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.

 

 

Beckett List

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Rob Beckett: Mouth of the South.
The Olympia Theatre.
Sunday, February 5th.

I’m sure you have seen Rob Beckett on various T.V. shows. “8 out of 10 cats”, “Mock the Week” & “Prisoner Cell Block H”.  His funny enough on these shows and I thought might as well go see him. If for nothing else I can write a blog about it. (This blog is now costing me money, thanks.)

I went to the box office an hour before the show to pick up my pre-booked tickets. As I was getting them, in walked Rob Beckett. He was asking the box office staff how to get into the venue and ask me was I buying tickets to his show.

I said, “there are loads left, selling them at half price.” We both laughed and he offered me V.I.P tickets to show. I also hung out with him after the show and he brought me on as his support act for the rest of the tour. We also fell in love and bought our first dog together and called him whopper (In-joke between us).

Well, that might happen if I had said anything. I stood there like a dweeb star struck over someone who’s not famous enough to be on “I’m a celebrity get me out of here.” God know what would happen if I ever meet Will Smith. I probably combust.

The show was in the Olympia theatre. For as long as I can remember every time you buy a ticket you get charged an extra one euro to go to the restoration fund for the Olympia.
I have been going here years and the place still looks exactly the same. I assume this one euro extra fee is going to the mangers whores account.

Olympia

Thanks to the 1 euro donation per ticket we manage to paint the wall in the corner. Also, I a bought a new BMW.

The support act was Karl Spain. An Irish comedian who’s been on the go for years. I have been lucky enough to see and support Karl over the years. He started by doing a bit of crowd work. It didn’t really seem to go that well.  Karl finished with a story. Sadly it’s story he told on T.V. a few times over the years (The one about being a kid in the bathtub and his sister’s friends pulling his mickey). He finished with a whimper but onto the headline act.

Rob comes out and straight away a whole row of people stood up and walked out. (they were going to the toilet but come on, could that not be done during Karl?.) Rob went straight into crowd work. I’m not sure if it was the venue or the crowd. But chatting to the audience was not working tonight and Rob did a lot of it. When he got to this material there so much chatting and moving from the audience the gig was more like a Laughter Lounge show.

For Those that don’t know. The Laughter Lounge is the like the Irish version of the Jongleurs comedy club. If you don’t know either of them is basically a rowdy comedy night in a big room that’s let Stag/Hen parties in. Filled with non-comedy fans just looking for a night out.

Which not what you want after you pay thirty euro to watch a show. Things got worse in the second half. A drunk loud dickhead who was near us just shouted out “Dentist” at Rob. Because Rob has big teeth this person thought it would be funny to say Dentist to Rob and nothing else.  I think this show’s the level of intelligence this person has.

I can blame some of the shortcomings of the gig on the lack of atmosphere and audience behaviour but some of it rest on Mr Beckett shoulders also. There was too much crowd interaction that went nowhere and his material was good but not great.

All in all a three out of five-star show.

If you disagree or were that dickhead who shouted “Dentist” please contact me
@SlumberingJ on twitter.

Catch me live when I MC the Battle of the Axe on March 9. The ha’penny bar, Dublin from 9 pm.

Getting Started. Part 1.

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It’s been six years ago this Month that I started to do stand-up comedy. When I started I knew nothing about the comedy scene. I didn’t know about clubs, or how long “sets” where.  It was only thanks to doing a comedy workshop that I manage to do my first gig.

I googled the internet for any advice, especially on the Irish comedy scene. I only came across two pieces that dealt with the Irish circuit.

The first one being Gerry McBride blog, No Punchline.

He hasn’t updated it in years. But when I started it was still pretty new. I read the blog over and over again and when I finally got to meet Gerry (Who’s very nice) it felt like I knew him and had a million things I wanted to ask him but was too shy to say anything. I probably came across like a big loser freak. To be fair I come across like that to most people do.

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The main point I took from it was how much driving I had ahead of me. I wish I bought a sat nav there and then. It might help me that time I was driving back from the north and went around the same section three times trying to find the way back home. Taking my journey time from three hours to back spasming inducing five hour trip.

You can also see what an influence it’s is on this blog. Here is the link:
https://nopunchline.wordpress.com/

The other being Boards.ie stand up section.

It’s mostly crap and not much happens on it. It’s only good if you worship whichever American stand up is coming over this month and if you want a free ticket to the Lounge Lounge every now and again.

But there is one helpfully post by Robbie Bonham.  His rules for doing stand up. Written six years ago but still true today.
Here is the link:
http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2055381768

Part 2 of this will be me sticking down my do’s & don’t.
I don’t want anyone thinking that I’m great. So here is a story about the time I was a big idiot.

Back when I started off doing comedy. I rarely got to spend much time in Dublin. I would finish my then job at five 0’clock.
Go home eat/shower/cry and then drive the hour and a half to the gig.
Rock/Die at the gig (Most times it’s somewhere in the middle) and then go home to be up early for work next day.

One time I had gig during a day off. I decided to enjoy it. I left for Dublin early. Was going to eat out, look around, go to one of those facny Dublin Cinemas. (They put melted butter on the popcorn). I even parked my car in a car park. (I been known to park  twenty-thirty minutes walk from the gig to save on parking costs.)

I was hungry after my drive up. Went straight to Pizza hut to get the buffet and looked into my wallet to realise I left my bank card at home. I had only enough money on me to pay for the food and the parking charges. I left straight away and drove the hour and a half back to Offaly. I got to the toll. I had no money left. I had to explain it all to the toll booth attendant who seemed annoyed that I was taking him away from fiddling on his phone.
I had to give him  my details and say I pay the amount later on.

I got back to Offaly, got my card and then straight into the now two and a half hour drive back to Dublin (traffic). After all that the gig was pulled due to no crowd.
Advice: Always make sure you have money with you (Sound like an Irish Mammy now…Don’t forget to keep your phone charged as well.) On the plus side, I never paid that toll. That’s 3 euro for me and 3, 756 euros to them.

As you can see by my other blog posts I have started many parts 1’s and never gotten around to Part 2 (It’s February, I think we can say part 2 of my 2016 round up not ging to happen.)

Part 2 will come, If I don’t do it, you can call me out on Twitter @SlumberingJ

March 9th I will be MC’ing the legendary Battle of the Axe, in The Happeney Bridge, Dublin City Centre. Please come. I get a cut of the door and I like to eat food that week.

Die Hardy

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Comedy competitions. I entered many and never won one. At least I’m consistent.

You may ask why do I keep entering them?  I see winning a competition as validation of all
the work I’ve done these past six years and as a way to help me move forward in comedy. As I’m currently stuck in a corner like that guy at the end of the Blair With Project.

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On the 12th of January, I walked into the Harbour bar in Bray, Co. Wicklow. It’s home to a monthly comedy club called “The Hardy Har”.

The previous January, at The Hardy Har, I entered the same competition. I lost that one. Here I was a year later in the same club, doing the same competition. That’s what you call progression.

I finished work at 9 and was heading straight over to the gig. I informed the promoter (who was also the MC) that I won’t be there till ten o’clock. There was some sort of mix-up do. I was put on first and apparently, there was a panic when the show started and I was not there. A very funny new comic called Richard Bree went on first instead. I arrived at 9.40. So despite showing up 20 minutes early, I was still somehow “late”.

I was a little annoyed by this. It may sound silly but even do I’m an amateur comedian (The word amateur doesn’t go down well with some people.  It seems the only time people like the word amateur is when it’s in porn.) I like to be professional.

I always strive to show up on time & not to cancel gigs unless I have too. Once I drove with a really bad flu to a gig. Having to pull over the side of the road to throw up. Only to get to the gig for only six people to be there. Who all probably got the flu off me. Great night for everyone that was.

I was now on last. There was ten acts in total and a guest headliner. Being on last could be good or bad.

Good: Since one act got through by crowd vote being on last meant you had a better chance of being remembered.

Bad: being on last means the crowd might be burnt out and you get a lukewarm reaction.

The number ninth act was my good friend Johnny Graham. Johnny is from Co. Offaly (Where I’m from) but he moved to Galway years ago. (The sell out).

Johnny did great as always, his high energy, off the cuff style, went down a treat. Me being the more low key I knew I would have to give the crowd a chance to get into my style. Which is tough as I only had five minutes.

As I was walking up to the stage the MC had asked a girl to stand up and go crazy to inject some energy into the crowd as I came on stage. For this lady standing up was a problem and she fell over and being at the side of the crowd she fell right into me as I was walking up. I helped her back to her seat but the crowd was laughing and distracted by this. I spent 30 seconds talking to the girl and trying to get the focus back on the show.

I started with some material that I was going to finish with as it kinda tied into my interaction with the girl. I finished right on the 5-minute mark.

Coming off I had done well but I knew I didn’t do well enough. I didn’t get judge, crowd or wildcard vote.

I keep thinking back if had been a normal gig. The girl falling over would have been a gift and I would easily take the piss out of her for a few minutes. But with it being a competition and only having five minutes I decided to stick to my set. Who knows if messing around with the girl would have gotten me the win. Probably not. But this is the stuff that goes around in head when you can’t sleep that night and know you got a twelve-hour shift in work the next day to look forward too.

You can see me headline “Dropout Comedy” in Dundalk. On February 15.
https://www.facebook.com/DropoutComedy/?fref=ts

Catch Johnny Graham & Bob Hennigan host “Ireland’s Smallest Comedy Club” every Thursday night in Co. Galway at the Dew Drop Inn.
https://www.facebook.com/Irelandssmallestcomedyclub/?fref=ts

Check out Hardy Har Comedy Club at the Harbour Bar in Bray, Co. Wicklow at the end of every month.
https://www.facebook.com/HardyHarComedyClub/?fref=ts

Also, check out the link for Bray Comedy Festival at the end of February:
http://www.braycomedyfest.ie/index.html