Leo Bird

Title: The British Comedy Industry: Prosperity and Decline in Live Comedy Performance, 1945-65.
Period: Post 1800
Start year: 2013
Email: LMBird1@sheffield.ac.uk

Primary: Dr Adrian Bingham | Secondary: Dr Caoimhe Nic Dháibhéid


Academic background

  • PGCE Secondary History, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, 2006
  • M.A. Intellectual and Cultural History, Queen Mary, University of London, 2005
  • B.A. (Hons.) Modern History and Politics, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, 2004

Research topic

My thesis will analyse the unique role of comedy in the development of British popular culture in the post-war period. This study plans to uncover an art form that has often been overlooked within academic circles. During this time, comedy was in the midst of a technological revolution encompassing the decline of music hall and variety, the rise of radio and into the television age. I intend to examine the changes in live comedy focussing on the routines, popularity and economic value of comedians and writers. I want to shed light on the large-scale industry of making people laugh and how comedy is subject to both artistic and financial pressures.


Conference papers

  • Variety-on-Sea: End of the Pier Shows and the Seaside Comedy Industry, 1945–1960, (British Society of Sports History Workshop, Leisure and Coasts, Ports and Waterways, University of Portsmouth, 2015)
  • Comedy Stripped Bare: The Windmill Theatre and the Evolution of Popular Comedy, 1945-60, (Social History Society Annual Conference, University of Portsmouth, 2015)
  • The Fall of the Empires: The Decline of Music Hall and Variety Comedy, 1945–1960. (Sport and Leisure History Seminar, Institute of Historical Research, 2014)
  • Sexual Innuendo and Double-entendre in Popular British Comedy, 1945-60. Moral Ambiguity in Post-war Britain. (British Society of Sports History Workshop, University of Winchester, 2014).


I am a qualified teacher of 11 -18 year olds and have taught History and Government and Politics at A-Level since 2006. I currently teach part time.