Last night I had the pleasure of performing some new bits of material in front of my dog. That's right, my dog. My jokes didn't get a huge reaction from the canine, but the small and lovely audience were very nice about it. I suggest you check it out and go enjoy a great night of new material from the fine anglo-danish comedy twins; Morten Sørensen and Scott Merrington. You find all the details and 'like' the night on facebook here. Or even better, turn up and watch or perform. It's only in Putney. Woof.
My wife and I have just moved into a new rented flat (just before Christmas, as we really like to keep ourselves ridiculously busy) and earlier today had to finish cleaning the old flat, ideally in an hour. It didn't quite go according to plan. This being London and rental places tending to be a bit expensive, whilst being a bit shite at the same time. Our old flat was a bit crummy to say the least. We made it a nice place to live, but let's just say the decorative quality of the place was somewhat below the average hovel. And it's not like we didn't ask whether we could decorate, either. The real estate company gave a resounding thumbs down to the idea, telling us the place was up to par and well, what if we didn't do a good job? Anyway, roll on two years and it's time we moved out. So we did. Into a slightly better flat, with a garden. So, we get back to the old place to clean and I've already filled any dodgy areas in the walls of the bedroom. But the patch up job with the paint doesn't quite match the rest of the dirty yellowy-beige walls. So I look at my lovely wife, who has worked hard all morning and say "errrr, sorry, but I reckon we're going to have to paint the bedroom to put it right". She just looks at me, a little peeved, quite rightly so, as in that state we were still leaving it better than we found it. But being the sweetheart she is, she says "OK, fine, I'll help if you go get the stuff".
Just a blooming great shame we can't enjoy our expensive handiwork. Still, tray it forward, that's what I say. Or something.
Last night I was privileged to take part in the Piccadilly Comedy Club's New Act of the Year final. Now, I'm not one for competitions, it's not really my bag. Writing and performing stand-up I love, interacting with audiences I adore, but the added pressure of being in a competition tends to make me very nervous. Plus I'm just not very competitive. That said, the room was packed full and the audience were absolutely lovely. It being just post-Christmas, I wanted to refer to it in some way, so wore a special outfit – a pair of slippers (a present from my folks) and a 'onesie' (from my wife). The point being Christmas has left me very confused, with the parents telling me to grow up and the wife telling me to regress back to childhood. If nothing else, the onesie and slippers combo left me feeling more relaxed than I usually would have been.
Now, the set wasn't anywhere near my greatest. It was a little sloppy in places and unfortunately I was kicking myself a bit after (which didn't hurt too much with the slippers on), as there were several jokes my brain decided to leave out. It's funny how as soon as you're finished, you then remember what you were supposed to have said. A shame, as I didn't do several key sections of the set I'd prepared. For example, telling the audience that I got married, but being happy, there's no comedy in it. I was then supposed to have qualified it with saying:
"I do come from a long line of long marriages. My parents have been married now for 36 years. My grandparents will have been married for 70 years this year. So I know the secret of a long, successful marriage. It's the ability to talk over each other and never listen to a word your partner is saying'.
Quite a big section to leave out. And as I said, there were several chunks like this. So I spent the rest of the night a bit annoyed at myself. This was compounded this morning by Steve Bennett's chortle review of the show (he was also apparently the head judge), which more than picked up on my shortcomings last night. It's not as if I didn't already know. Still, saying that, laughs were aplenty and several audience members were very complementary about my set. I'll take that over any poorly written review. But I will be working much harder on my material. And I must not forget to deploy those chuckle bombs at the right time next time.
Good work by all the acts last night, especially Sunil Patel, the winner..
"...he’s happy as he’s recently got married..." (Steve Bennett, Chortle.co.uk)
It's been a long time since I updated this blog, but hey, what can you do but promise yourself you'll try harder and write more, whilst thoroughly reprimanding yourself, then almost instantly getting distracted by shiny things and forgetting for another year or so. Anyway, enough! That's not why I'm here. Just had an e-mail from my German friend and fellow comedian Christan Schulte-Loh, the German™, who is currently up in Edinburgh, slaving away on his one man show 'German Comedian' and the sequel to 2010's 'Comedy World War', 'Comedy World War II'.
Unfortunately I'm not up in Edinburgh this year, but two years ago I played a few times at the 'Comedy World War I' as 'The Mexican'. The idea of the show is to bring together comedians of different nationalities to fight it out (comedically speaking, not physically – that would be insane!). And, well, it appears I made a bit of an impact:
Taken out to protect the innocent
I saw Christian perform a couple of years back at the fringe at a free show in the evening with several other comedians. They were all 'different' nationalities. I was wondering if you knew the name of the comedian who came out pretending to be Mexican but was actually English?
From: Christian Schulte-Loh, 12:46 (15 minutes ago)
Dear Lauren, the comedian's name is Sean Brightman. He is a brilliant London-based comic. This is his website:http://www.seanbrightmancomedian.com/ Yes, his appearance as "The Mexican" was awesome. It deserves to still be talked about 2 years later!
Well, it made my day!
Do go and see Christian's two shows if you're in Edinburgh. They're part of the Free Fringe, so you don't have to pay admission. But you can donate something to the performer at the end. Find out more here: http://www.germancomedian.com/
Three shows a day. Flyering. Flyering. Flyering. Flyering. Not enough audience. Performing a show to two people. Deciding to not do your usual show, but instead, sit and have a drink with the two audience members. End up thinking 'hey, wait just a second, this is much more fun than our original show'. Adapt your show to a sit down affair. The magic of Edinburgh.
My Edinburgh Manifesto
So a few people have been asking 'so what are you hoping to get out of Edinburgh this year?', which is a good question and not necessarily an easy one to answer.
Is it the plaudits? The chance of getting an award? Chasing that dream of becoming a famous comedian? Hoping get picked up and carried through the streets by a cheering, adoring crowd, straight into an agents office and signed up for a huge global tour and Saturday night tv show? Is it for the chance to hang out with your comedy heroes in the late night bars, drinking and schmoozing until the early hours, sucking from the generous teat of Johnny Vegas, being fed grapes by other big-name comedians, whilst regaling them with 'hilarious' anecdotes?
None of the above.
It's all well and good having a dream or five, your plan to head off into that distant land of beautiful grey buildings on an adventure to find fame and fortune beyond your wildest dreams. But all that just isn't for me. I've been performing comedy for little over two years now and the reasons to stand up alone in front of an audience night after night has never been to get famous. If you want to get famous, there are much easier ways I'm sure. I'd probably go and shag Wayne Rooney or something.
What you will find when you see me this year, is a man working incredibly hard to increase his value as a comedian. It shouldn't be too difficult to find me either, being in three shows per day this year, without additional spots. This has transpired almost by accident. My original intention was to do only two shows, but the additional show I landed myself in has lauded a three-pronged 'strategy' to hone my comedic abilities.
Firstly, 'We Love Comedy', our London club night is coming back to the same venue. This is a 'varitable bill' show in a terrific venue on Cowgate, giving me the chance to hone and practice my MC'ing skills with a vastly different audience every day. This will be pure emceeing and any material will come from bouncing things off of the audience. I'll only have around ten minutes per day to do this, but the aim is to be funny and friendly without resorting to tried-and-tested material. Also, even more important, we are upping the game in terms of line-ups for this year. And sadly, I won't have the back-up last year from my wonderful partner (and now fiancé!), Renata, who stopped her pursuit of the funny after last years festival.
OK, so what else?
Assorted Nuts! No, it's not snack time just yet, but a show I'm doing every evening with two other comedians, Phil Higgins and David Hardcastle. This is an evening showcase, with the three of us each taking a turn to do around 20 minutes each. The plan is to work on and add polish to my existing set, as well as giving me the chance to try and develop new comedic ideas, as so much of my favourite material has been developed and reworked in front of audiences.
So, what about that third show?
What am I hoping for?
It's a kind of surprise. And in many ways, 'a kind of surprise' is the most ambitious of the three shows, although being performed earlier in the day at a more intimate venue. I'm working alongside Masud Milas, a comedian who grew up in Hong Kong and New Zealand and we're flexing our writing muscles with this, to try and produce half an hour each of new work. Although we're splitting this into bite-sized chunks throughout each performance, attempting to link the material as we go. Developing the mind-muscles to create and develop new work (i.e. hour long shows) in the not-so-distant future.
I love a good social too and can knock the Crabbie's back with the best of them. But I'm not aiming to be up in tall bars every night, nob-hobbing and neck swinging in acknowledgement of my comedy heroes, as much as I am partial to the bitter taste of Vegas milk. All too common last year, was the comedian complaining of throat soreness from 'doing my shows'. Where the nightly drinking and shouting over everyone to be heard obviously had no effect!
So that's what I'm hoping for for this year, or to put it more succincty (and this'll teach you not to have just scrolled down before comencement of reading):
• To become a better MC
• To become a better comedian
• To push my comedy writing towards a full show
• To try and enjoy the experience
I'm sure we'll all be having a drink or two, but as for seeking fame and fortune and Edinburgh being the big comedy trade show, I'm not buying it. I want to have something solid to sell first.
It was my birthday a couple of days ago (although we've been using it as an excuse for drinking and looking at animals in the zoo for a good week now). Not only was I lucky enough to spend time with some lovely friends and my beautiful girl, I also received some brilliant birthday presents. The one I'm going to share with you comes from Bec Hill (and I suspect her top man, Gavin had something to do with this too.)
Here it is:
"What does this 'Sean Brightman's Edinburgh Fringe Survival Kit' contain then?" I hear you mutter half-heartedly in my own head. I shall delay you no longer in finding out good person:
What we have there is (from left to right):
•an umbrella 'The Edin-bare Necessity'
•a tin of Heinz Tomato Sup 'The one proper meal you will have in a month'
•an energy shot 'use in case of emergency'
•roll-on deodorant 'shower replacement system'
•multi-vitamins 'substitute for food'
•Anadin Extra 'take one a day'
•That Jordan and Alex Reid book 'last-minute material supply'.
*The fish-bowl was not included
Almost everything you need to survive performing at the festival. I say almost everything, as I got given this from my lovely friend Kerrie:
And it fits perfectly in the box!
How well my friends know me.
Wow, I have been slack in updating this blogosphere with new and exciting content. It's been a busy time, doing sitting-down design and stand-up comedy, so please forgive me dear reader (I may have more than one, I just don't know).
Well, it's nearly Edinburgh 2011 time, so brace yourselves for a couple of Edinburgh related posts. The first, this one, is an interview I did with the lovely Kenny from Com Comedy. So watch this for your entertainment pleasure, instead of me boring you with words:
I recently got engaged to my lovely lady, Renata. Our friend, the brilliant Bec Hill, soon posted this...
This is your new blog post. Click here and start typing, or drag in elements from the top bar.
Now there is a lot more to this comedy lark than meets the eye. A newer comic asked for some tips on MCing, as he was about to try it for the first time. Here's my response:
And my favourite tip for MC'ing comes from (in my opinion) one of the best, Jarred Christmas:
'Great MCs are comics who are adaptable. They need to be able to roll with the situation and let their material flow whenever it's appropriate and required. They need to be likeable. If you are getting up after every act, you want the audience thinking: “I like this guy,”'
Read the full interview here: http://www.timeout.com/london/comedy/article/1153/jarred-christmas-interview
Please feel free to comment with your own tips, and if you're a developing stand-up, you can't go far wrong with Logan