From the Top.

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“Where do you get your ideas for jokes from?” Someone asked me recently. This is what I told them.

Let’s take One of my joke’s: “I really love films, especially black and white ones, like Lethal Weapon.”

Before I was a failed stand up comedian. I was a failed filmmaker. Growing up I always wanted to be creative somehow. But I was always too shy and untalented to do anything.

I always loved film and as I got into my late teens, what I wanted was to be a movie writer, maybe even a producer. This was odd. As most people wanted to be an Actor or Director. Also, I didn’t really know what a producer did.

This was before I had the internet and there weren’t any film schools in my town, hell we barely had a regular school. I watched a lot of films, DVD extras, and listened to directors commentaries.

I came across a quote that inspires me. “If you can watch a film you can make one.”

This was not true. My attempts were awful. I had no money, clue or a support network.
Except for one of my friends, called Sean.

Sean wanted to make movies too. He was into directing and editing. His awful films were much better than my god awful films. So we teamed up.

One day he said “I have an idea for a movie. You write it and I direct it.” We saved up our money to buy a decent camera while I was writing the script.

The project was called 10-48. It was very much inspired by the Saw films. Two different groups of people wake up in the forest. Not knowing each other or why they are there. Then the two groups are pitted against each other. Where the winner’s get to walk away with their life’s.

It came in at a massive 40 plus pages. There was also something like 16 characters in it, along with a lot of action scenes.

1048

A rare time anyone used the script while filming 10-48.

It took two years to make and even at that, we didn’t get all the footage we wanted.

The main issue was that Sean lost his passion for the project pretty fast. Sean could only shoot on the weekends, would show up late and not really have clue to what was going on.

I was left to do everything. All my spare time and money went into 10-48. From going around to getting the props and costumes, or having to make them myself. To finding locations we could shoot on, getting the cast together and sorting the transport.

We would have massive fights all the time over it and finally, I stepped aside. From the footage we had. Sean managed to cobble together a working movie. After all that work it came out like nothing we hoped for and I had lost my friendship with Sean over it. I never wanted anything to do with making films after that.

But Mike, a guy I knew from school, hounded me for a year to make a movie with him. I told him about how people had let me down, not just Sean. Other people would be all keen to act in it. But when the time came they no showed.

Mike promised he wasn’t like that and after a year of asking me, I caved in. I came up with the simplest idea. A mock interview. Mike would play a director who’s a bit full of himself and I would play the interviewer.

The day of the shoot I was all ready to go. Mike was a bit late do. Then he was over an hour late. I sent him a text. No reply. Almost two hours later he sends a text back saying he can’t make it with no reason given. I didn’t speak to him again after that.

I liked the idea of the delusional director. I developed it bit more. Making it into a mock documentary about a snotty director poking fun at a young director who looked up to the likes of Micheal Bay instead of Martin Scorsese.

During one of these exchanges, the snotty director tries to undermine the younger director, by asking has he ever seen any black and white films? The younger director responds by saying:
“Yeah, black and white films, like Lethal Weapon.”

That’s where the joke came from. I said to the imaginary person who I pretend asked me that question. For the elaborate set up for this blog entry.

After doing stand up. I finally had the confidence to write and direct my own short film called “D.T.A”. It’s not great but it’s ok. The Irish motto.

I can only find the trailer for the film Sean and I made:

The link to D.T.A:

Thanks for reading guys. Some of my Upcoming gigs:

Jesters Comedy Club, Co. Dublin. July 26. 8.00pm.

Gorey Comedy Club,  Co. Wexford July 28. 9.00pm

The Comedy Crunch, Co. Dublin. July 30. 8.30pm.

Daniel Kiston and on on on.

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Holidays. I hate them. I mean I hate work so it’s nice to be off work but I don’t really like going anywhere. Since I was always single I was traveling by myself which was always awful.

Since starting comedy back in 2011 I used my holidays to do gigs. For the past three years that mostly means using them to do the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

But this year my partner and I (who is also a comedian) agreed to have a non-comedy holiday. Just go somewhere and not do any gigs. Just walk around, do tourist things.
(I know so boring).

During our four day visit to London on our non-comedy holiday. We went to two stand-up comedy shows, a comedy film, and a comedy play. So we really nailed the non-comedy thing.

We managed to get two tickets to Daniel Kitson work in progress show. It was in Angel comedy club at the Bill Murray bar. Sadly despite looking I couldn’t find the Dan Ankroyd barbecue pit or the Jim Belushi Gym.

Being honest I only heard about Daniel, never seen any of his work. He is very underground shunning any mainstream attention. My girlfriend is a fan of him and happy to sit through stuff to make her happy. Except Bridget Jones 2 and her smear test.

Arriving at the venue we were greeted by, Kevin O’Connell. Kev is a young comedian from Ireland who betrayed his country by going to England to further his comedy career and to finish his collection of retro Coke cans. Kev is also the first person in real life who’s said they have read this blog.

The club was full (About 50-60 people). It was late (10.30) and sweaty. Daniel casually walked to the stage in shorts and a t-shirt. He had a little desk where he put his 40 pages of notes on and told us it would take 1 hour and 40 minutes to get through it.

He tears into his pages almost like reading a novel out loud. Through the story, Daniel starts seven or eight narratives about various things in his life. Like Living alone, Isis and getting a seat in a restaurant by yourself and kept them all going throughout the show.

There wasn’t much in the way of crowd interaction. Expect close to the end where you got very angry when he heard someone talking.

Being honest I hate when people read off notes and this was closer to storytelling than stand-up. I know that’s is a contentious issue dividing comedy into sections. I can hear someone now “Who are you to divide comedy into groups? Bet your pro-Segregation, you racist bastard”.

But it was funny in places and I was engaged throughout the almost two-hour length of the show.

Afterward, I asked the mother of my hamster was this typical of Daniel’s work?
She said no, his regular stand-up is completely different. I would definitely like to check out one his “normal” show via his website or in person.

Which is clearly a sign I liked his work. Becuase after seeing Rob Beckett live, I never want to see his face again.

Come see MC The Battle of The Axe in Temple Bar, Dublin on 13/07/17 from 9 pm.

Pro for Pro.

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I recently responded to post on “Rent-A-Comic”. For those that don’t know “Rent-A-Comic” is a group on Facebook for Irish Comedians. Where people post slots for gigs, get mad at the lack of women on the Irish comedy scene and ad’s for half price sunglasses when the page gets hacked.

The post read “Looking for a headliner (20-30 minutes) for an upcoming charity gig. Sadly can’t pay, please pm.”

I know you what you’re going to say. “You shouldn’t do 20-30 minutes for no money and remake the Mummy with Tom Cruise .”

Your right of course. But I often don’t get to do 20 plus minutes, the gig was pretty close to where I live and knew the guy running it. His pretty new to comedy and didn’t want him to get lumbered with someone who would just say they could “Headline”.

Recently I was part of a gig, where the “Headliner” was a newer comedian. He had about 7 maybe 10 minutes. The rest was him trying out new stuff and reading things off his notepad. It was brutal as you can imagine.

The best one ever was the comedian who’s set was on his tablet. While on stage he was struggling to recall his set. He pulls out his tablet. It was in sleeping mode. He had to start it up, put in his password and had to scroll to find the section where his set was written. It took two minutes for all that but it felt like two hours. Worse of all it wasn’t even funny.

I messaged the promoter about the charity gig and the response I got was “Thanks for applying but looking to get someone with T.V. or Internet Credits.”

I’m sure you all thought the same thing I did. I bet you, Dara O Briain, will gladly come over for free to do the gig. Sure he might even mow the lawn for you while he’s at it.

The point I guess I’m trying to make you have to be realistic and professional when contacting people.  This works both ways of course.

When I was starting out a friend of mine e-mailed a comedian. The e-mail was really nice and asked him to do the gig for fifty euro.  My friend had no idea what people charged to do shows and even admitted this in the e-mail.

The response he got back was disgusting. The comedian tore into him. Going on about how dare he offered him such a low amount and went on about being a professional.
I would say being a “professional” would be responding like one. If I naively made a low offer to a painter for a job, I doubt he responds by smearing poo all over my house and saying “You wanted a brown color didn’t you?”.  Which would be a lie, who wants a brown color for their house?.

To sum it all up let’s quote Jesus Christ “Do to others as you would them to do to you.”
“Love they neighbor” & “Let’s get this party started.”

I’m off to London for a week. But on July 10 I’m in Manchester doing Beat the Frog.
Then in Dublin July 13 hosting the Battle of The Axe.

Check out the podcast I did with the comedy cast:

 

J.A. Rule

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On June 1, 2017, I entered Whelan’s with great trepidation. Not because of how poorly lit it is and you could fall down anytime. No, because I was going to see James Acaster.

Let’s backtrack a little while I explain my history with Acaster.

My current partner and Mario Kart nemesis is a massive fan of him. A few years ago we went to see him at the Cat’s Laughs Festival.

It was an odd crowd and James was dealing with a few hecklers. He was also trying out new stuff (Thanks for doing that after I paid 30 Euro for a ticket.) It was my first real exposure to him and it wasn’t the greatest start.

A few months later we went to his Edinburgh show, Represent.  Hoping a full show and with the crowd on his side (You would just assume they would be after buying a ticket with his name on it) that it would be an amazing show.

Alas, it wasn’t. It was downright boring. I almost fell asleep. One guy in the audience did.

Afterward, my girlfriend tries to defend the show by saying “it was more performance art/spoken word then stand up comedy and that at least he was trying to do something different.”

Which is true but don’t call it stand-up comedy and put it in the comedy section. Put in the bloody Performance art/spoken section and let people know what they’re getting.

But my girlfriend still thought he was great. So Last Christmas I bought her a pair of tickets for Mr. J.A. and to prove my love for her I agreed to sit through another one of his shows.

Six months later we ended up in Whelan’s. The show sold out and a large group of the lower to middle-level comedians of the Irish comedy scene were in attendance. Hell, it was like a gig in the battle of the axe.

The show starts with James setting up his microphone while audio clips of him being introduced from various comedy clubs played until he was ready to go.

From the start there a great bit of crowd work and gentle mocking of himself. The show centered on James going into the witness protection program, hence the title Restart.

The highlights were the Brexit comparison using teabags, leaning tower of pisa and how not to take a passport photo. Most of it was good to very good but the problem for me didn’t become apparent until the second half.

James is touring his last three Edinburgh Shows:
Recognize, Represent and Reset.

Tonight was the final one in Dublin. After Reset was done he said he was going to take a 20-minute break and do another show.

It was called Recap. A collection of some of his famous bits and some new stuff. I assume because I’m not enough of a fan to know which was which but people seem to react to certain bits like there were old friends.

It ended with a long bit about a duck that tied all three shows together. James thanked us for coming and the show was over.

It was during Recap that I realized my problem with Acster. I can see how clever, funny and well put together it is. But it never connected with me.

I enjoyed both shows but can only say I really laugh a handful of times. Spending most of the time admiring the thought and skill he put into his writing.

It like hearing a great band live but you only like a couple of their songs. You still enjoy it and respect the level of work that goes into it but your not rushing out and buying their CD’s. (Look I know how dated that sounds, but saying you don’t rush out to listen to their playlist on Spotify just doesn’t have the same impact, does it?)

Good thing to see was the venue had to move James to the bigger room due to demand. It’s nice to see people come out and support comedy especially something not so mainstream.

The downside is this never seem’s to happen for Irish comedians. Acster and people on his level play around England in venues this size and (just about) make a living.

Only David O’Doherty could really sell out Whelan’s like these for three nights.

It’s sad and sometimes depressing to think if you want to make money from comedy you have to move to England.  Who the fuck wants to live there? their crisps are wired and you have to go the last night of the proms, whatever the hell that is.

The only way to help is by supporting new comedy and got the perfect chance for you to do that. On Tuesday June 6th I’m will be the MC for Camden Comedy at Anseo Bar on 18 Camden Street Dublin. We kick off at 9.00 pm.

Here a link to my recent interview with the comedy cast:

Please like, share and subscribe to the blog for the monthly updates.

Thanks for reading, I’m off now to the Cat’s Laugh Festival this weekend. Hope to have a report of my weekend for the next update.

Cat Laughs & Me.

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I’m heading to Kilkenny in June for the world famous Cat’s Laughs Festival.

I’m only going to watch as I have never been part of the main program officially. But the Cat Laughs has changed my life.

A few years ago Sky T.V. were the main sponsor. During the weekend they set up some free events. One of them was a competition to pitch your idea for a T.V. show to a live crowd and the best one would get Sky T.V. free for a year. You get all the channels like CBBC, CBBC+1 & CBBC Jnr.

I sent an e-mail off to them. A week before the show I got a call saying I had been one of the twelve selected. The format of the show was going to be two minutes to pitch your show and then a chat with the judges after it. A bit like Dragons Den.

My pitch was a sitcom based on my (then) life as a porter in a Hospital in a small town. I was going to do my stand-up material about my job for my two minutes.

Before the show, I went to a panel with the then head of Sky comedy Lucy Lumsden, the guy who runs Babycow (Steve Coogan production company) and a few other comedy industry people.

The competition was on right after in the same venue. I didn’t think it was crazy to assume Lucy with stick around to watch the show.  This is when my nervous went into Kathleen Tuner Overdrive.  What if she liked my pitch? I could leave my crappy job behind and write a sitcom about my crappy job.

All the contestants were brought upstairs of the Langton set theater. We were given a brief run down by host Andrew Maxwell about what was going to happen.

Looking around the room I kinda recognized a couple of faces from stand up. One stood out. A black hair girl who I had recently seen at the battle of the axe. She was very good and was worried she might be some competition.

Andrew started the show and introduced the judges. They were Neil Delamare, Karl Spain, an American stand-up and some Canadian stand-up. (Hey I’m sure they don’t remember my name either.)

I did my two minute pitch. It went down well. My chat with the judges went ok. Neil and Karl were into but the Yank and Canuck had no clue what the hell I was talking about.

They announced the winner and it went to… the dark haired girl. I was a little annoyed. Her pitch was for a pardoy show called “Meal or no Meal” set in a third world country. Where starving people had to choose between boxes that may or may not contain food. Her pitch was very funny and she handled the bit with the judges great.

But in my naviety, I thought they were looking for shows that could acutlly make and unless Sky Living goes down a dark path I doubt there going to pick that show up. In reality, the judges just wanted the funniest idea and pitch.

A little while little the dark haired girl and I became friends on Facebook (All comedians add each other for networking and to see what gigs the other bastard is getting.)

I sent her a message asking did she ever get the prize? She said no and we started chatting from there and now almost four years later we are living together with a hamster.

Now onto the competition. Duane Doogan of Cherry Comedy has kindly given me two tickets for the Cherry Comedy show this Monday (15/05/17) in Whelan’s at 8′ O clock.

I am performing with some funny people like Rory O’ Hanlon and a few others.

Here is the link
http://www.whelanslive.com/index.php/cherry-comedy-12/

To win the tickets just e-mail me at offalycomedyevent@yahoo.ie

That’s it no questions, bank details or nude pics. Just be the first to e-mail and you win the tickets.

Check out this year’s Cat Laughs via their funky website:
http://thecatlaughs.com/

As always shout at me on twitter @SlumberingJ

 

 

 

Social-Media Springboard Elbow Drop.

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I’ve had no success on social media and that’s probably one of the reasons why I didn’t set up a”John Sheehan- Comedian” page that’s only going to be liked by other comedians and my first & third cousins. My second cousins hate me for so many reasons.

So I wrote 448 words about what annoys me about stand up’s on Social Media (Mostly Facebook, as I don’t get twitter and Instagram scares me.)

Profile Picture.

You’re probably using Facebook to contact most promoters. If no one knows who you are, your profile picture will be their first introduction to you.

Ideally, it should be one of you standing on stage with a microphone at a comedy club. Avoid making a dog, baby or a screen shot of your favorite sci-fi character.

It’s unlikely most promoters would want to book Yoda to do 5 minutes in their club.
Also, Yoda won’t be any good at the pull and reveal jokes “On the bus naked, I was.”

One of those page pricks.

I recently cleared my Likes/Friends list on Facebook. This wasn’t some moment of me becoming a different person and leaving my past behind. I was terminally bored and already deleted all my e-mails, emptied my recycle bin and organized my porn into secret folders.

The thing I came across the most (I’m not talking about my secret folders) was all the dead comedian pages. I don’t mean a bunch of stand-ups who have died (even though most of them did when there were on stage…am I right…high five me…you better have high fived me.)

I mean the people who have stopped doing stand up and their page is still there like some sort of headstone to their shitty six months run at comedy.

So if you’re going to do it do it right. Even the pages that are still going by comedians who are still active might as well be dead. Having a list of your upcoming gigs from six months ago really shows how much effort you’re putting into it.

You should be updating it with clips, jokes anything you can think of.
Hell, pay the 2 euro a week to Facebook to get it out there to more people.

The thing that blows my rage meter.

I’ve seen this over and over again. Someone starts doing comedy and they update their facebook job profile to “Works at comedy”.  You’re doing unpaid open spots. If comedy is your job you’re going to starve and be homeless in a week.

The thinking is “If I say I’m working at comedy people will take me more seriously.”
But you look like a knob and not a nice one. One those crusty, hairy cocks that no one could love. Sorry if you have one of those.

That’s all for now. Contact me on Twitter on @SlumberingJ. I be back soon I promise.

Getting Started Part 2

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I finally got to a part 2.  Yeah. Just some thoughts for people trying to or just starting to do stand-up comedy. They may be a part 3 if this one makes a 100 million at the box office.

The easiest way to get gigs is to go to gigs.

Showing up meeting the promoter, hanging around getting to know the other stand-ups. The conveyor belt of comedy being what it is, there always be a bunch of new people starting around the same time as you do. You’ll stick together with these people because you’ll see each other all the time at the shitty gigs for new people (You’ll see me there too.) Having a group makes it easier especially if you shy (like me).

Introduce yourself.

Not just to the promoter, or other comedies. I mean the audience. I see new acts do this all the time. They come on stage and think that everyone knows them.
What your name, where you’re from, how big is your cock/clit? maybe not the last one.
You may know who you are but the crowd doesn’t. I have seen people tear into stuff that might work if the crowd knew a bit more about the person. Imagine watching a sitcom where all the gags are based just knowing the history of the characters. (Pretty much every sitcom after season 3.)

Repeat, Repeat and Repeat.

I hear this all time from newer acts. About doing “new” sets all the time. After doing their material for a month or something.  Unless you’re doing improv it’s completely ok to do the same material. Once it working of course. Comedy is a craft. It’s about doing it over and over again. Figuring out what is funny, how to say it, pauses etc. Focus on building a solid five minute then seven minutes and so on.

Set Goals.

Your main goal is to get better of course but set little ones along the way to motivate yourself. Some of the mine when I started out:
To do 100 gigs in my first year. I knew the only way to get better was by doing gigs so I set myself the target of a 100. I made it to 83 in my first year.
To gig in another country. I did this fairly early on by doing one in Northern Ireland. Yeah I know it’s kinda cheating since it’s only up the road but it is another country you Fenian bastard.

Here a list of places you can go when starting off:

Battle of the Axe.  The ha’penny bridge inn, 42 wellington quay temple bar.
Tuesday & Thursday from 9.30 pm. Contact: battleoftheaxe@hotmail.com 
There is a least a 3-month waiting list to get on. Mention your new and can bring a crowd of people it might help speed it up.

Cherry Comedy. Whelan’s Bar, Dublin. Monday nights from 9.00 pm.
Contact: via the Facebook page. The lads are pretty sound about getting new people on but of course, there is a waiting list.

Jesters. The Front Door, 15 Dame Street. Wednesday night from 8.00 pm.
Contact: via the Facebook page or sign up on the night. Jester is a bit different. You can sign up in advance or on the night (Space is limited do) and you have to stay for the whole show. Everyone gets 5 minutes but the audience is mostly made up of other stand-ups.

There are a few more places. Contact me on Twitter on @SlumberingJ if you want to know them.

Catch me at The Battle of the Axe. March 9 as I MC the show.