Comedian. Writer. Biped.

The Tropes! The Tropes!

As the Labour party continues to be mired in accusations of antisemitism, Carey talks Nick through some of the antisemitic tropes that crop up again and again.

Boris Johnson, with Kirsty Newton

Nick and Carey are joined by Kirsty Newton to talk about Boris Johnson, the frontrunner in the Tory leadership race and, therefore, the most likely next British Prime Minister.

Recently, police were called to the flat of Johnson's girlfriend, Carrie Symonds, following a domestic disturbance. They were alerted by a neighbour, who also recorded the audio of the incident and then sent the recording the the Guardian newspaper. Nick and Carey discuss the rights and wrongs of all this, and the subsequent fallout - predictably split along tribal lines - with their guest, the brilliant Kirsty Newton.

Kirsty is a musician, improviser, musical director and comedy performer (as in, a comedian but not a stand-up comic). She's performed with Rich Hall, Phil Nichol, Arthur Smith, Mitch Benn, the Comedy Store Players, and most recently toured the UK and Ireland with Paul Merton's Impro Chums. In her spare time, she's married to Nick.

Along the way, they slightly despair of how someone so unsuited to power is about to get as much as they could ever want, and discuss the effects of private schooling on privilege and inequality.

Oh, and there's a very silly bit where Kirsty tries to make a theme tune with a big roll of cardboard.

Milkshake or Battery Acid?

A bit of a sprawling episode, this, eventually getting round to the question: Is it ok to throw milkshake at your enemies? And, with regard to the fuss about some recent comments by Jo Brand, is it ok to joke about throwing battery acid instead?

Along the way, we talk about trying out new material (Nick's just done his first Edinburgh Festival preview) and how surprisingly up-for-it an audience can be, even for very potentially divisive material (in this case, the question, 'Are trans women real women?').

Carey has a horrible cold in this episode, so pleases wash your hands after listening.

The Flat Earth

Is the Earth flat? No. So why do some people think it is?

Nick and Carey watch the documentary 'Behind the Curve' so you don't have to (although feel free to; it's quite entertaining). It turns out they already know one of the people featured in it.

Why do some people hold completely false beliefs? What can be done about it? Should anything be done? Does it really matter?


Nick's in London for a moment, so he and Carey take the opportunity to record an episode, this time about Danny Baker's unfortunate tweet of a picture of a chimp, titled 'The Royal Baby'. Let's be clear: neither of us think it was a good idea, but the ensuing storm and his incredibly quick sacking by the BBC are an interesting model of how quickly and unforgivingly the social media outrage machine operates.

Is is possible to be accidentally racist? If you are, does that make you a racist? Are words or images racist in themselves, or does the intent matter? And if intent doesn't matter, where does that leave us?

If you find these questions interesting, and think that listening to two stand-up comics discuss them in an unplanned way will enlighten you, then this is the episode for you.

This episode contains language that some listeners may find offensive (there's a C-word each, and also an N-word each, with context, which shouldn't need to be said , but there we are).

We're back!

Carey’s back from Australia, Nick’s back from America, we’re both in the same country. Let’s do this.

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.