EP 29 – Oliver Double – Comedy Lecturer, Author of Getting The Joke and Canterbury Legend on the past (and future) of comedy

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EP 29 – Oliver Double – Comedy Lecturer, Author of Getting The Joke and Canterbury Legend on the past (and future) of comedy



Total run time: 1 hour 27 mins 15 secs.

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About Oliver Double…

Oliver Double (@oliverdouble) is a former comedian, current University of Kent lecturer on comedy, author of Getting The Joke  and Canterbury Legend.

Buddhism And Cats…

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Here’s a list of questions we covered… 


    • What’s the secret to being funny? [0 mins 0 secs]
    • The value of trust from an audience for a performer [1 min 35 secs]
    • The different types of applause [4 mins 30 secs]
    • The history of musical and variety comedy scene and how it has evolved into the circuit we know today. [7 mins 32 secs]
    • Is Stewart Lee still “alternative”? [18 mins 10 secs]
    • What it’s like to be teacher of comedy at a university. [23 mins 30 secs]
    • How to create moments in comedy. [24 mins]
    • The impact of TV on the variety of the circuit [25 mins 44 secs]
    • Where are the all the women in comedy? [27 mins 45 secs]
    • Misattributing jokes and styles to the first person you see doing it and the resulting accusations of “theft”. [33 mins 27 secs]
    • Twitter and how jokes get written fast and over and over again because of the limitations of the platform [36 mins 43 secs]
    • The speed that “disaster jokes” spread before social media [36 mins 43 secs]
    • In your book you talked about how there’s no hard and fast rule on writing your own material. The history of borrowing jokes [41 mins 07 secs]
    • Stewart Lee asking for all performers who used writers to have their awards taken away. [45 mins 10 secs]
    • Gary Delaney sueing Sickipedia for joke theft. [46 mins 10 secs]
    • What made you want to stop performing stand up and teach?
    • Do you think comedy can be taught?
    • How did the book come about?
    • You used to run a comedy club, how in touch with the current circuit are you? Do you think it’s in crisis?
    • Do you think Alternative Comedy still exists?
    • Your latest book “Britain Had Talent” is about British variety theatre. How has variety acts and performers changed since you were on the circuit?
    • Do you hate reality TV shows?
    • You’ve listed the audio of your stand up on your website. Do you find this helps sell more DVDs because people can preview it?
      • What do you think of online comedy distributors like Go Faster Stripe?

Teaching comedy…

Getting the Joke [Book Link]…

  • You have a chapter called “why bother?” which looks at how hard it is to make it as a performer. Since the book was first published do you think it has become harder, stayed the same or got easier for performers? [52 mins 27 secs]
    • A lot of performers who are picked up are sometimes selected because they have abilities or a “look” which can take them beyond stand up eg presenting work. Agents then make them famous and the more well known you are the easier it is to make your audience laugh. Do you think this cycle is hurting the live circuit?  
    • Is the circuit in crisis? [1 hour 15 mins 05 secs]
  • Born vs made: you talk a lot in the book about how some comedians believe you just have it, but teach stand up. Do you think it takes both nature and nurture?
  • How do you connect with an audience? What is the science behind it. [57 mins 30 secs]
  • The difference between comedy and theatre [1 hour 4 mins 45 secs]
  • The value of a day job and doing something for the love of doing it and not money [1 hour 13 mins 35 secs]
  • Arts funding cuts and how that has changed over the years [1 hour 21mins]




Simon Caine is a comedian, author, podcaster, writer and social media manager. He's the host of the Ask The Industry Podcast (iTunes link) , writer of jokes for Twitter and teller of gags on the London comedy scene. He's also the person writing this and it is taking all his willpower not to make a "Simon Says" joke.
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