About the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive

About the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive

Key links and information


Why stand-up comedy material? Why Kent?

The inspiration for the establishment of this archive was the deposit at the University of the personal archive of the comedian Linda Smith (1958-2006). The archive was established by the University of Kent’s Special Collections & Archives and with Dr Oliver Double and the Department of Drama and Theatre at the University of Kent, which runs a Stand-Up Comedy MA programme and an Introduction to Stand-Up module as part of its BA Drama.  

In 2014 the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive (BSUCA) became one of the University of Kent’s Beacon Projects. The project organised the public launch of the British Stand-Up Comedy Archive, catalogued, digitised, and made accessible the existing collections, and identified new relevant collections. The BSUCA Beacon Project also included a series of public events during 2015 and 2016, including the inaugural Linda Smith lecture, a series of ‘in conversation’ events with Olly Double, and a conference in January 2016.  


What types of material can I find in the BSUCA?

The British Stand-Up Comedy Archive includes:

  • Audio and video recordings (performances, live events, published material, off-air recordings, interviews)
  • Promotional material (flyers, posters, press coverage)
  • Photographs (personal and promotional)
  • Contracts
  • Set lists and scripts
  • Books
  • Notes, diaries and research material
  • Props and objects 

Which aspects of British stand-up are your collections particularly strong in?

Our collections cover many areas of British stand-up comedy, but some major themes found within the collections are: 

  • Alternative cabaret movement
  • Alternative comedy of 1970-80s
  • Comedy and political activism
  • Women in stand-up comedy
  • Recording improvised performance
  • Audience-preformer relationships
  • DIY/counter culture movements

What can I use BSUCA collections for in my research?

Our stand-up comedy material is a fantastic source for academic and personal research (or just for fun). The collections could be used for social history, personal history, art and design, media studies, and much more.