Mark AllenCommit No Nuisance

The humble quest for Universal Genius


This is my live comedy quiz show which started in February 2010 and is now running regularly in both London and Brighton, having been performed in England, Scotland and Wales since it's inception. On this very page, you can read what it's about, see a snippet of the show, find out when it's on, view the flyer and see some photos.

What it's about
The Humble Quest for Universal Genius pits top stand-up comedians against each other for your amusement. Hosted by me and aided by my "glamorous" assistant Eli Silverman, the contestants are put through their paces to see if they have what it takes to be considered a true Universal Genius.

At this point you may be asking yourself "What is a Universal Genius?" Well quite simply, it's someone who excels in every single facet of human understanding. They may have once been called Renaissance Men, but as the Renaissance was ages ago and women are now allowed to be clever as well, Universal Genius seems more appropriate.

Unlike normal quiz shows, contestants will have their faculties tested in proper subjects such as art, science, poetry, etiquette, wit, literature, music, languages, actual knowledge and hunting. Yes, hunting.

With contestants including several Edinburgh Comedy Award winners and stars of TV shows such as Mock the Week, Argumental, Live at the Apollo, Peep Show, and Never Mind the Buzzcocks, you never know who you might see competing for the coveted Universal Genius mortar board.

So far, the likes of Terry Saunders, Matt Forde, Joey Page, Michael Fabbri, Tom Bell, Tom Webb, Tom Craine, James Sherwood, Joe Lycett, Thom Tuck, Jon Robins, Seann Walsh, Dan Atkinson, Marcel Lucont, Robin Buckland, Sarah Bennetto, Dan Antopolski, Liam Mullone, Holly Walsh, Sean McLoughlin, Kent Valentine, Charlie Talbot, Nick Helm, Danielle Ward, Marek Larwood, Paul Sinha, Nat Luurtsema, Mike Wozniak, Trevor Lock, Naz Ozmanoglu, Angela Barnes, Matthew Crosby, Tom Parry, Henning Wehn, Stephen Carlin, Rufus Hound and Isy Suttie have competed for the title, but there will be more comedians pitted against one another in a heady mush of brains and humour in due course. I will not rest until I have uncovered more modern-day, bona fide Universal Genii*.

When it's on
The Humble Quest for Universal Genius now has its' very own website, which has details of when and where it's on, and who will be competing. There are also lots of pictures, videos and titbits of information that you may find useful, so you should totally check it out:

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A snippet of the Art round
For the Art round, contestants have 10 minutes to make a sculpture out of plasticine, which they then have to explain to the audience. This is what Tom Bell came up with...

View the flyer
If you want to have a look at the flyer for the show, you can see it here:

Universal Genius flyer fron
Universal Genius flyer back

Or you can download a PDF of the flyer here.

Some photos
Here are some smashing photos from the previous 3 shows at The Komedia in Brighton in 2010. All photos © Edward Moore.

ArtMark and Eli perform a response to the age-old etiquette dilemma
"Is this your bread or mine?".

HuntingJulie Jepson eyes up the "prey" while Tom Bell wonder where his safety goggles are.
Joey Page explains the symbolism of his plasticine sculpture "Fisherman's Luck".
LanguagesTerry Saunders gives his definition of the Bulgarian phrase "to fight space with a hairpin".
WitMatt Forde displays his wit while everyone else works on their entries for the poetry round.
Actual Knowledge
Actual KnowledgeMichael Fabbri racks his brains for an answer in the actual knowledge round. It's tense.
LanguagesTom Bell gives a spirited reprise of his staunch defence of the Serbian Eurovision entry.
A Loser
WitJoey Page trudges off stage with shame etched across his face. He is not a Universal Genius.
A Winner
Actual KnowledgeTom Bell however, is a Universal Genius as he proudly receives a scientific calculator as his prize.

* Genii is the plural of genius. If you didn't know that, the chances are you're not one.

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© Mark Allen 2012