As you would have noticed, throughout the past eighteen months Beyond The Title has been forced to adapt to a changing world as Coronavirus took hold and changed just about everything that everyone always took for granted. Like most entertainment organisations, the existence of Zoom has meant that I could continue with the podcast in a worldwide pandemic. For a while there was huge uncertainty over the future of the Arts and live performance which was gravely worrying for a large section of the entertainment industry. Yet with the successful rollout of the vaccine together with the vaccine passports for large public attractions, it seems that life is finally beginning to open up. Indeed here at Beyond The Title, we’ve got more reasons to be excited about the prospect that life will shortly be returning to normal.
Press play, below, to listen to the full interview
Lockdown offered me the perfect opportunity to reflect on my work and what direction I wanted to take Beyond The Title. It occurred to me that during the five years of the podcast I had met some fascinating people who had remarkable stories to tell and occasionally due to time constraints I had been unable to explore their careers in a way it would deserve. In these situations I always wish I could go back and ask the follow up questions which I should have asked the first time round. Also after five years I have the ambition to extend the Beyond The Title brand to incorporate different forms of entertainment. With this in mind I had an epiphany to take Beyond The Title on the road in a series of conversational shows throughout the country.
Nothing gives me greater pleasure than unpicking and analysing comedy and laughter with a bonafide master of the art and this is exactly what happened when I interviewed the great Arthur Smith just before lockdown 2020 and when I had the idea of the live show, he was the first person to come to mind. Originally I had the idea of creating a panel of some of my former subjects and hosting a fully interactive show format where the audience took full control of the show. Yet it proved almost impossible to ensure that each panelist had an equal participation in the show and therefore I quickly realised that this wouldn’t be practical. Nevertheless I knew that Arthur Smith was something of a cult figure within the comedy fraternity and realised that his career would be a fascinating one to feature as the subject of my first show. After pitching it to him, he instantly agreed and with the recruitment of comedian Phil Reid as MC and interviewer, the concept was almost complete.
A pioneer of Alternative Comedy during the 1980’s, Smith helped to create a brand new strand of comedy which rebelled against the fixed conservative concepts of Thatcher’s Britain. This was the era which saw the birth of the Comedy Store in Old Gargoyle Night Club in Dean Street, Soho which played a pivotal role in the development of Alternative Comedy which Arthur was now a significant part of. Witnessing its move from Soho to Leicester Square in 1982, Smith became resident MC during the mid eighties and saw the club through its formative years. Welcoming new talent such as Eddie Izzard, Paul Merton and Jo Brand, Arthur was in a perfect position to nurture and assist further generations of Alternative comedians and gave him a taste of admiring new talent which would go on to dominate the rest of his career.
With such a comedic mastermind in our presence, it would be easy for me just to write a long interview which would fill the 90 minute slot. Yet being in front of a live theatre audience, it would be a great shame if we didn’t use them to their fullest purpose. Therefore there shall be an interactive segment towards the end of the show where the audience will have the opportunity to fire questions at Arthur through our great comedy mc Phil Reid. This will be closely followed by a live and exclusive stand up routine from the man himself as the perfect climax to the show which Arthur is creating as you read this.
I’m assured that the theatre is following government guidelines in order to keep everyone safe while delivering a fantastic afternoon of entertainment and it would be great to see as many people there as possible. If you’re interested in coming along to this special show with this Alternative Comedy icon, please click the link below and follow the instructions to purchase a ticket from the Museum of Comedy website. Yet above all, a big thank you to everyone who has supported Beyond The Title over the years and hope to see you at a show near you soon.