Monday, 31 January 2011

New material and a new opportunity!

New gig: I got carded after my gig at
The Cavendish Arms tonight
Diary of a stand-up comedian Entry #6
I have to admit that the gig a couple of weeks ago was a bit of a blow to the ego. It didn't exactly go according to plan, but the good news is that it didn't put me off either.

Earlier in the week I caught up with Gemma Beagley, who hosts Monday nights at the Cavendish Arms, to ask for a bit of advice. Gemma has been on the open mic circuit since November 2009, and she advised me to write some new material and to avoid doing a whole set on one subject, because if the audience don't like the story you're telling them, you don't really have anywhere else to go.

Trying to write something funny that will appeal to everyone is not easy, and I've realised that most of the time when I'm being 'funny' around my friends, it is because I am taking the piss out of them. It's easy because I already know them - I'm not too sure I'll have enough time to go around each audience member to find out a bit about them before going on stage to carry off that routine.

So I sat down and wrote. I tried to write about every day things, like relationships, having babies, holidays, and a bit of nostalgia. It seemed to go okay, and it certainly felt like it was punchier.

A good friend of mine from university, Ben Righton, also performed tonight. Ben is an actor and uses stand-up to keep himself match fit as he calls it. He did a hilarious set about the personalities of different railway stations, and his stage presence was spot-on as you would expect from an actor. He certainly put me in the shade!

But being with Ben looks like it has got me a new gig. After the show a guy called Matt came up to Ben and gave him his card as he is setting up a new comedy night in Streatham, and said how much he enjoyed his set. He then looked at me and it slowly dawned on him that I had performed as well. It was an awkward moment, I'm not too sure he was going to invite me down, but he handed me his card anyway.

Sod it, I'll take what I can get at the moment!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Do Not Disturb - Barcelona style!

Do Not Disturb - Barcelona style, Funny Pictures,So we have all forget to hang the Do Not Disturb sign on our hotel door before, resulting in the cleaner bursting in while you are comatose on the bed. However, in Barcelona things are slightly different as this door sign suggests - translated: Please No Molesting.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Have you ever spent anytime in the Colon?

Have you ever spent any time in the Colon, Steven Scaffardi, Funny PicturesThis is a hotel I spotted during a trip to Barcelona earlier this month. Now I can't quite afford to always stay at five star hotels all the time, but luckily for me I didn't have to stay at the Hotel Colon - I hear it's a bit of a shit hole :)

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Hmmm, reality check?

Reality check needed?
Diary of a stand-up comedian Entry #5
I'm not going to lie - after my first crack at stand-up comedy I thought I had made it. I thought all I needed was a few more gigs on the open mic scene and then the comedy agents would be knocking down my door to sign me up.

After all, I was voted the second funniest comic of the evening in my debut performance! I'm a pretty big deal I'll have you know! I had the crowd eating out of the palm of my hand - they loved me back in September! And if you don't believe me, then just ask all 25 of my friends who came down to watch me!

And that right there is the problem. If last night taught me anything it is that stand-up comedy in front of your mates will result in you getting the biggest laugh of the evening because they are their to support you. Unless of course you happen to friends with a group of monks who have taken a vow of silence. If you are friends with monks, my advice would be not to take them to a comedy club. You can have that bit of advice for free.

So in hindsight, if I analyse my debut performance, finishing second in a competition where your mates make up 50% of the judging panel perhaps isn't such a great achievement after all. Even worse, chances are that the other half of the room screamed their lungs out to make sure I didn't get top spot!

Last night wasn't a complete horror show, and as you can see from the video clip I got a few laughs. But it has made me realise that this comedy malarky might not be quite as easy as I first thought...

Monday, 10 January 2011

Lad Lit Book Reviews: Mafia Dynasty by John H. Davis

Books For Men Book Reviews! Mafia Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the Gambino Crime Family by John H. Davis
If Carlsberg did New York crime organizations...

The Gambino branch of New York's five families has been led by some of the most powerful and well-known gangsters in American history. From its rise to prominence in the roaring 20s right through to the 80s and 90s under the leadership of one man who would become the most infamous mobster since Al Capone, Mafia expert John H. Davis takes us through six decades of greed, murder, deceit, and ruthless power struggles in Mafia Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the Gambino Crime Family.

Davis has put together a well-written account that not only focuses on the rise and fall of the Gambino Family, but the history of the American Mafia in general, starting in the prohibition era when pockets of Sicilian immigrants took advantage of the fact alcohol had been outlawed to create their fortune.This would lead the way for the Italian/Jewish faction of Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Frank Costello, and Benjamin 'Bugsy' Siegel to not only take control of the New York crime family, but to create The Commission; a corporate business-like code of conduct and chain of command that would be rolled out across the country and take the Mafia to another level.

The length of the book (500 plus pages), rarely seems a chore to read as Davis guides the reader through a whirlwind of historical theatre and drama. Despite featuring such unruly characters as Albert Anastasia (who was part of a group of ruthless murderers called Murder, Inc.) and Carlo Gambino who seized control in the 1950s of the family which would eventually bear his name, Davis uses all of this as a prelude to lay the foundations to focus on John Gotti; the man who would go on the feature on the front of Time magazine.

A seasoned Mafia expert or fan of the genre might not find anything new in this book that they didn't already know, but for the casual reader it is the perfect guide to paint the picture of the Gambino's. Personally that really works for me, because I have read other books on the subject who attempt to dig so deep to reveal every intricate detail of the history of the mob that you get a little bogged down, and for that reason I give this book two very big thumbs up.

Saturday, 1 January 2011


Diary of a stand-up comedian Entry #4
Hey, long time, no speak! I hope you have been keeping well these last few months. What have I been up to? Oh well, where do I start? It has been an absolute whirlwind, I can tell ya. I followed up that fantastic night on September 14 at the Cavendish Arms with... three months sweet FA.

Obviously I have still been going to my day job, paying the bills, and being a satisfactory boyfriend to my missus during that period - I haven't simply given up on life since that night in Stockwell. But I have to admit that there has been a rather large tumbleweed knocking around and occupying the space where I could have been trying open mic again over the last few months.

I'd like to say the success of my first gig went to my head and I have been on a massive bender ever since, binging on a cocktail of hookers and cocaine. You know, the sort of thing that Bill Hicks might have done.

But the sad truth is that I have just been lazy; living on a cocktail more of the prawn variety. Don't get me wrong, I have threatened to give stand-up another go - on several occasions! But I have never quite found the time to separate my arse from the sofa.

But that was the old me! This year I have made one of those New Year Resolutions to get back up on to that stage. You see, I am self-publishing my first novel The Drought this year, and by self-publishing I mean that I will be doing all the bloody work myself! Seeing as the book is a comedy novel, I put two and two together, and came up with a cunning marketing plan to promote myself as a pretty funny bloke, and at the same time hopefully encouraging people to buy the book!

I know, absolutely genius! Watch this space!