Smith and Waugh Talk About Satire

Spinning out of the ongoing ‘Satire: Births, Deaths and Legacies’ project, and in association with the York Research Unit for the Study of Satire, this monthly podcast sees Drs Adam J Smith and Jo Waugh talk about the form, function, future and history of satire.

Adam and Jo are be joined by a range of guests, including both scholars and practitioners of satire.

Listen to the full first season on Soundcloud or here on the project website.

Season two is currently being released weekly on the following platforms:



Radio Public


Google Podcasts


Apple Podcasts

Anchor FM


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You can also follow the podcast on Twitter and on Instagram

Episode 25. Satire: Left Wing & Right Wing

Is satire fundamentally left wing or right wing? Does the BBC now have a right wing agenda? Can right wing comedy actually be funny? And was all this really the reason The Mash Report got cancelled? Jo and Adam talk about all of this and more (including their own shocking Political Compass Results!!!) in this all new episode, also featuring a chat with recovering stand-up comic and scholar of comedy, Seb Bloomfield. 

Listen to the full episode!

Episode 24. Satire On International Women’s Day

Jo and Adam #ChooseToChallenge this International Women’s Day by seeking out and celebrating some of their favourite female satirists from literary history: Mary Leopor and Stella Gibbons. Especially devoted listeners may also choose to stick around after the closing music for an extra treat.

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Episode 23. How To Live Well The Satirical Way

Stop talking about Valentine’s Day and start talking about Smith & Waugh Talk About Satire Day! That’s right, this episode marks exactly two years since the first episode dropped on 14 February 2019. For this very special anniversary episode Jo and Adam are joined by author Oli Grant to discuss his book How To Live Well The North Korean Way, a satire on the nature of self-help books and their efforts to selectively appropriate, repackage and commodify aspects of other cultures. They also ask whether or not Jo has any authority here or if Adam has read the script and understood it. 

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Episode 22. Satire: Social Media, Identity Politics & Woke Ideology Part 2

In the second part of this wide-ranging interview with satirist, comedian and cultural commentator Andrew Doyle , conversation turns to touch on cancel culture and the culture wars as Andrew explains what is at stake in his satirical project. Jo and Adam also take time to reflect on Charlie Brooker’s latest production, the Netflix mocumentary Death to 2020, and Jo reveals her clever idea for a new kind of national service. 

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Episode 21. Satire: Social Media, Identity Politics & Woke Ideology Part 1

18 months after he first appeared on the podcast (Episode 8. Satire: Woke Politics and Political Tribalism), Adam and Jo welcome satirist, comedian, writer and cultural commentator Andrew Doyle to discuss life as the man behind Titania McGrath during 2020, and to discuss Titania’s latest book: My First Little Book Of Intersectional Activism

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Episode 20. Christmas Consumer Advice Special 

Sometimes, a phrase pops into your head that seems too good not to use, even though sometimes it was plenty weak enough to leave alone. So it is in this episode of the 9th best satire podcast with ‘Karen and Gammon Talk About Salmon’, Adam and Jo find out as they labour the joke to be sure it won’t work. They then talk about satirical books at Christmas time, Christmas itself, and some of the adverts that have happened this year.

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Episode 19. Have We Got [Satirical] News For You

Poor Unfortunate Adam is trapped in his flat with only his memories for company, having been outed as the Saboteur in CBBC’s Trapped – or possibly just been near too many phones.  Jo has decorated her study with subversive prints and a Jane Area, but has now run out of things to do as lockdown looms: what to do? The only way out of  their own Infernos is to chat about some recent satire, including Spitting Image and some good stuff as well. There’s been plenty emerging recently, so it’s time for Adam and Jo to take centre stage as the main event, and talk about it. They also muse on the inconsistencies of Serco’s Track and Trace app, their respective failures to impress Cambridge Admissions Tutors, and the impossibility of telling whether someone is a ghost or not when you can’t touch people any more. Join us in our personal Bly Manors. It’s our podcast!

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Episode 18. Satire, Social Media and Identity Politics

Jo and Adam are joined once again by novelist Leigh Stein for the second half of an interview about Self-Care, Leigh’s new satire on the wellness industry. This time, they talk about offence, cancel culture, privilege, the presentation of victimhood on social media, and Leigh’s approach to navigating (and skewering) all of these factors and more. Adam and Jo also talk about ‘Lockdown Sceptics’ and the bizarre dating site: Love in a Covid Climate. 

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Episode 17. Satire, Wellness and Woke Capitalism 

Jo and Adam are joined by Leigh Stein, author of the new satirical novel Self Care, to talk about the wellness industry, women, forms of feminism (or things that look like feminism), social media, soundbites, and the relationships between wellness, wokeness, and capitalism. So, give yourself permission to listen to our intuition. 

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Episode 16. Satire, Social Justice and Offence 

In this long awaited and highly anticipated episode, Adam and Jo discuss comedy, humour, offence, a fence, and much more, with very special guest Dr Sharon Lockyer. Is social justice a legitimate target for satire, or can comedy promote its causes? When it comes to crossing the line, how far is too far? Should Fawlty Towers be cancelled? Was Little Britain ever funny? Is it satire to imply Sir Keir Starmer has a lot of underpants? 

Listen to the full episode!

Episode 15. The Bonus Mail Bag Episode

After pestering listeners to give them a yell for the past 18 months, Jo and Adam finally take a minute (or rather 63) to respond to all of the comments, questions and queries that have either landed in their satirical inbox ( or hit them up in socials. Some are real, some are fictional, but each inspires a compelling, controversial or comedic discussion of the form, function, history and future of satire. And, since this is a bonus episode, Adam and Jo also take this opportunity to homage two of their own favourite podcasts. 

Listen to the full episode! 

Episode 14. Satire in Lockdown 2: Staying Alert

As unprecedented times become the new normal, Jo and Adam return for another unprecedented episode which follows the precedent set by the last unprecedented episode they released in May. That’s right, it’s time for another Satire in Lockdown Round-Up! With the government’s new and confusing message proving almost as viral as the virus, the PM’s chief advisor flagrantly breaking the rules he helped to write and everyone else communicating almost exclusively through Zoom, there’s been plenty of fodder for the satirists. 

Listen to the full episode!

Episode 13. Satire in Lockdown

We’re living in unprecedented times: life is imitating art and satire as well. But can satire itself survive the virus? Who’s been satirising what, and has it even remotely helped?

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Episode 12. Satire, Context and Curation

In episode 6 of season 2, Jo and Adam talk to Dr Sarah Burnage, curator of Fairfax House, about the peculiar challenges of presenting historical satire to contemporary audiences. Is satire more dependant on context than other literary forms, comedic or otherwise? What happens when satire is severed from its moment of production? When does satire becomes propaganda or misinformation? Sarah talks about her longstanding interest in eighteenth-century art history, and how she came to forge a career in the heritage industry. She also shares her experience curating an exhibition all about the savage satire of James Gillray in the summer of 2019.

Listen to the trailer!

Listen to the full episode! 

Episode 11. Satire, Women and Elitism (with Janey Godley)

In episode 5 of season 2, Adam and Jo talk to comedian Janey Godley, about satire, swearing, and elitism. Janey hit the headlines in 2016 when she held a sign stating that “Trump is a C*nt” during Donald Trump’s visit to the Turnberry Golf Resort, but she’s also been a successful stand-up comedian for over 20 years, as well as a regular on Have I Got News for You and Radio 4’s Just A Minute and the maker of comedy voice-over clips  which she posts on Twitter. So – can anyone do satire? Well, one of the three of us in this episode definitely can: the other two try their best.

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Episode 10. 2019: A Year In Satire










In the first episode of 2020, Jo and Adam pick out the biggest moments of satire from the past 12 months. This was the year that saw Alan Partridge return to the small screen, Chris Morris return to the big screen and Stewart Lee return to the stage. In the news, it also gave us #Hairgate, Fact Check UK and a Brexit that was always just around the corner.

Listen to the full episode!

Episode 9. It’s a Satirical Life: Satire & Christmas

In their very first Christmas episode, Jo and Adam take a break from asking whether satire is dead, and imagine what it might have been like if it had never been born at all. No expense has been spared on members of the cast, as they take a rollercoaster ride through a very partial history of satire. They then discuss the satirical possibilities of Christmas itself, and are joined by Dr Matt Colbeck of the virtuoso Math Rock band, Creepjoint to ponder this. 

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Episode 8. Satire: Woke Politics and Political Triablism


In episode 1 of season 2, anonymous Twitter account DM Reporter commented that you can’t be a satirist if you write for the Daily Mail. In this episode Adam and Jo talk to Andrew Doyle about that argument, and about Andrew’s own satirical Twitter account, “Titania McGrath.” Who are his targets, and how does he hope to change their minds? Is there any hope for the future? And exactly what was wrong with Frankie Boyle’s “joke” about Katie Price and her son?

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Episode 7. Confessions of The DM Reporter

Unlike Alan Partridge, Adam and Jo got a second season, and they use this first episode to talk to the anonymous author on long-running parody Twitter account DM Reporter about how he got started, what it is like trolling the Daily Mail for almost a decade, why he can’t stop and whether or not it is satire just to say crazy things that people people have up-voted.

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Season 2: Prologue. 

Adam and Jo plan the forthcoming series, reflecting on the challenges that might arise from shifting the focus from scholars of satire to its contemporary practitioners, such as Andrew Doyle, Janey Godley and the DM Reporter. They also discuss Shropshire Farm Foods, a delicious ready mean delivered to your very door. 

Listen on Spotify!

Episode 6. Satire and Women

Has satire ever really been a “man’s game”? Does satire work differently when written by women? Or when women are the targets? How is sexuality treated by satire? Adam and Jo are joined by Professor Karen Harvey (University of Birmingham) to talk about satire, sex and gender.

Release date: 4/7/2019

Listen to the trailer on Soundcloud! 

Listen to the full episode! 

Episode 5. Satire and Laughter


Should satire make us laugh? Is satire always funny? Why do we laugh at things anyway? Adam and Jo are joined by Dr Kate Davison (University of Sheffield) to talk about the social history of laughter, and the various satires of the eighteenth-century tavern keeper Ned Ward.

Release date: 13/6/2019

Listen to the trailer on Soundcloud!

Listen to the full episode! 

Episode 4. Satire and the Image

Do you need words to do satire? If a picture can say a thousand words, how much satire can it do? Adam and Jo are joined by Wendy McGlashan (University of Aberdeen) to talk about eighteenth-century print-maker, miniaturist and satire merchant, John Kay.

Release date: 9/5/2019

Listen to the trailer on Soundcloud!

Listen to the full episode! 

Episode 3. Satire and the Novel 

What is the difference between a satirical novel and a novel with satire in it? Adam and Jo are joined by Dr Helen Williams (Northumbria University) to talk about one of the best known satirical novels of all time: Laurence Sterne’s The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gent

Release date: 11/4/2019

Listen to the trailer on Soundcloud!

Listen to the full episode!

Episode 1. Pilot: What even is satire?

Adam and Jo start at the very beginning with the biggest question of all: what even is satire? What did it used to be in the olden days and what is it now, in the age of Twitter, Trump and Brexit?

Listen on to the full episode!