1981 was the year before alternative comedy broke. The Comedy Store had opened in 1979 and rumours of a new kind of comedy were spreading north.

Those far from alternative comedy's epicentre were teased by newspaper articles about London's burgeoning new comedy scene, tickled by two vinyl albums of punk rock stand-up (The Comic Strip and Alternative Cabaret), and taunted by two lone episodes of Boom Boom, Out Go The Lights, a short-lived BBC showcase of new stand-up.

Within a year, The Young Ones brought a whole raft of alternative comedy talent to mainstream television. And today, alternative comedy's inheritors are filling stadiums.

Curated by Stewart Lee and Saturday Live and The Young Ones producer Paul Jackson, At Last! The 1981 Show presents acts you might have seen in the capital in that comedic Indian summer - some known, some unknown, all massively significant. It was 30 years ago today.

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At Last! The 1981 Show

Revisiting the past can be as painful as it can be nostalgic and this showcase of the most anarchic and cult punk comedians, assembled by Stewart Lee from the dawn…
31/05/2011

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