Stand Up And Slam is an eclectic blend of poetry and comedy that has been running in Brighton for four years. Jamie Walker caught up with one of the founders of the night, Lucy Danser, to find out more

Where did the idea for the show come from?

Dan Simpson (a #teampoetry captain and the co-creator of the show) already ran a poetry night and I ran a comedy night.

We were both fairly uninterested in the other’s work because, in a nutshell, I thought spoken word was an unfunny sort of stand-up comedy and he thought stand-up was less clever spoken word.

Out of politeness we went to each other’s shows and fell completely in love with the art form.

We thought it was ridiculous that spoken word and poetry tended to have such separate audiences and yet there’s so much overlap between the two. We thought ‘we can do something totally unique here’.

Is there any other type of entertainment battle you see this working with? Or was poets vs comedians the perfect mix?

We did a one-off special where we joined the MC’s Vs Poets gang and that was fun.

However we really love the little jokes vs poems world that we’ve got because we’re constantly finding ways to bring the two art-forms together in exciting and silly ways.

That might be something like comedian Laura Lexx writing a poem that completely undermines the poets or a poet coming up with an off-the-cuff joke that decimates the comedians themselves.

What do you think makes these two play so well off each other?

I think that despite having fairly different audiences and career paths comedy and poetry do go hand in hand in so many ways.

You can see how beautifully they marry when you see performers like Tim Key or Phil Jupitus who meld the two into their performances.

You need to know the rules of an art form before you can riff on it and that, I think, is where the ability for these performers to play with each other so creatively comes from.

What will a typical Stand Up And Slam night entail?

The actual line up of the show changes every time. So no two shows will ever be exactly the same.

However we always have our Team Captains at the forefront of the show. The Comedy Captain starts the show doing what he/she does best: stand-up, warming up the crowd and gets them ready for battle.

He’s then joined by the Poetry Captain who does the battle admin.

There are typically two guest poets and two guest comedians.

The first half of the show sees them doing short sets of their best material. The second half sees all the acts on stage together where they get the chance to have a pop at each other.

Ultimately the audience chooses the winner and the losing team captain must denounce their art form.

The show has been going for four years, how much growth have you seen in that time?

Plenty. The show itself has gone from doing a little tester show in The Gallery Cafe in Bethnal Green to touring to Festivals around the UK, having three seasons at the Comedy Cafe in Shoreditch, a three year residency at Camden Comedy Club and two years at Komedia Brighton plus two sell-out Edinburgh Fringes with a third coming up.

The show itself has also changed dramatically.

We’ve worked with a huge variety of comics and poets to shape it and its current format was totally created through doing that.

What makes this show unique to anything else out there?

I mean, on a very basic level, this is the first and only show that pits comedians against poets.

There are plenty of wonderful shows with mixed bills where poets and comedians perform alongside each other but its the element of interaction and slam that makes this what it is.

How ideal is the Komedia as a venue for this type of event?

Komedia is fantastic.

For a start the audiences we get in Brighton are unique to anywhere else because its such a one-off city. So its always a fun experience for our team too.

Apart from that the studio has a great vibe, especially when its full to the brim of people cheering and booing for their team.

The bar staff and teach team are unbelievably friendly too so everyone’s grabbing drinks and chatting in the break and before the show.