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« It's official, I am an idiot | Main | Stand up for smokers' rights »

Warning: expletives deleted

Back from the Conservative conference in Manchester.

Not sure how to describe Stand Up for Liberty!, Forest's first foray into the world of stand-up comedy. Slightly disappointing attendance – 130, less than I had hoped for – but a very positive reaction from those who did attend our Comedy Store event.

Here's one comment, sent via email:

By a very substantial margin, the best fringe event of the last 10 years. Many thanks. The Speak-Easy in Bournemouth [another Forest event] was good but this was in a totally different league, staggeringly good!

And here's a tweet by former Sutton councillor Paul Scully (H/T Dick Puddlecote):

Not everyone shared their enthusiasm. We had a few walk outs, mostly older people who probably found some of the content a bit, er, challenging. (Next time we'll warn people in advance: 'Extremely Explicit Language'!!)

Afterwards several people came up and congratulated Forest for being "brave" to host such an event. (Until then I was quite relaxed but that had me worried!)

Anyway, thanks to the Comedy Store (Emilie and Paul) for their help, and to everyone who supported the event.

Thanks too to our three acts – Justin Moorhouse, Ian Stone and Canadian Tom Stade who this time last week was recording Live at the Apollo. I would be willing to place a huge bet that he didn't do the same routine!

We need to tweak the idea for future conferences but I do think comedy has a serious role to play in politics.

On Monday, in the Freedom Zone at the Bridgewater Hall, we reprised our Voices of Freedom debate, 'Civil Liberties Up In Smoke: what are smokers' rights in a free society?'. As in London in June it was chaired by Mark Littlewood (Institute of Economic Affairs) and featured Dan Hamilton (former director, Big Brother Watch), Chris Snowdon (Velvet Glove Iron Fist) and Peter Hitchens (Mail on Sunday).

I may not agree with his views on tobacco (he would happily ban it), but Hitchens was the undoubted star of the show. He was on very good form and played the role of professional curmudgeon to perfection, even objecting when he was introduced as a "contrarian".

He also suggested that defenders of smoking should pack up and go home. He wasn't joking!

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Reader Comments (3)

I do hope someone pointed out to Hitchens that we do not defend smoking - we defend our right to be left the alone in peace and with the freedom to socialise with like minded people of which Hitchens is not one.

What gives anyone the right to demand how I live my life when what I do hurts no one else. That is the bottom line and whatever anyone believes about the scam of SHS, smokers and smokerphobics do not have to mix in the same place and neither would they want to

Thursday, October 6, 2011 at 14:08 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Well said, Pat!

Thursday, October 6, 2011 at 14:51 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

A great night, and Lord knows, I needed something to laugh at in these wretched times !

Perhaps not to everyone's taste, but the billing - 'stand up for liberty' being held at the Comedy Store should have been suficient warning for the feint hearted.

Whilst some of the content was 'raw', to say the least, it would have been rather ironic to censor what material the acts could and could not use , would it not ?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 22:33 | Unregistered CommenterLiz Barber

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