Season-Finale

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Just over two years ago I started this blog. My goal was to get one blog post a month to discuss whatever I wanted loosely related to the comedy world. The feedback and response I got were more then I expected.

But the past few months my enthusiasm for comedy has gone down and struggled to come up with posts. So I am going to put the blog on hiatus for now.  Going take the time to focus on getting my show ready for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

So here are so random bits I could never fit in one post. It’s like that episode of Black Mirror, “Black Museum”.

Just Drop The Mic.

A few years ago I was on the bill for a new comedy night. (I always try my best to get on the first show of any new comedy night. Because most don’t get past the first one.)

A fresh-faced act, called Keith, was on stage talking about the time he was head-butted. When he got to the point of the story where the head-butt happens, acting it out, Keith rammed his head full force into the microphone The crowd winced at this, it was the only reaction he got for his entire set.

Keith left a massive dent in the Microphone. I was talking to him later on and he mentions that he never booked for the same club twice.

I asked did he do the headbutt bit all time, he said yes. I said it might be due to damaging an expensive piece of equipment that might put people off booking you again.

He declined that as the reason and said it was down to “The Politics and Cliques” of comedy.  Keith had only been on the go for five months, it normally takes a least a few years for that level of cynicism.

The promoter of the year.

A wired guy called Kev set up a new night and in keeping what I said, I always try to get on the first one. Sadly this one was a bust and had to be pulled.

I was speaking to Kev after it. It’s hard putting on an event and having no one show up. It’s happened to me before. It’s like putting on a birthday party for yourself and no one shows up. That’s also happened to me.

Kev talked about having 1,000 flyers printed up for the gig. I told him not to worry about it and at least you made an effort. He then said, “What I am going to do with 1,000 flyers?”

I was confused. He then told me all the flyers for tonight show were still in his car, as he couldn’t be bothered to hand them out. I don’t know maybe he hoped someone would rob his car and just hand out the flyers as an act of kindness.

He then went about he didn’t do anything to promote it at all. He had this smug smile on his face like he was almost bragging it.

My anger got the best of me and looked him dead in the eye and said “It’s one thing to try and fail. But you wasted mine and all the other acts time and money tonight, just so you could get likes on Facebook and try to get yourself gigs off other people. You should be ashamed. You and all of the other time-wasters should be locked in a room in Connemara and be forced to listen to all you crap dead baby and Madeleine Mccann jokes for the rest of your shitty days.” Then I smacked him right in the jaw.

Of course, I didn’t say that. I mumbled something to myself and quietly left.

Hey, guys check my Twitter,@SlumberingJ For upcoming gigs.

From August 2-11 I be running an Irish Theme completion show as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Finnegans Wake bar from 8.45 pm.  Please check it out.

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The Year in Review.

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2017 The Lows:

The wave of sexual abuse stories that have come out about the comedy scene both in Ireland and abroad.

Louie CK allegations have been around for a while and he always denied them.
Only after a major newspaper publishes the story, he admits it and does the whole “I’m sorry, I’m going to rehab” stuff.  It’s about as sincere as a prostitute kiss.
I’m sure he’s plotting his comeback tour and writing a set about all of this.

In the past couple of weeks, Nemours stories have come about sexual assaults on the Irish comedy scene.  I totally understand the accusers keeping the names to themselves.
But I would like to know who they are to make sure not to work with scumbags like them.

Al Porter (Arguably the biggest name in Irish comedy and once poised to hit megastardom)  behavior had already cost him his connections in England. But being a bigger star here in Ireland he was able to get away with it for a bit longer. Finally, the truth came out (Thanks to some brave people going public) and now he is facing the consequences of his actions.

2017 The Highs:

Hitting the target of one blog post a month. Sometimes even two posts a month.

Seeing my partner in Bingo and Life getting to play two major comedy festival this year and move into headline slots. All because of her hard work and talent.

The nice feedback for the blog from the likes of Colm O’Regan, Seamus Stackpoole & Alan McElroy to name a few.

Thanks to all you have read and commented. Especially whoever suggested a better name for this blog would be: “Bitterness and spelling mistakes”.

Upcoming Gigs:

January 22: The Stand Comedy Club. Edinburgh, Scotland.

January 29: The Stand Comedy Club. Edinburgh, Scotland

February 05: Laughing Horse Competition. Savoury Tap, London.

February 28: Angle Comedy. Bill Murray Pub. London.

March 02: Sunflower Pub. Belfast.

 

Failure to Launch

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In my last post, I wrote about my new comedy night ‘Progress Comedy’ Sadly, despite a lot of hard work and my best efforts, the night was a failure. Only two people showed up. But it’s not my first failure so I put a few of them together in a pile of my greatest comedy mistakes. A shit list if you will.

Halloween Howler 

Halloween 2011. I was still new to comedy and managed to get an open spot in one of the more decent comedy clubs in Dublin. I thought it would be funny to go on stage in my costume. It was a Texas Chainsaw Massacre Outfit complete with Leather Face Mask and mini chainsaw.

I arrived at the club with the costume underneath my Jacket and the Mask in my bag. I didn’t tell anyone what I was going to do.

As the MC who was also the promoter was calling me on stage, I slipped my jacket off and put on the Mask. The crowd didn’t know what was going on at first. I played like I thought it was a fancy dress gig and the only who showed up in costume. Of course, when I took the Mask off, I got the obligatory “Should left it on mate” comment from someone in the crowd. All in all, it went well.

But the look I got from the Promoter/MC told a different story. I don’t play that club often and when I do, I’m still on the open spot. I learned early on in comedy some people don’t have a sense of humor.

Flopcast 

A few years ago I was living with my then best friend and fellow comedian, let’s call him Mr. Exit (as he was always disappearing.)

He was keen to do a topical comedy news podcast. But due to Mr. Exit shyness of work, it would take him three to six months to edit and put the thing out. Making it more of a historical piece rather than a comment on current affairs.

I was bitten by the podcast bug and wanted to do more. I contacted Joe.ie. An Irish version of Lad-Bible or Qoran-Bloke for our Muslim friends. I pitched them the idea of a funny look at news style podcast. To my shock, I got a reply and women called Mary said: “She liked the idea and wanted to hear a pilot show.”

Mr. Exit and I sat down to record the show. Beforehand I said we should try act more professional and cut down on the swearing.

Within four minutes Mr. Exit said the C-word four times and then said he would shag the hair off of Mary’s hole if she picked up the show. For some strange reason, Mary decided to not go ahead with it. I wonder why?

Hometown Hero

In one of my many attempts to get comedy night going, I ran one back in Co. Offaly in my brother’s bar back in 2015. Thankfully a lot of Friends & Family came to this show. As I said in my last post I was often let down by lying sack of shits who said they would come to a show and never turn up.

The first half consisted of the very funny Ger Staunton and myself. When the MC opened the Second half he did one of his usual tricks.

He said to the crowd “Did you enjoy the first half?”
The crowd “Yeah”

“Did you like John?”
The crowd “Yeah”

“Did you Like Ger?”
The crowd “Yeah”

He would then normally go, “Which one did you like more?” Confusing the crowd by asking a question that wasn’t yeah or no and cutting them off without any time to think of an answer. I never said it was a good trick but he liked doing it.

“Which one did you like more?”
Straight away the crowd cries “Ger”.

Including my Girlfriend. I mean I’m used to hearing her shout out comedians names passionately but just never outside the bedroom.

Upcoming Gigs:

Saturday, November 11. The Stock Exchange, 34 Shop Street, Co. Galway.
Show 7.30 pm.

Sunday, November 12. International Bar, Wicklow Street, Co. Dublin. Show 9.00 pm.

Tuesday, November 14.  Roisin Dubh, Dominick Street, Co. Galway. Show 9.00pm.

Friday, November 24. International Bar, Wicklow Street, Co. Dublin. Show 9.00pm.

Monday, November 27. Wool-Shed Bar & Grill. Parnell Street, Co. Dublin.
Show 9.00pm.

Here a recent clip of me doing the standing and talking:

 

 

This Is Progress.

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On October 12 in The MVP Dublin 8, I’m running a new comedy night. It’s been almost three years since I last attempted to run a comedy night. Here are a couple of reasons why I stopped doing them:

1. Lying sacks of shit.

When I started comedy I was a lot more naive and trusting. I also didn’t tell anyone I was doing it. Word got out over time. Friends and Family would tell me they would love to see me perform in person.  A couple of local lads and myself put on a show in town. Loads of people showed up but also loads didn’t.

When I saw them again there were lame excuses for why they didn’t go (My dog was sick, It was raining, my mom died etc.) and then they said they would go to the next one. Trusting them I put on another show and they still didn’t come. When I saw them again they made more excuses and promises of coming to the next show. I told them to shove it and that the next show would be in my ass. Probably why my Granny doesn’t talk to me anymore.

 

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This is from our Second Tullamore show in 2011. Gerry McBride and I are the only ones still doing stand up.

2. Lying sacks of shit.

After Tullamore fizzled out, I targeted Mullingar next. Famous for is the statute of minorly successful local singer Joe Dolan.

I sent an e-mail the event manager of one of the local bars. He responded straight away to set up a meeting. The meeting went great. We chatted for over an hour about our ideas and goals for the night. He asks me to book the first three months of acts in advance, so he could take out ads in the paper and get posters up to establish the comedy night as a regular thing. The bar would handle all promotional costs and I won’t be charged for the room or any costs like microphones, sound guy etc. I would keep the ticket money to pay the acts.

I went home and booked the acts for February, March, and April. I sent information & pictures on all the acts to the Event manager, let’s call him Steve and he took over from there.

A couple of weeks before the show I yet to see any promotion done, not even a mention on the pub’s social media. I was in contact with Steve and he said it would be sorted soon and that he didn’t have access to their social media. This should have been a warning to me. How the hell does the event manager not have access to the social media account? But I didn’t take notice at the time and trusted him.

The next day I got a call from Steve saying that I was now going to be charged for using the room, the equipment, and a sound engineer. It was going to cost me 500 euro and 10 percent of my ticket sales. Even Naive Johnny could tell something was wrong here. I ask him to e-mail an invoice for the costs straight away. I planned on printing e-mail off and bringing it to the owner of the bar.

Next day I get an e-mail from Steve saying he had stepped down as the event manager.
I went to the owner of the bar, a very nice old man, let’s call him Jack. He had let Steve take over booking and running events as he no interest in doing them anymore. But Steve had no real control over money or promotional matters. It seems Steve was trying to get money off acts and hope Jack won’t find out but it appeared someone else had brought it to Jack’s attention and Steve ran off before anything could be done about it.

I was left with two weeks before the first show, no promotion done and Jack won’t offer any financial support. I was crushed. But I had a show to put on and in a couple of days got the posters done and put them up around town myself. I Contacted the local radio and newspaper’s to get some free plugs. Doing what I could on Social media to get the word out.

In the end, we got a good crowd in for the first show. The second was a failure and the third was a nice send-off for the night.

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Our second Mullingar show. Neil now writes plays. FJ works with Men’s mental health groups. Donal is on the verge of becoming a comedy superstar. Gary is the king of Edinburgh every year.

It wasn’t all bad. From the Tullamore shows it was great that my Mother came out to watch me. This is a woman who the only way to get her out of the house is probably by setting the house on fire. My Nephew even got on a stage and told a joke. Yes he was funnier then me.

From the Mullingar shows Alison Spittle mother having a go at one of the comideans for asking her a question. Paying Al Porter 5 euro for doing the show. Which he was very gratefull for at the time. I might have to put a few zero’s on the fiver if I was going to book him now.

One more time I’m putting on a show. MVP Bar Dublin 8. Doors open at 9 and the show is at 9.30 pm. October 12.

We have the wonderful Richie Bree fresh off winning the Laughter Lounge new act competition. Plus Pauline Shannon & Ashlee Bentley both regulars at the comedy festival circuit and hot newcomer Terry Norman.  I will be your MC because I’m willing to work for free.

Comp-Land

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I talked before about some of the competitions I have done over the years and with The Irish Comedian of the year kicking off again this September. I bitterly look back at some of the more doggier ones I was around for.

Just give us the fucking money:

A few years ago a comedian who got some T.V. expose, decided to use the bit of a buzz he had to open his own club.

He did the common thing of blowing his money on a well-known headliner for the first night and having nothing for the next week with the headliner being your Ma.

After 5 or 6 weeks the club decided to hold a competition out of nowhere.  It was a clear sign that the club was struggling.

It was a one night only comp where all 12 acts had to pay 10 euro to enter. With the winner getting 50 euro. I’m sure you can do the math. The club would keep 70 euro and hopefully get a full room. The club ended soon after that and the comedian had shaken down his compadres for a measly 70 euro.

I didn’t fall for that scam but I did for another. I entered a comp with a 5 euro “administration fee”. I was new to comedy at the time and thought this was a genuine thing.

It was done over four nights with 10 acts each night, making a nice 400 for the promoter and the winner got to play an unpaid slot at one of those crap “where not Electic picnic, but god do we want to be ” festivals in a field in some place like Dundalk.

A Face for Podcast.

A while back I went to London to do the Amused Moose New Act Competition.

My heat was on in the middle of the day. Which worked out great for me. As I flew in that morning and left that night avoiding hotel costs, having to take two days off work and acid attacks which are common in London.

The room was made up of thirty other acts. We all had 90 seconds each. It was an interesting experiment to cut your set down to that short of a time. I normally only do 90 seconds in the bedroom. (Boom Boom).

The person running the show was Hils Jago. Whos a bit like a cross between a mad person and an insane person. She discovered Jimmy Carr. If you didn’t know this she only said it fifty times as she was giving us the run down of the rules. It’s like a singer who a had one hit song who keeps mentioning it every ten seconds.

It was during this she told what she was looking for. The person who could be the next face of Channel Four. It was at this stage I realized my error. I mean those this look like the Face of Channel Four:

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Upcoming Gigs:

September 5th. (MC)Camden Comedy, Anseo, 18 Camden Street Lower, Dublin. 
Start time 8.30 pm.

September 7th. (MC) Battle of the Axe, Templer Bar Dublin.
Start time 9.00 pm.

September 22nd. Gluten Free Comedy as part of Culture Night Belfast, Kelly’s Cellars, Bank Street, Belfast. Start time 8.00 pm.

September 23rd. Chex Le Fab Kids Comedy Show, Arthurs Quay, Limerick
Start time 2.00 pm.

September 23rd. Chex Le Fab Comedy Festival, Arthurs Quay, Limerick.
Start time 8.00 pm.

October 13th. (MC) Laugh out Louth Festival, McPhails Bar, Laurence Street, Drogheda.
Start time 8.00 pm.

 

MC Hammered

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This is how I like to MC. I’m not saying your wrong if you do it a different way, It’s just my style. So don’t jump me in the comments or in real life on how you prefer to do only new stuff when you MC a gig. (This has been said to me by two different stand-up’s, how they use MC’ing to do new stuff. They don’t MC that much anymore.)

1. Starting Places.

Make sure all the acts know when they’re on and how long they got. Especially if you’re dealing with newer people. Stress how important it is not to go over their time. Let them know you’re going to Flash when they got two minutes left. Also, more experienced acts might try to take the piss, don’t be afraid to threaten their life and the ones they love if they go over there time. Remember we have no union or human resources department in comedy.

2. Hot Start.

Try to start on time. I have seen the audience grow annoyed because the MC is waiting “another” five minutes in the hope of bus load of people might come in. You just end up pissing off the people who were there on time. If it’s a small crowd just go for it. Don’t keep bringing up how small they are or how awful this gig going to be due to how few of them they are. (Yes this has happened to me. I was on first and the MC was clearly annoyed that the gig went ahead with a small crowd and just blamed them for it. Can you guess how the gig went?)

3. The Heavy lifting.

I feel your job is to get all the boring stuff out of the way. Starting with how the format going to work (It could be someone first time to a comedy club), the house rules (No talking, being on your phone, trying to contact the dead) and do crowd work (where is everyone from/what do you work at etc).
I only like to do 7-10 minutes off the top. Not chatting to everyone but a few just to get the ball rolling. I have been there as an audience member where the MC takes 20 minutes going through everyone asking the same questions. I feel it drains a crowd. Don’t forget your on all night, you can get talk to people later on.

4. That awkward bit.

I always find after the first act the crowd takes a mini break. Some run to the loo or to grab a drink. It’s up to you to kill that five minutes till everyone settles back in. This can happen at any stage of the night so be ready for it. You don’t want to bring an act on to a room that’s in flux. Wait till there back and focused on you. It can be hard going up after a really bad comedian (Usually a young man talking about wanking & abortion. I have no idea why but this always seems to be the case.) But try to get the room fired up. I like to piggy back off what a comedian has talked about in their set, to give the night a more conventional flavor.

5. Bits and Bob’s.

Anything you can do to break the ice is a good idea. Taking a group photo (People love getting their picture taken unless they’re a vampire or Dorian Gray). Don’t forget to thank the bar staff, the acts and most importantly the audience at the end of the night.

I also hope you never have to do a raffle. I had to do one once. It dragged the whole night down. This lad called Barry won the main prize. A signed copy of “The Commitments” by Roddy Doyle. He then told us he couldn’t’ read. We then gave him the second prize “The Lord of the Rings/Hobbit” Boxset. He then said he didn’t have a DVD player. I said you’re taking the third prize no matter what.  It was a fifty euro gift voucher for the local hairdresser. Of course, Barry had to be bald.

The cover picture is of me being drunk and trying to be sexy. I was successful at neither.

Come see me at:

The WoolShed, Parnell Street, Dublin. August 14th from 9.00pm.

The Bowery, Rathmines Rd, Dublin. August 21st from 9.00pm.

The Battle of the Axe, Temple Bar, Dublin. September 7th. 9.30pm.  Where I will be MC’ing. So you can sit at the back with your arms folded and judge my MC’ing for yourself. Please don’t do this as it will lead to a bad atmosphere.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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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.