Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Embargo Can be Lifted....

hahhahahh hheeee etc...

We're ready for our close up Mr. Welles.....

Like there ever was an embargo, I just want to feel like I'm a media network or some shit. Anyway, stop the presses! we're taking our stand up show to Edinburgh. Tom Moran, Jon Brittain, John Kearns and Myself will be performing our show, "Don't Rub Your Funny on Me" at the Standing Order (It's a Wetherspoons) in Edinburgh as part of Free at the Fringe. We're on every night 9-10 from July 31-August 31 with more slots besides, we all can't wait. It' won't make us famous or anything but it'll be seriously fun, so if you happen to be in Edinburgh you can hear our comedy rants for free and at a reasonably priced Wetherspoons!! So if you you want to see us in Edinburgh come up, and it'll be in a room in a Wetherspoons for free with cheap booze and expensive gags, well some of 'em are cheap.

names wise I typed up some ideas, some good, some not so...

Straight outta Norwich
Live from the means streets of Norwich
Alright boi
John, Jon, Tom and Lorc
Don’t Rub Your Funny on Me
The First Kings of Norwich
Laff Nelsons
Pun’s Labyrinth
Norwich Parcan (John Kearns's came up with this, I had to look up parcan, it was a clever pisstake of Cambridge Footlights)
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (I liked the idea of it just being the name of a crap movie rather than a pun on a movie, also a kinda injoke with me and Tom on his 'love' of Doug Jones)
Funtastic Four: Rise of the Morning Duvet (Tom's)
Is that supposed to be funny
Funny, Peculiar.
Desperately Seeking the Ride
Foursomes and Moresomes
Inbred Space
The Pun Ultimatum
No Country for Old Jokes
Flyer Idea either, a photoshop job or us in cowboy hats and sheriff’s outfits with the requisite hairstyles (I left this in my list of titles it was deamed quite unweildly for a flyer title)
Their Will Be Jokes
East Anglian Promises

But the whole doing film puns on films that are out now but might not be current this July might've been a problem. Just after a great night at Laugh out Loud, at the Rose, it's the first place I ever did stand up and always the best, the audience is really friendly and you get to try new things, and then you find out what's good, whereas the more the frightening places you feel like just going for the tired and tested stuff. Today I read my favorite bits from Brenda Love's Encyclopdia of Bizarre Sex Practices here's her blog I'd recommend to anyone just for the great illustrations.

Such tales from the Norfolk tour, in Swaffham there was about eight people in the audience and they dwindled to four when there was a fight outside the pub, there was some idiot sitting on s tool shouting shit the whole show, in the interval he was telling racist jokes. For the second half me and Jon came out to join audience and he just goes "I hope that fucking Irish cunt isn't coming back out", must but that up on the blog as a review. I was round the corner going 'yeah that irish bollix, coming over here and stealing our broadband! that fucking Irish cunt', really loudly in cunting Irish accent, ah well, he's still in Swaffham and I'm in Norwich stealing his broadband (I would say stealing his women but we only saw about three all the time we were in Swaffham)

Friday, February 22, 2008

You'll Believe a Man can Cry....over wee lego snodules...

Ah this is a tough post to write, this time last week I wrote the most heart-felt post ever for Bob Byrne's of Clamnuts Mister Amperduke and then tried to embed his great trailer for the book and it deleted the whole post at about 4am! so it took a while to get back to it.

Anyway, we'll begin again as us Amperduke-like guys have to...

One the highlights of going home and doing the stand up was meeting Bob again and him giving me a copy of his long awaited graphic novel, Mister Amperduke. As he had said, don't flick through it, you spoil it, and he wasn't wrong I read it about 5-6 six times within the first few days of having it. Part of the back blurb 'Mr. Amperduke offers a new mode of visual storytelling' might seem pretentious but it's true, you read it once, quickly, to get the story but you immediately want to read it again to get the nuances. It is truly a novel in that you understand each main character's points of view and see their development. There's a great story in Tequila No.1 where I really got Bob's comics on a more emotional level, he has a tale of being stranded after a nightclub not being able to get home, it's called 'Say a Prayer for Me' and there's a bit where he makes a makeshift bed in a roll of insulated pipe in a bin and sleeps for a bit before a cabby picks him up and doesn't charge and just says 'say a prayer for me instead' the first time I read it and saw an image of him asleep in a bin with a teddy, I thought 'how did he get that teddy', but when I read it again I realised that the teddy was made from some of the insulation from inside the bin, it's that sort attention to detail that really rewards the reader in Amperduke.

As regular readers of this blog will attest, I have been singing yon Bob's praises since I've met him. There's a certain relationship that you immediately have with a fellow Irish comic book geek, you have the same shorthand, you've been to the same shops, you only need to say something like 'you remember yer wan who worked in Forbidden Planet', and memories of teenage lust and loneliness that are evoked (honestly if that redheaired girl with glasses who worked in Forbidden Planet only know how she was fuelling the lust fantasies of the whole country's comic book geeks, but I digress) .

But there's genuine feeling here, I first finally met yon Bob at the Birmingham International Comics Show and to be honest the highlight for me wasn't getting to see Mike Mignola or some shit but sitting outside the place having a fag with Bob where he layed down some personal shit that I couldn't imagine but a while later, and the shit that's happened to me, I totally understand and the connection between personal and creative work becomes more clear to me when I get older. It might sound wanky or whatever but but I think about my dad every time I go on stage, thinking, feck, he'd like this joke, he'd get it, no one else he or I know might get it, but he'd get the humour. Such a sense of loss is all over Amperduke, his back story what the rest of the world doesn't understand but he does and us, as readers do,

A certain amount of trepidation did fill me bones when I got my copy, maybe it wouldn't be that good? Even if it wasn't good, I'm sure I would have written some sort of review, but seriously, Mr. Amperduke will blow you away, I was amazingly surprised at how good it was. I was just proud to know someone who created someone like this. Hence the reason for trying to write a long and proper academiwank review of the whole thing.

I suppose the best place to start is from Bob's heart-felt introduction:

The most rewarding part of making this book was how I only realised what this story meant to me when I was over three-quarters finished drawing it. Yep, it's about Lego men battling a monster, but the themes that just smacked me in the face wasn't the wrongs of Man playing God or Technology versus Mother Nature but how easy it is to overlook another's private misery. We are largely incapable of recognising or relating to another's apin, the hidden agony when somebody's world end; that the world has ended millions of times, it's ending right now as people all around you lose a loved one or see their dreams die, yet the larger world continues untouched or impaired'

It's hard to know where to start, but I think the whole crux of a lot of Bob's work is the dicotomy between what is supeficially a cutsie Richard Scarry type world of busy little creatures going about their business and the dark humanity that lurks underneath. In a nutshell, I suppose, Amperduke is set in a parallel dimension where, instead of train sets, kindly grandfather's create intricate worlds of living lego men, called snodules. As the first incarnation of Amperduke explained, although they look like lego men there is a wretched wee living creature living inside each of these lego men. Due to an unfortunate slight and misunderstanding Amperduke's grandson 'Scampi' throws a crazy unstoppable bug called a 'Nechradon' into this amazing world and it causes relentless horrific carnage that Amperduke cannot stop. In this world Scampi pits crazy insects against each other in a sort of horrific real life Pokemon brawl.

I suppose some of the roots of Amperduke are in thing's like Mbleh!'s Clamland, the Richard Scarry business the neglected child in the person of poor wee Herby, and it's probably not mistake that Herby and his horrible uncle appear in a window of a shop in the first Amperduke story, other Bryne motifs are there in Amperduke like a poor wee snodule wearing a Devo hat.

Shit, better do this properly academiwank style first up themes: Death is a big one here, I suppose, as it is a theme in normal life, just the meaningless deaths of the snodules and how horrific the relentless rampage of the Nechradon is. For the reader the death of any wee snoodle means something, as it should, but for the world at large within Amperduke's world it's just a stupid hobby and this stuff is meaningless. I think this book will speak to any geek, how to the world at large it's just a crappy juvenile hobby but to you, when you're into it feels like life or death. Maybe it's just me but loneliness is also a huge theme. The tragedy that get's caused here from smalls slights and miscommunications in everyday life that we think nothing of but might affect people so much, Mr. Amperduke's story in this respect is amazingly well told, the balance between our obsessions and family and other relationships and how they might jarr against each other. There is so much more themes-wise: Individual frailty, like wee snodules before they get their shiny happy exteriors fused on; the loss of the feeling of design and a kindly old bloke looking down on us and sorting everything out; how sucha simple gesture from him like some 'tic tics' or a smile changes the snoodle's whole day; how misunderstandings can be sorted out over time.

Style wise, and I'll really be seen to be blowing smoke up yon Bob's ass (as our American contemporaries say) but Amperduke does have elements of Maus (the tragic feeling that anthropomorphism can provide) and Watchmen, the use of small regulated panels that erupt in moments of climatic action. There I've said it, it's that good. It's comperable to Watchmen and Maus, you can fight me in the car park later if you disagree...

in conclusion, after you read Mr. Amperduke, never will phrase 'Sniff Sniff' feel you with such terror again

love and snoodles
and congrats again Bob


yeah, check out these coupla geniuses*

*or genii if you've been watching QI or some shit

Monday, February 18, 2008

fox news lady slip up

hahaha it's the war on terror....on fox news..

Hello Dereham...and good night...

So we started the Smoking Mic tour of Norfolk towns this week and it's been a quite an eye-opening experience already. We started on home turf in the York Tavern in Norwich, which was a great night but then we moved onto the darkside...Dereham, which will probably be our toughest gig. It was is the King's Head hotel, see pic above, which was a kinda Fawlty Towers/Duty Free sorta place, we walked in with families and kids and stuff and going oh jeez.

Part of the fun of this though is travelling in a car and talkin guff, myself and Jon Brittain can slip quite easily into long geek conversations, my end of such is mostly rants on Superman Returns, Spider-Man 3 and X-Men III, a trilogy of darkness that has cast a pall on every fanboys life. It's what I like about Jon's comedy too, we are similarly geeky and analytical about both comedy and comics, it should make sense, you craft joke and when faced by the mooks of Derehem it's tough but we can still do it, even if they aren't listening or don't care.

One of my funniest moments in retrospect (but not at the time, where I was shiteing myself) was when one of the organisers Richard came out after his set and went 'they don't like swearing, anything about religion or sexual content', and I'm looking down at my set thinking, I might as well go 'Hello Dereham...and good night....' but I think my stuff went ok, there was one table interested they had ordered food and all I could think of during my set was 'mmmm chips thye have CHIPS' they were into it. Not like the other side of the room a group of large local Norfolk munters, in the parlance of our times. Even when I was doing a joke about Google image search they were talking amongst themselves going 'Google? what's he talking about?' I know my stuff's geeky but, it's not the most obscure of references. Here's the 'joke':

'thank you, it's great to be here, I'm sort of a lonely comic book geek, so it's just nice for me to get out of my room, where I make many important decisions, like telling Google not to filter my image search results. If I type in 'ebony', I'm not looking to buy a coffee table...'

It was a good experience though, sticking with my routine and the one's who get it and are listening like it, and others don't that's ok, and what was I gonna do...go 'hey this place look's like the set of Duty Free!...hey where's Keith Barron?...' Apologising to one side of the room, going 'apologies in advance but here's more about me being a pervert' and the other side of the room are going 'bring it on...more filth', it's weird. What I've noticed as well is female audience members have no problem with frank sexual discussion it's the blokes that are squirming and can't handle it...must remeber that. Out having a cigarette afterwards with one of the couples from the good table, I mentioned worries of the porn content and she said said 'I didn't think there was sex or porn stuff at all, 'what's a BJ?'' and the bloke was there like 'that's all it was about'.

The other organiser Greg Powles set the tone really right, he works for North Norfolk radio and can really get the local knowledge and tone right with innuendo, but once I come on and discuss sexuality frankly (but not using swear words, I use 'feck' one and that's it). You realise that when you doing a joke like:

I'm really into diverse sexualities, but when you talk about sex changes, there's always some fat bloke going...'if I had a sex change I would stay in all day and wank play with my tits', and I'm like...'that's what you do anyway, you don't need a psychologically difficult and expensive operation for that...'

you are ocasionally talking to some fat bloke who says exactly that, in our case it was a large grumpy mook called 'Jeff', who sort of cult figure for the night because of his extreme fat grumpiness, and also becuase Jon has a joke about a friend called Jeff, whenever we had a break or whatever everyone would go 'hey we have wait for Jeff, he'd love this' . At the end we were all getting a clap (or two) and Jeff walks in and solemnly gives us all the finger and sits down, heres to you Jeff, come to Derehem and see his comedy some time!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

up to my old tom green late night skype calling tricks...

I'm at about 33 minutes in, bad sound but I'm going on about how DOA is one of the best films of all time!

to quote the Badbrute: 'Undercrackers'
to quote Holly Valance: 'do me up'


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Q: Who are Standup Comedians?

A: People who are smart and stay in their rooms and have found that they have the ability to endear themselves to people for short periods of time 10, 15, 20, minutes an hour, an hour and a half tops, maybe.

They slowly realize that a fulfilling life involves endearing yourself to people for periods that are longer, more like days, weeks, years, a life time, that sort of thing.

This fact makes them go back to their rooms where they try to figure out how this could be possible.

The answer to this is not doing stand up comedy, by which time they also realize that this is the only thing they now know how to do.

Then, they either then a) die b) become unfunny or c) live long lives…often the same thing and then die but their previous funniness has been erased by their subsequent life and unfunniness.

As they get lowered into the grown they say 'hey! what's up with this lining, this isn't what I asked for'...to an unappreciative audience...of three.

Charlie Rose - Colin Farrell

'poetry is kinda my diary but I don't journal...really?' You write a journal Farrell you don't 'journal'.

'howya i'd love to ride ya'...it's not really a poem is it..colin and who's the grumpy guy

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Lorcy's Dublin Stand Up Debut...

Hooray, my name up in lights, well a poster anyway, so it's still good.

Lorcan McGrain! gah! ah well

Battle of the Axe is one of the oldest and best known open mic nights in Dublin and I had a slot on Feb 7th that was a great experience to do. It was a tough gig for me, I was at home for dad's month's memorial mass and got the word to the slot. So after a bus up from Monaghan wasn't in the best mind set to do it, but it was good experience for doing a set whatever way you feel. It was great to see my homies, Danny, Claire and Fin and Karl and comics genius Bob Byrne. Tony the organiser was cool and it was good to see how the Dublin comedy nights are going.

Here's a youtube of it, you can tell by my terrible 'eh...eh' style delivery I was more nervous than my English gigs, also stuff that killed over here went down less well over there, but viewing the clip I was barrelling through it pretty crazily, where even I don't know what I'm saying,

My homies Danny, Fin and Claire looking sad...

Ha! just kidding it was all an elaborate ruse...

A certain Dumb Riffer and myself.

An here he comes young Mr. Clamnuts himself.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

'Don't Answer the Door it might be burglars'...the genius of Viz

For me, Viz is kinda like South Park, once the media brouhaha kicks over they both quitely get on with producing really funny material under the radar.

I picked up the lastest copy of Viz for the train/plane journey home recently and laughed my ass off at the every page, letterbocks and top tips still do it for me and the random strips with minor celebs such as 'Tony Slattery and His Phoney Cattery' are great. Of course, the stand out is The Drunken Bakers by Barney Farmer and Lee Healey. Healey has a site with selected reprints. It's a surreal strip where time and sense are distorted like no other with a fine line in horrific depression.
It has been getting respectable press too, e.g. Steve Lowe's Why I Love the Drunken Bakers:

The essentials don't vary much: the average black-and-white, page-long episode sees a customer coming in with a simple request for, say, a wedding cake or some buns. With the best of intentions, the sweet-looking, white-haired pair head out back to gather ingredients and mix dough. But soon, one will quietly suggest a little drop of something - Drambuie or gin, perhaps - and the other will stoically agree. Before long, they're both staggering round a smoke-filled bakery surrounded by empty spirits bottles. Again. It's tricky to say what's so appealing about their slide from being worthy citizens to utterly wrecked lost souls.

In the lastest issue the board game called 'waiting for a parcel' and the 'we love eggs' page is genius, with eggs facts like ostrich eggs being perfect for making omlettes for the world's largest man, with the later fact that Calvin Phillips the world's smallest man used to dine on omlettes made from humming bird eggs, before he died from the world's tiniest heart attack.

As much as they were a dirty reposte to stuffy DC Thompson comics like The Beano and The Dandy, Viz does seem quint these days with references to 'grumble mags' like Razzle, but that's part of its charm.

The current Viz Website has a a submit form for top tips and letterbocks adding to the mystery of how much of said features are reader generated or written in house. I will always remember the top tip: 'don't answer the door it might be burglars'.

Here's some I submitted for the laugh:

Knight Rider Fans, whenever Knight Rider isn’t on, try watching Street Hawk twice for the same effect.

Young Twats. Try wearing Trilbies indoors to save people the trouble of talking to you and finding out if you are a cunt or not.

Ryanair Passengers. Recreate the mindset of a serial killer by flying in one of our planes in front of shaven-headed kids called ‘oliver’ that kick the back of the seat repeatedly, and getting offered Baveria at 3.50 and scratch cards from an eastern European air hostess who are exactly two thirds less attractive than you thought they'd be.

Jimmy Carr. If you’re ever stuck for material, just use the Top Tips joke about using smartie tubes on cat’s legs to make him walk like a robot, but remember to do a horrible face and robot arms when saying the line so Viz fans won’t get upset.

Alcoholics. Go to different off-licenses all the time so it doesn’t look like you drink as much as you do.

People. Avoid the pain and misery from the death of loved ones by not making any friends or girlfriends in the first place.

Calvin Harris. Why not just add ‘girls’ to the end of each line you write to give the impression that go can rhyme songs properly, You dayglo fuck.

Klaxons Fans on a Budget. Recreate the effect of dayglo clobber from Topshop by taking a normal hoodie from Primark, they’re only a fiver, rip it apart, sew it back together with neon bootlaces at jizz all over it.

Idiots. Recreate the experience of a lapdancing club by watching soft porn while employing some one to keep your arms by your sides at all times and charging you 10 pounds for a warm can of carling from your own fridge.

Modern People. Why no add insult to injury by having an ostentatious poker or gun belt buckle despite the fact that you jeans are hanging below your arse.

Daily Mail Readers. Why not never leave the house so you don’t have to meet any single parents or people of different ethnic backgrounds.