Month: January 2016

Supporting a Comedy Chum

Last night, a friend from the beginner’s comedy course wanted to perform at his 2nd gig after the show case. He was going to be about 15 minutes from my office and so it would have been rude to say no. He is also my friend so saying ‘no’ would have been a dreadful thing to do.

After arriving at Shepherds Bush Market I started walking down the highstreet. After 10 minutes I thought maybe I should check Apple-Maps! This lead to some confusion where I nearly got on a bus to Acton as I thought I was in the wrong place, but eventually I made it to ‘The Green’. Essentially, if I’d have turned left instead of right when I got out of the tube then I’d have been there in 30 seconds!

The pub seemed quite lively and as I sat down with my drink my chum arrived! Madro White!

We chatted for a bit then went off to go find the venue. We made our way downstairs and found the room it would be in. It was still set up like a pub, with tables and chairs all over the place. While I nipped to the loo, the room was transformed but then one obvious issue was there….it was essentially a corridor for one of the two routes to the loo. This would be a challenge for the performers, that’s fo-sho!

The gig was at a venue called Heavenly Comedy and is hosted by Njambi McGrath. Although the website says it starts at 7.30pm, the actual gig didn’t start until 8pm. My plan of watching my chum then leaving early to get on with my own stuff wouldn’t happen…especially when it looked like he might be on in the 2nd half. There looked to be one slot on the bill in the 1st half so he added himself to that and that was it. Another chum of mine, Zainal had been blown-out at a gig elsewhere so wanted his name written down for this one and he’d come down…but as he would be trekking across London he couldn’t be there himself to do it. Luckily there was a space so his name went down.

There were probably 12-15 people in the audience when Njambi (The MC) opened the show. She did ask how many comedians there were and then how many ‘audience’ and it looked like the comedians outnumbered the audience 6 or 7 to 1! I thought this might alter the dynamic of the room but really it seemed like everyone was in this to have a good time. She explained she is trying to put together her own show and will be trying out bits between the acts. After an introduction to ‘Dancing with My Father’ we learnt a bit about Kenyan TV security (When a TV is turned on it creates warmth, this can not be hidden!) and their Solar Panels. Before too long the first act was welcomed to the stage.

There were some good laughs by the audience. It was a gentle start to the comedians trying out there stuff. Madro was on 2 (or 3) and got off to a good start. The customers walking through to the toilets was something that all the comedians had to put up with. I wonder if there is a way to fix this without reducing the audience area too much? Madro started with a great bit about crusts. The audience lapped up (poor choice of words) his semen crust joke. There was some nervousness in his delivery but the jokes, once out, got a great response from the crowd. A good bit of incest joking in the middle was follows by some toilet going pub dwellers which interruptedup a good routine about sex/chocolate cake.

Originally there was going to be no interval but some early-non-showers turned up and we had a quick break. In the 2nd half a punter joined from a doorway. He was a little drunk and decided that each stand-up set was more of a conversation. He did plough in with his helpful suggestions, often repeating them louder while saying, “You can have that one.” as if he was a comedy god giving out his jizz of comedy to waiting newbies. The truth was he was just a pain. All drunk hecklers should have had to listen to his ramblings when they are sober to realise why ‘joining in’ isn’t as much fun as it appears at the time.

Zainal did his set in the 2nd half and it was really well received. There were a few more acts (including someone who was in the final of a national pun-competition!)  and then around 10.15 the night came to a close. As I left the pub I did get a slight pang that I should have performed also. Maybe I need to dust off my writing fingers and break my performance cherry.

 

Another One of My Chums does his 2nd Stand-Up Gig

Completely out of the blue he did a set at We Are Funny Project. I’ve read that this promoter is happy to give out spots to new acts and its held at good venues with decent crowds.

Imagine my surprise when one of my chums from the beginners stand up classes announced he had just performed there.

Madro_White_First_Gig

The ‘cherry popper’ is my friend and he played to a packed house in Shoreditch. What a great set-up for your 2nd ever gig. This is putting a little pressure on me to start thinking about the possibility of maybe performing my 2nd gig. It could still be a while away yet. More writing is required for me. Definitely more writing.

 

Glasgow International Comedy Festival – Burns Night Comedy Gala

I spend a lot of time (and cash!) at the Leicester Square Theatre and a week or so ago they emailed me regarding an online competition to win 2 tickets to the Burns Night Gala. I applied as I love a bit of comedy and at the end of last week they emailed me to tell me I’d won two tickets. Result!

After grabbing a bit to eat we made our way to LST and collected the tickets. As always, the staff were polite and quick and we made our way into the main room. I do like the LST as it has a large-ish waiting area (with a bar) to allow you go to wait inside out of the cold rather than get wet outside.

We took our seats (not bad for freebees!) and waited for the show to start. I did notice that the theatre wasn’t as full as the online booking system suggested. Maybe they had had a lot of no-shows or maybe they had a lot of guest tickets that just weren’t taken. Either way there would have been around 200 people there, maybe 250. It was no-where near capacity.

The MC was Bruce Devlin and he started the night off with some crowd work. We were introduced to Racist Woman and her boyfriend Jesus, the Harry Potter the Musical Team, and a couple who had been dating for 10 years.

The other acts were as follows;-

No-one I’d heard of before however I do enjoy seeing not so well known acts and this lot all came into this category. The crowd were well lubricated and occasionally it became more of a conversation between the comedians and 1 audience member (Jesus enjoyed being the centre of attention).

Highlights of the show were Richard Gadd for his set. He had pre-recorded music, movie quotes, sound effects and the name ‘Richard Gadd’ that he controlled during his set. It was very different to the rest of the acts on and this made it funnier. I also enjoyed Damian Clark for his energy on the stage. The acting out of dancing to music on headphone and also the Singing the song to music shop people really had both of us laughing out loud.

The final act of the evening was Larry Dean. With a thick scotch accent I was amazed how good his ‘west London estate agent’ was to the point where I thought maybe his Scottish accent was the impersonation! He went down a storm with the audience and every left on a high.

Over-all it was a good night. I think it would have helped having more people in the room but I still had a great evening and really enjoyed the showcase. If you get the chance to see any of these acts then you should.

 

Topical Joke Writing 25th January 2016

Another week of the comedy course and more writing to be done. Our homework for this week was to write topical stuff. That meant two weeks on the bounce for me! I love some topical jokes!

I managed about 4 minutes of stuff and the highlights were;-

A grandmother of 13 has been jailed after stuffing £1500 worth of cocaine in her vagina. She was trying to get off her tits but a spokesperson for the family have said she always has aimed low and she is now regretting getting cunted.

Tony Blair says Scotland will leave the UK if Britain voted to leave the EU. I trust Tony Blair so little, that if he said bears shit in a wood, I’d go straight to a car-park to watch some bears shit.

The Partner of murdered East Enders actress, Sian Blake has spoken out about what happened. On the night of the murder he approached her and she said she knew about what he’d been up to and she was just about to go tell the police that…… duh Duh Duh duh Dudududud!

The rest of the stuff will be uploaded as file for people to read (or not read) at their pleasure.

Want to write for Radio 4? Well now you can! NewsJack!

If you want to write comedy and maybe have it performed, check out ‘Newsjack’ on BBC Radio 4 extra.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00kvs8r

They accept sketches and one-liners for topical news stories, when the show is running.

Sketches need to be in this format – http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/…/…/full_name_title_of_sketch.rtf

One-liners/Vox Pox/Etc needs to be in this format – http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/…/transc…/full_name_oneliners.rtf

The best bit, if your work is performed and broadcast you get paid! Not enough to retire on but a great incentive to get writing.

You can submit 1 set of sketches and 1 set of one-liners so you have twice the ability to be broadcast. I’ve currently had NOTHING broadcast but you can see my writing attempts on here.

NewsJack is coming back! Get your writing hands warm

Excited! Its nearly time to start writing again!

I just got an email from the BBC

Nish Kumar is back for another series of Newsjack, the open-door topical sketch show filled with sketches, one-liners and voxpops written by the public.

Nish is joined by the best sketch and character comedians on the scene bringing the week’s news stories to life.”

I’m happy about this for 2 reasons.

  1. You can apply for tickets for it via the BBC to attend the recordings for free.
  2. ANYONE can make submissions for it! If it gets broadcast then you get paid!

I have written for Newsjack before but nothing has been broadcast (and therefore nothing has been paid to me!), but I have NEARLY been broadcast! I’ll tell you about that on another blog post.

Topical Joke Writing – 19th January

As part of the comedy course I am part of we had to write 3 minutes on something that felt more to our character. I had previously done 5 minutes for the showcase of the last course I did but I felt this wasn’t the direction I wanted to go. I wanted to write topical and political jokes.

As usual, I had left it until the last minute. So with time chasing me down I created the attached.

3 minutes stand up 19-01-16

It is rough but there are 2 sections I really am proud of.

Firstly, someone called their son Thatcher. Not exactly mainstream but definitely some oppertunities for a joke

“At least if he grows up to be a drag artist he can use the catchphrase – This lady is not for turning! The biggest problem is he might grow up into Paedofile. Well you know Thatcher, always fucking miners! At least while still in nursey school he can legitimately snatch other kids milk. And when he gets older HIS son can help a military coup in Equatorial Guinea.”

Secondly there were complaints about the pollster….

“Who cares? The results of an election poll has no real meaning. What we need is in an election, some way of finding out what EVERYONE who voted, voted for. If only we could instigate some sort of election pre-polling. But its very important that only people who have the right to pre-poll get invited so we will send them pre-polling cards through the post. And when they arrive at the pre-polling station, they will need to confirm they are the person on the card. THEN we need to make sure no-one can see how they pre-poll, so we will keep them in private booths. Now, we can’t force people to pre-poll but what we can do is give them the option to spoil their pre-polling slip. We will count up these spoiled pre-polling slip for no real reason. At the end of the day we can just count all the votes on the pre-polling slip. This might take a while but some northern county with nothing better to do will probably get all the pre-polling slips counted before anyone else. During the night we could have some overnight pre-polling rolling coverage on the BBC while each constituency gets their pre-polling results and the following day we can eventually see the outcome of the pre-polls. This is definitely the way forward for future elections. “

I’m sure the twitter joke about ‘things you read when on the shitter’ is probably hack, but as thats not the punchline I think I can get away with it.

in other news, the other people on my comedy writing course are desperate to do their 2nd gig. I’m not sure. I want to write more and not just re-hash my material from the 1st gig.

Rufus Hound on the NHS

I attended a recording of the Museum of Curiosity and one of the guests was Rufus Hound. The show was great but Rufus was amazing. He appeared a little drunk (nothing wrong with that) but at one point went on a tangent about the NHS. It was amazing and I thought it was a special moment only the lucky people in the room would get to enjoy it.

Until Now.

I have just found that a recording of it was loaded to YouTube.

If you’d like to listen to the rest of the episode then it should be broadcast in February on Radio 4. The other people are on are John Lloyd, Sarah Millican (curator), Sir Tim Smit (Eden Project), and Doris Vickers (archaeoastronomer).

I’ve been a massive fan of Rufus for years but unfortunately haven’t seen him perform live. This is something I definitely want to rectify.

If you fancy a Rufus Hound fix then you can currently get 4 DVDs he has been involved in. 1 is a stand-up show and the others are either movies he was part of or his childrens tv series, ‘Hounded’.

My First Ever Gig – 21st December, 2015

At the end of the beginners comedy course we were given the option of taking part in the showcase or not. I really was undecided about it, especially as I didn’t feel my set from the previous week (that we performed to the other people on the course) was any good. Based on this I had 1 week to write a completely new, and untested 5 minutes that I thought people would be happy with. Nothing like a bit of pressure to help get your mind in the right place for writing comedy!

With the pressure on I did nothing about it until the day of the show. Then I gave myself the rediculous task of working out what I was going to perform. There was little chance of me writing brand new stuff so I printed out some of my previous writing from the course and started to re-work that. Eventually I had 3 seperate 1 minute bits that I hoped would stretch out to 5 minutes. And then I practiced them.

I probably have 15 different recordings of me performing the set. Ranging in time from 3.58minutes to 9.32 minutes (I think I got distracted halfway through). Happy that on average i was getting to 5 minutes I decided what I’d wear for the performance and headed out of the flat.

Arriving in Leicester Square far too early I grabbed a Tea and waited outside the venue. Re-performing my set into my mobile phone over and over. I kept my headset in so that people would think I was on the phone but if they over-heard what I was saying they would have probably thought I was a bit mental. As more people arrived we headed inside and made our way to the basement where the gig would be held. After being asked to leave by the barman, Kate arrived and we began to set up the chairs. At this point Kate explained that we had well over 100 booked to watch the showcase and there wouldn’t be enough seats for anyone anyway. Us comedians would have to hide at the back of the room.

We were also given the running order and I was partway through the 1st half. This was a godsend to me as I’d only have to wait for 2 or 3 sets before I’d be able to do mine and get off stage to enjoy the rest of the performances. We had a great opener, Nick. He had the crowd in stitches with his ‘Canadian in the UK’ jokes. This got everyone laughing and help set the standard of the showcase. In less time than expected I heard my name called and the audience were clapping and cheering as I fought my way through the crowd to the stage.

There were over 120 people there and as such I really had to fight through the audience…to the point where they had stopped clapping long before I got anywhere near the stage. Luckily Kate in her role as MC got them going again and I arrived on stage to rapturous applause.

The lights were blinding, the time on stage appeared to race past while at the same time taking for-ever. I don’t remember them laughing once. That’s not to say that they weren’t laughing but even coming straight off stage I can’t remember any laughs from anyone. I left the stage to a great round of applause and as I made my way back to the comedians people congratulated me. It was a good feeling. The other comics did tell me people were laughing at my jokes so I’m glad I didn’t do as badly as I imagined it went in my head.

The other acts of the show all did great. The comedians were ace, the audience amazing. Performing to 120+ people really was something that no-one could have expected but it certainly helped make the gig what it was.

At the end of the night I went back home and thought long and hard about what I’d achieved and done. Not bad going at all. The first step of a journey has certainly been completed. Where will the next step take me?