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What’s so funny? Why do we laugh? Do we have any say in the matter?
Poet, psychoanalyst and author of Animal Joy, Nuar Alsadir, is joined by comedian Elf Lyons to discuss silliness, seriousness and spontaneous outbursts. The pair will consider laughter’s revelatory capacity and the brutal honesty involved in clowning around.
Nuar’s latest book, Animal Joy, blends the personal and theoretical in its examination of our emotions and reactions. Elf’s latest show, Raven, merges horror, comedy and the works of Stephen King. Both Elf and Nuar have been to clown school. One of them earned the nickname Smarty-Pants, the other was known as Asparagus. Join us for this online conversation between two fearless, multifaceted artists to find out who's who.
‘Good horror is terrifying; bad horror is funny. Good comedy is funny; bad comedy is terrifying.’ Elf Lyons
Nuar Alsadir is a poet and psychoanalyst. She is the author of the poetry books Fourth Person Singular, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry and the Forward Prize for Best Collection, and More Shadow Than Bird. She lives in New York City.
Elf Lyons is an award-winning comedian, theatre maker, director, comedy writer and voice artist. She gained a cult reputation as one of the most innovative performers on the UK comedy and theatre scene. Her work has included re-enactments of classical ballets, musicals about the economy, immersive horror shows and a lecture at the Barbican on the Surrealist movement.
Since 2017 Elf has been nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award for Best Show at the Edinburgh Fringe, the Malcolm Hardee Award for Comic Originality, Fringe World Perth's Best Comedy Show and in 2018 Elf won Pick of the Fringe at the Adelaide Fringe, Australia. In 2020 her show Unlikely Darlings with Helen Duff was one of The Telegraphs '50 Best Cultural Moments' of the year.
Since 2019 Elf's TV and radio credits have included Comedians Giving Lectures (Dave) and her own BBC Three short Top Ten Things I Have Brought Whilst Drunk. She is a three-time cover star of The Sunday Times Culture.
Alongside performing on stage and teaching performers clowning, Elf is a well-respected writer. She has written articles for The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph, The Independent, Londonist, Cosmopolitan Magazine and Refinery29, amongst others.