Student Comedy: More than a Bad Pun?

Self-advertised as “much more than a bad pun”, Off The Beat & Track is URN’s new comedy radio show. Impact’s Louisa Wells pays a visit to our neighbours in the dingy depths of the Portland Building to find out more…

Ben: “Yeah, I think it’s on Fridays, on URN, 6 till 7 every week?”

Think? I couldn’t help thinking, as this is their show, this lot should probably know… This was the slightly strange beginning to my chat with a couple of members of URN’s Off The Beat & Track team. If you haven’t had a listen already, or stumbled across it confused before the pre-Ocean show, I recommend giving it a try. Although it may be a bit surreal for those of you raised on a diet of commercial comedy, do persevere, because there is some quality humour here. A particular favourite of mine is “everyone’s favourite beastiality related sketch”, Easy Tiger. And if that doesn’t intrigue you, nothing will!

A comedy show with “the format of a news magazine show, a bit like the One Show”, except, Off The Beat & Track has the heavy task of appealing to students whilst at the same time avoiding all its unfortunate associations, and thus Sam Dodgin, James Royce and Ben Pound are keen to disassociate their venture with this brand:

Ben: Each show basically riffs off a main theme, and we fit all sorts in there, interviews, sketches and we have a set of main characters that appear again and again, like investigative journalist Mike Hunt, and Jeffrey Gooch (spelt with a Q until he changed his name by deed poll).

James: With the themes, we try to tie them into student life and try to keep it relevant so that when people do listen, they can relate…

Aah, the well known URN “when”. I venture that the “when people listen” rule applies mainly to people buying Ginsters at the SU, or my Grandad, who appears to have quadrupled listening figures since I joined the Pulse show…

James: It’s geared up for student listeners obviously, but we like to have the idea that anyone could listen to it really and find it funny. I mean there a few student jokes in there, like Trent bashing or raising fees…

Sam: Yeah it’s student centred but I wouldn’t call it student comedy because whenever I think of student comedy I think of…

Me: …Of crap comedy?

Sam: Exactly.

James: Having said that, I’m reluctant to pass judgement on student comics at the moment because we’ve actually got to try stand up soon. Dave (the show’s producer) said that everybody who wants to be on stage at Edinburgh (apparently the team are in the “nascent stages” of putting together a show for the festival) has got to do stand-up at the Approach in Nottingham on Monday nights.

Sam: Little bit of plugging here… please come along and laugh at us, no one else will. We will pay you! Indiscriminate laughter is fine, don’t even bother stopping!

And the aims of these self proclaimed, trail blazers of University comedy?

Sam: Make people laugh…?

You don’t say…

James: Experiment with a few ideas, we’re all pretty new to writing comedy so just try a few things out. We’re also trying to enable a listen-again facility online and podcasts as well

And is this an exclusive gentleman’s club of fun, or can anyone get involved?

James: Oh yeah anyone, especially people with money!

Sam: In reality the more people would probably help us because we spend so much time on it. I spent fifteen hours on it last week!

So there you have it, if you fancy making laughs and having them, feel free to contact Off the Beat & Track on Twitter (@OTTBATT), or in the URN studios.

Louisa Wells

4 Comments on this post.
  • Sarah Platt
    29 April 2010 at 11:01
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    These guys are so funny! Defintely worth listening to the show-my favourite’s Edgar Ponsonby Grit’s memoirs LOL! Keep it up-best thing on URN!!!

  • Sarah Platt
    29 April 2010 at 11:02
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    These guys are so funny :)! Definitely worth listening to the show-best thing on URN! My favourite’s Edgar Ponsonby Grit’s memoirs LOL!!! Keep up the good work!

  • Sam Wright
    29 April 2010 at 13:34
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    This is the only student show I ever listen to, im always laughing it definitely deserves a bigger profile than its got to date, so nice article! keep them coming (maybe cover them every week???) Sam W x

  • Mark S
    29 April 2010 at 13:49
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    I’m usually averse to student comedy, but havint accidentally listened to this show once, I was hooked. It can be a bit hit & miss, but some of it is really genuinely funny. Worth a listen

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