollyWould at The Old Market review

Alex Hutson - May 27, 2018

Sh!t Theatre’s DollyWould is a hilarious, thoughtful and experimental performance piece. The award winning show has the Sh!t Theatre duo integrating comedy, storytelling, personal experience and music.…

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex
Campus News
216 views
Campus News
216 views

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex

Billie-Jean Johnson - May 26, 2018

The Sussex branch of the University and College Union (UCU) has launched a petition calling for Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell to end the 'hostile environment' at Sussex. The…

Arts
101 views

Shakespeare in the sun – The Tempest preview

Georgia Grace - May 24, 2018

In a world of dystopian King Lears and female Hamlets, Shakespeare’s classics are constantly being reimagined for the modern day. There’s something oddly refreshing then about the…

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
204 views
Arts
204 views

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 23, 2018

What a phenomenal contrast these two films present when watched side-by-side. In essence, together they are capable of tracing inner and outer metamorphoses of their subjects. The…

Dollywould at The Old Market preview
Arts
134 views
Arts
134 views

Dollywould at The Old Market preview

Alex Hutson - May 22, 2018

From the 22nd May - 25th May 2018 DollyWould will be showing at The Old Market. An exciting new show, presented by Sh!t Theatre, who won the…

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu
Artist Focus
210 views
Artist Focus
210 views

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - May 16, 2018

Last week artist Fedilou made her debut exhibition in the downstairs space of Morelli Zorelli, a quaint vegan Italian restaurant in Hove, featuring a collection of intimate…

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley
Interview
144 views
Interview
144 views

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley

Nikolaos Manesis - May 15, 2018

Ron Chrisley is a Reader in Philosophy, on the faculty of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, and is the director of COGS (Centre for Cognitive Science).…

Adam review
Arts
212 views
Arts
212 views

Adam review

Ketan Jha - May 13, 2018

If you have been a stranger to the stage this spring and decide to see one contemporary show, let it be Adam. This reviewer went in entirely…

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
234 views
Arts
234 views

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 13, 2018

In celebration of iconic Brighton local, legendary alt-rock musician (and episodic actor) Nick Cave, TOM’s Film Club are hosting a double-bill screening of his films at The…

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review
Arts
273 views
Arts
273 views

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review

Georgia Grace - May 11, 2018

Meta-theatricality and interactivity are becoming all the more vogue in contemporary theatre, and in a world where the arts are becoming increasingly open and democratised, I find…

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks
Artist Focus
189 views
Artist Focus
189 views

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks

Alex Leissle - May 9, 2018

  [gallery type="slideshow" ids="35385,35386,35387,35388,35389,35390,35391,35392,35393,35394,35395,35396,35397,35398,35399,35400,35401,35402,35403,35404,35405,35406,35407,35408,35409,35410,35411"]

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival
Books
194 views
Books
194 views

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival

William Singh - May 9, 2018

Afua Hirsch’s 2018 book - part memoir, part polemic - provokes mixed feelings. So too did her discussion of the topic at this year’s Brighton Festival. Don’t…

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality
Science
249 views
Science
249 views

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality

Luke Richards - May 8, 2018

Bioweapons exist, while ethnic-bioweapons are whispered conspiracies. Pandemics can fairly hazardous to human life, the 1918 Flu Pandemic killed 20-50 million people. A man made pandemic could…

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced
News
259 views
News
259 views

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced

Jessica Hubbard - May 4, 2018

Students have voted to support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, reject Prevent and adopt new Gender Equality policies. Results for the Students' Union referenda were…