Friday, August 25, 2006

A Hopeful Gig In Cradley Heath


A few weeks ago I was driving home from my holiday in Cornwall. On the way, my mobile phone rang. Because I was driving I couldn't take the call. Later, when I was able to get to it there was a voice message from a chap called David Francis. He said that he runs a pub in Cradley Heath, Birmingham, and was planning to put on weekly open mic comedy shows. Scotty had given him my name as somebody who might be interested in taking part.

I was instantly dismissive. Another chap with a five minute interest in putting on live comedy. He'd probably never get as far as the second show. Let's leave it.

BUT... the next day he phoned again, and I spoke to him this time. Top marks for persistence if nothing else! AND... he started to convince me he meant business. He was going to put on an open mic show in his pub every Thursday night. I wasn't free to go along for a few weeks but I promised to help by spreading the word.

A couple of weeks later he was in touch again, asking for help in getting enough acts for his latest gig. I pointed him towards the Chortle forums, and apparently that has helped him keep the shows going, if not as successfully as he'd like. I was able to say that I'd be there to do a spot on August 24th.

I let it be known around town that I was going to be there that night, and invited my friends and fellow 'fringe' comedians to book spots on the same night. Dave Dinsdale did more than that. I soon found out that he'd been along and arranged to take control of the show for that night. He was organising who would be on, and he'd take on compering duties.

So last night I was there, doing a show with old comedy mates Dave, Ian McDiarmid, Johnny Sorrow, and Dean Garbett. I was a bit apprehensive about the mainly local audience, but it turned out to be the most fun gig I've done for years. Dave was MC as he wanted, and did a great job going through reams of his best stuff between the acts. Johnny had the job of first act, and did his usual high energy business. In the second part of the show, first me then Ian did about ten minutes each. I got a better response from my established jokes than I sometimes do. I think the audience could tell how much I was enjoying it. To complete the night, Dean did another great job as headliner.

Dave the pub manager was pleased, and thanked us all. I hope he can keep this comedy night going for his sake and for the sake of Midlands comedians needing stage time. But especially I hope that I'll be back there soon and I'll be doing some new stuff.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Nice To Be Home!


Apologies to my readers, but I've been on holiday... Cornwall, North Wales, and Norwich. You know what holidays are like... Fun and stress in equal measures. So I'm happy to be home again. And on my return, there was ONE interesting email in my inbox. It was from Jeff Lieberman!!

What?? You don't know who Jeff Lieberman is? He's that American film director. He'd read my IMDb comments on his 1994 documentary movie "But... Seriously" about satirical stand-up comedy in America for the 1950's to the 1990's, and wanted to tell me that he appreciated my thoughts on his movie and gave me further information about that project.

What?? You don't know what IMDb stands for? It's the Internet Movie Database, where you can find out about movies, actors, directors, writers, etc. that you're interested in from movies and TV.

PLUS... It's an opportunity to share your own comments and queries or extra information you have about those productions and people... and that's what I like to do. It's a great displacement activity for when I know I should be working on my own original creative writing projects.

By the way... "But... Seriously" is seriously good, and it features clips of comedians... like Mort Sahl (pictured), early George Carlin, Dennis Miller... that I haven't seen before, especially not on telly in this country. I recorded it when it was on Channel 4, and if you want to see it, you'll have to come along to my comedy writing classes in Stratford, coz I'll be showing bits to demonstrate effective satirical stand-up.

Hearing from Jeff is sort of what I'd been hoping for actually. I enjoy writing about comedy in all forms and mediums, and I have vague hopes of comedy related journalistic activities, or in other words... perhaps somebody in power might see my writing and give me the chance to write about comedy for money.

Do YOU have that sort of power??? Gizza job!