On October 12th, Stak brings you We’re Not F***ing Historians, a brand-new comedy podcast that takes an alternative look at Irish history. Hosted by celebrated YouTuber and filmmaker Hazel Hayes and critically-acclaimed comedian and writer Shane Todd, each week the duo prise open the history books and take turns to share a new tale from The Emerald Isle’s colourful past.
From the Bronze Age to Bono, Paganism to St. Patrick, Ireland has a proud, storied past. It is a country steeped in tradition: particularly, according to Shane, one of being occupied again and again by absolutely anyone with a boat. Now, after centuries of squabbling, migrating, and countless raids on monasteries, Shane and Hazel are on a mission to understand the island they call home from both sides of the border – and, most importantly, have plenty of laughs along the way.
This is a podcast for people who are interested in history, but not so interested that they would read a book about it or listen to actual experts. This is history done differently: with a couple of facts, and plenty of craic.
How did We’re Not F***ing Historians come to be? What was your inspiration?
Shane: Like everyone, I was bored in lockdown and read all of the Internet. I got onto an article on Irish history and realised I knew very few of the stories. That got me thinking about a podcast where I learn about these incredible tales and share my interpretation with the audience.
Hazel: My agent told me he represented some mad Irish bloke who wanted to start a history podcast. He needed a co-host who would laugh at his jokes and never question the accuracy of his historical facts, and that’s where I came in.
S: We met on Zoom and pretty quickly everyone felt like we could work really well together.
H: Look – we’re just two history enthusiasts who happen to be absolutely hilarious. How could we deprive the world of all that?
What story are you most anticipating sharing on the podcast?
H: I wouldn’t say I’m most anticipating this necessarily – but I think it will be really interesting to talk about The Famine on a comedy podcast since, let’s be honest, it was probably the bleakest point in Irish history. It’ll take some skill to talk about it with humour, but also with the reverence it deserves.
S: I’m buzzing for people to hear our episode on Rathlin Island. It’s a tiny island off the coast of Northern Ireland with a massive history. I gig there annually and have built a real relationship with the area and the people. So to be able to pay homage to it was a lot of fun. Richard Branson crashing a hot air balloon there isn’t even one of the main things that have happened on Rathlin Island!
How much did you know about Irish history before you started making the show? Were you big history buffs at school?
H: Not a lot to be honest. History was actually one of my favourite subjects at school but I dropped it in my fourth year when we got a new teacher who was so strict and boring that she sort of ruined it for me. So all I have left now is what I vaguely remember from early school days.
S: History was one of the only school subjects I was interested in. I couldn’t get enough of it. Sadly after school, I stopped reading up on it. Until now! I think a lot of people are like that.
In a single sentence, how would you sum up We’re Not F***ing Historians?
H: A show for people who are more about the craic than the facts.
S: The blind leading the blind on a journey through Irish history.