Scottie and Todd’s Swimming With Sharks Experience

Maybe next time I should try a character whose accent I can do.

This was the result of a last-minute booking to do five minutes at The Stand in Newcastle. I was going to do straight stand up, but I’m back there in a couple of weeks and didn’t want to repeat myself, so the afternoon of the gig I rewrote a two-hander sketch into a monologue, fleshed it out a bit and… this happened.

It’s the first time I’ve done character stand-up, and I really enjoyed it. I think I’d like to gig as Scottie again. He’s way more relaxed about it all than I am.

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You’re Beautiful

I know, it’s old and you’ve probably heard it already, but this is a great bit of stand up by comic Tom Gleeson. It does what stand up does best, shining a light on something and making you look at it in a whole new way. In this case, singer-songwriter (and walking example of rhyming slang*) James Blunt’s ubiquitous bloody love song becomes the creepy ramblings of a perv on a train.

For me it’s the whiney anguish in Gleeson’s voice as he argues with his imaginary girlfriend that makes this work so well (“of course I think you’re beautiful!”.) Quality performance.

*man, that is such a cheap joke, I really do apologise.

Demetri Martin

There used to be lots of Demetri Martin stuff on YouTube, but now there isn’t. Oh life, why must you keep throwing such disappointments at me? Still, this audio-only version of his remixed jokes will serve as a taster.

He’s another one-liner merchant, but the way he uses music to set a mood, over which his whimsy can work its charming magic, is really effective. He also experiments with his stage show, using flipcharts, video and people dressed as planets. He’s a bit of an inspiration.

And funny, of course. I really admire comics like Mitch Hedberg and Demetri Martin. They are funny without needing to be “edgy” or cruel, and they write really good jokes. I want to be like that when I grow up.

Mitch Hedberg

He writes the best jokes and delivers them with southern-fried charm.

Actually, that should be “wrote” and “delivered” as he sadly died a few years ago, but man, I think the world is a better place for having had him on it, however briefly.

And if you like these, off to YouTube with you. There’s much more Mitch out there!

Edinburgh

Looks like I’m off to the Edinburgh Fringe for a few days – the plan is that I’ll be there from Saturday 15th to Thursday 20th of August, and hopefully I’ll be practising my 7 minute So You Think You’re Funny bid for glory at various venues until it becomes a beautiful comedic butterfly fluttering above the heads of the audience, dropping glittery little butterfly plops of amusement into their open minds. Or something.  

What can I say? Right now the transient, empty approval of a bunch of strangers sitting in a darkened room is all I have going for me. Well, that and my newly-pink tiger t-shirt (Don’t mix whites with colours, you dolt. Now my favourite shirt looks like something Apollo Creed would wear. Mind, it also looks like something I would wear. Roar.) And if you’re going to escape from horrible reality for a bit, it might as well be to a city that sells nice porridge.

Many thanks to the Laughing Penguin crew for the offer of a lift and a place to stay. Much appreciated.

So You Think You’re Funny 2009

Think_Youre_FunnyI got through to the semi-finals of  ‘So You Think You’re Funny?’, ” the most prestigious of all the Edinburgh Festival Fringe stand-up comedy competitions” (they say that, not me). I am quite excited about this, and already a bit nervous.

Past winners include Phil Kay, Rhona Cameron, Lee Mack, Dylan Moran, Tommy Tiernan and Peter Kay. I feel that statistically I would stand more chance of winning if my last name was Kay.

My show takes place at 10.30pm on August 19th at the Gilded Balloon.

So if you’re in Edinburgh on August 19th and would like to see an excited, nervous old man talking about chickens and French bread in a lovely venue, tickets are on sale now:

Line up and tickets.

If you would like to see a drunk and deflated old man talking about missed opportunities and “the man” grinding him down, hang round outside the venue just after midnight. I’ll see you there, and we can laugh at that old man, cos I’m going through to the final, obviously.