Comedian. Writer. Biped.

Episode 29: Matt Kirshen and Holly Gabrielson

It's another guest episode! This time, Nick and Carey are joined by comedian, writer and ex-housemate, Matt Kirshen, and 'industry insider' Holly Gabrielson, who are on a trip over from L.A. We kick off by talking about the etiquette of '@-including' artists when you criticise their work on social media (don't), and the painful whining that met Greg Jenner when he gently pointed this out on Twitter last week. We also talk about learning history in different countries, and trying to write topical comedy in America in the Trump era.

This week's theme song is written and performed by Matt Kirshen. All rights reserved.

If you want to peruse, Greg Jenner’s original tweet and its replies can be found here: But if you don’t like it, don’t bother telling him.

Episode 28: Advertising Standards

The UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has announced new guidelines for advertising content. From next year, 'harmful gender stereotypes' will be banned. Nick and Carey talk about this, and about the 'research' behind it. 'Research' is in quote marks there because the ASA's 'public consultation' isn't, as the ASA claims, academic literature that evidentially demonstrates 'harm', but more like a marketing survey that asks people what they think. Nick gets pretty exasperated with this.

We’re not sure if you can swear in these descriptions, but both Nick and Carey drop the C-bomb during this episode. I hate the phrase ‘drop the C-bomb’, but if the actual word is so offensive that you need warning about it, I suppose I probably shouldn’t reproduce it here.

If you want to go down the rabbit-hole yourself, here's the starting point, with the other docs linked at the bottom:

Episode 27: Christmas

It's Christmas! Well, nearly. Nick and Carey decide to find a quiet spot in Central London to record an episode. This turns out to be impossible, so they end up standing in the cold in the gardens of the Royal College of Physicians, where they talk about awful Christmas gigs and what it's like to lose your religion (if you're Nick).

Episode 26: Dave Gorman

Apologies for the hiatus! Usually we'd put something like, 'Nick and Carey manage to get hold of Dave Gorman and grab an interview, etc.' but it would be more accurate to say, 'Carey manages to grab Nick and Dave' as Nick's been supporting Dave on tour for the past 3 months. It's not a long episode, recorded as it is in the dressing rooms, pre-show at the Royal Festival Hall, but Dave is, as ever, interesting, analytical and funny. Among other things, we discuss how Dave developed the genre that leads to other shows being described as 'Gormanesque', moving from the club circuit to doing your own thing, and Dave's favourite complaint from the previous tour.

Episode 25: Moral Panic

From Reefer Madness to Satanic Abuse, Nick and Carey discuss the nature of moral panics - that social phenomenon where public alarm spreads like viral wildfire. It's threatening the very fabric of society, don't you hear me? We also discuss the tribal factions forming around the current Brett Kavanaugh investigation. Listeners are warned: there's a lot of dead kids discussed in this episode.

Episode 24: From Russia with Guff

The two men named as suspects in the Salisbury poisoning, Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov, recently gave an interview to Russia Today that was as baffling as it was comical. Join Nick and Carey post-gig in a Cardiff hotel room as they talk about the interview, the case, Russia's current strategy in the world, the conspiracy mindset, and people who are wrongly convinced they know how a magic trick is done.

Episode 23: Louis CK and the White Male Effect

Comedian Louis CK drops in to join - NOT REALLY. But he gets discussed: is his reported 'comeback' appropriate? Too soon? An example of the 'white male club'?

Nick and Carey also look back at this year's Edinburgh Festival, chat about being invited as a guest on 'Newsnight', and discuss the so-called 'White Male Effect', which appears to show that white men perceive environmental risk as lower than any other group (it does show this, but also - SHOCK - it's a bit more complicated than that).

The shows we saw in Edinburgh that get a mention in the podcast - in case they're touring and you want to catch them - include Garrett Millerick, Laura Lexx, Daniel Sloss and David Correos.

Episode 22: Daniel Sloss

For this Edinburgh Fringe guest episode, Nick and Carey are joined by the prodigiously talented stand-up, Daniel Sloss, for a fascinating and very funny chat that hits subjects such as writing comedy about the death of a loved one, tackling taboo subjects in stand-up, and when you don't respect the audience enough to give them your best material.

Episode 21: Simon Evans

Comedian Simon Evans joins the Citizens of Nowhere for a discussion that's as wide-ranging and interesting as you'd hope from this thoughtful comic. A by-no-means exhaustive selection of topics alighted on: the shortcomings of democracy, finding 'your' audience, Japanese sex pillows, the disappointing lack of brilliance in our public servants, complaining about your boss when you are your own boss, and how to get a Roomba to pleasure you sexually.

Episode 20: Jen Brister

The latest of our Edinburgh guests is stand-up Jen Brister, who chats with Nick and Carey about being in a female couple raising a couple of boys, nature vs nurture, growing as a comedian, and when it's ok to do period jokes.

Episode 19: Zoe Lyons

Another guest episode, this time with comedian Zoe Lyons. A bulletproof circuit comic, Zoe has recently moved into touring and doing radio and TV. This wide-ranging chat is less about socio-political issues and more just about being a stand-up comic, both generally and at the Edinburgh Festival. We talk about different types of audience, dealing with that one face in the crowd that clearly hates you, moving from the weekend club circuit to touring under your own name, whether homophobia in comedy clubs dying out, and why sometimes you have to be a drunk, Glaswegian fly, even if it's just for yourself. It's a fun chat - enjoy.

Episode 18: Ayesha Hazarika

Ayesha Hazarika is a comedian, political commentator, and former adviser to Gordon Brown, Ed Miliband and Harriet Harman. She joins Nick and Carey to talk about her experiences in politics, the #metoo movement, the mainstream media's obsession with presenting everything as a two-sided confrontation, and Boris Johnson's recent theft of an old bit of Carey's material about burkhas. She is, as we’d hoped, a fantastic guest, but we hope she’s wrong about Boris being the next Prime Minister.

Episode 17: Marcus Brigstocke

It's Citizens of Nowhere's first guest episode!
Nick and Carey are joined by comedian Marcus Brigstocke for a candid conversation about self-censorship, what you can and can't say onstage, getting into arguments with people who know too much about you, and other pitfalls that await the comedian who deals with big issues.

Episode 16: Cisagreement

This is a fun one, cut short because Nick had to go. But before that, we have one of the first real disagreements between Nick and Carey, regarding being called/categorised as 'cis'.

Episode 15: Gunn Control

In the last few days, James Gunn (writer/director of 'Guardians of the Galaxy') was fired by Disney because of some tweets he sent years ago. This poses the question: where does your 'employee' identity end and your online identity begin? Do you have the right to have your online life considered separately from your work life, or are you always a representative of your employer? And should anyone ever lose their job over a joke, even one that's in bad taste? How does this compare to Roseanne? And does it matter that this whole affair was effectively orchestrated as a right-wing attack? If this can get someone fired, can  you now end the career of anyone in the public eye just by trawling through their Twitter history? Nick and Carey attempt to answer these questions, after a bit of rambling.

Episode 14: Change

This episode came out of the question, 'What do we do now that we think will become unacceptable in the future?' Things have changed a lot in the last couple of hundred years, and not just technologically; human values have also changed. Attitudes that were commonplace just a few generations ago now seem prehistoric. So do we have to forgive the people of the past because 'it was a different time', or are they all just as guilty as if they were born now? And how long will we keep the values we have now? Will they seem outdated and ludicrous to future generations? These are all interesting questions that could do with some expert analysis, but unfortunately you've got Nick and Carey rambling as usual.`

Episode 13: Cultural Appropriation

You may recently have heard accusations of 'cultural  appropriation'. Examples range from white people wearing dreadlocks or chopsticks in their hair to Elvis's musical 'inspirations' to an 18-year-old being attacked in a social media storm for wearing a Chinese-style dress to her prom. So what is cultural appropriation? Is it a real, well-defined phenomenon? Is it as serious a problem as those who complain about it seem to think? Should we care about it at all?
Nick and Carey try their very best to give a shit.
Some links: 
Time covers the Chinese dress storm:
David Frum on the Chinese dress furore:
The Bustle on Cultural Appropriation:

Episode 11: The Crown (or, Should We Throw The Royal Baby Out A Window?)

To commemorate the birth and naming of a new Royal Baby, we discuss whether it would be better for the country if we threw it out a window. Yes, this episode is about the Royal Family. Are they worth it to the country? Does it really matter? What are the alternatives? We talk about the baffling public hysteria over the death of Princess Diana, the weird fact that the public would rather see William become King than Charles, the surprising degree to which the Royals interfere in the running of the country, and how brilliant 'The Crown' is. Also, it's revealed that Nick may have committed treason as a child.

Episode 10: Antisemitism

What is antisemitism? What's a Jew? Why would anyone hate them? What are they up to? Do they control the media? Really? Not even the Jewish Chronicle? And is there a real problem with antisemitism on the left? Have either or both of Nick and Carey experienced antisemitism? And if both, why, given that only Carey is Jewish? Listen to find the answers to a couple, if not some, of these poorly-framed questions.