Radio 1Xtra makes its comedy debut

Charlie Sloth and guest Drivetime DJ Charlie Sloth will host a sketch show as part of 1Xtra's comedy season

The singer Tulisa and comic character Lee Nelson will be part of Radio 1Xtra's first comedy season, which runs for three weeks from Monday.

Rebecca Frank, who is editing the season, said the station will also "fly a flag" for new and under-represented talent.

1Xtra is experimenting with the genre because of its popularity among their target audience of 15-24 year olds.

"If you spend five minutes on YouTube or Twitter, [you'll find] what's really big with the 1Xtra demographic is comedy and music," Frank told Ariel.

Lee Nelson Lee Nelson will bring his unique quality take to 1Xtra

"Music is our absolute bread and butter but we have the opportunity to reflect what our audience love and comedy is huge with them."

Among the season highlights are Knockback, a comedy drama written by and starring Daniel Kaluuya, who featured in Bafta-winning drama The Fades, and comedian Jason Lewis.

It's being released on the 1Xtra and SoundCloud websites in six parts before airing on the radio as an omnibus next weekend.

National platform

Frank says the station is keen to make content that will be uploaded online "because that's where our audience is spending an awful lot of time".

"It just means that, with something like stand-up, we have a two-minute highlight clip that young people can gather around on their mobile phones, share with each other at college, then spread the word about 1Xtra and bring it back to the broadcast on the radio."

With advice from BBC Comedy, the station's impact and development team spent nearly three months pulling together a vast array of contributors for the season.

Comedians such as Facejacker's Kayvan Novak and Simon Brodkin - in his Lee Nelson guise - will be among many "taking over" the station's daytime schedule.

Comedy on 1Xtra

  • Comedy Club - Live stand-up sets 8-11 April, 9pm
  • Knockback - Drama about two pathetic but loveable men Sunday 14 April, 9pm
  • Comedy Takeover - A range of acts will "hijack" the daytime shows 15-21 April
  • Charlie Sloth's Rinse Out - Sketch-based show featuring musical spoofs Thursday 25 April, 4pm

Drivetime DJ Charlie Sloth, who Frank describes as one of the station's "first YouTube signings" due to his previous sketches on the website, will host a comedy show about himself - the "best-looking fat guy in the universe".

He has even managed to recruit N-Dubz singer Tulisa, who will perform "twisted versions of her songs".

New stand-ups will also feature in live Comedy Club sets recorded in front of an audience.

The genre is known as being high-risk, always generating a variety of opinion on whether performances are funny or not. So the station has decided to showcase a wide range of contributors and types of comedy.

Frank says the season is about giving a national platform to new comedy. "We could say that about music - we play numerous records on rotation in order to hit different people and that's exactly what we're doing with the comedy season."


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