Tag Archives: herne hill

In the land of the one-eyed man, Lewis Schaffer is king.

9 Feb

3AM Saturday 9th February 2013 Nunhead Heights

You know me: If something bad happens to me, I mean really bad, I will blog about it.

Last night at Vivienne and Martin Soan’s lovely Pull the Other One gig in Herne Hill, south east London, something really bad happened. I killed. 

I made the audience laugh so much that there was no doubt I had done well, really well. Usually I have my doubts.

A comic knows when he has done really well.

Everyone wants to talk to you. Everyone wants to touch you. One experienced comic tells you, unsolicited, “Your time has come”. Another tells you how professional you seemed.

Jeff Ross, the now-famous New York comic turned Roastmaster General of the United States, once told me that ‘you know how to bomb; you need to know how to kill’ – using the vernacular of comedy. That was maybe 13 years ago. I assume you all know what ‘bomb’ and ‘kill’ mean.

Well, I killed and it felt weird.

In the front row of last night’s show sat a big black man with one eye and a huge scar on the side of his head. He was wearing a stethoscope, a sling-shot and bells that tinkled as he walked.

He had been shot in the head, I found out later. This was on the edge of Brixton and the area was once rough. It all fell into place like a movie.

‘Hey, look at me’ he was saying. He was casting a pall on the entire show.

During the break, before my set, I went up to him at the bar, to judge if he was going to try and destroy my show, and to somehow mitigate any damage.

Pre-frontal lobotomy. Does anyone young know of them? Where part of a distressed mentally ill person’s brain was scraped out removing the site of excess emotion.

I knew one man who’d had a lobotomy. At least, I guessed he’d had one because he had the tell-tale horseshoe-shaped scar on his temple.

I had a summer job in a lawyers’ publication in Lower Manhattan when I was 17 or 18 and worked with him in the mailroom – back in the 70s. He would smile weakly all the time.

The man at the show had the same look as the mailroom guy. He wasn’t a brute, anymore. If he had ever been one. The bullet had made him genial.

I sensed the one-eyed man just wanted a good time, to ring his bells and have everyone pay a bit of attention to him.

Maybe that is why I’m funny now – consistently funny – or funny most of the time. I can look a man in his eye and know that he isn’t evil. I can know that he isn’t going to try to mess up my show.

All I had to do was ring his bells for him.

@lewisschaffer – twitter feed 

Lewis Schaffer’s American Guide to England
Leicester Square Theatre – £10
Sundays, March 3rd to April 21st 6 PM (except 7th April at 5PM)

Listen to Lewis Schaffer on the Radio Nunhead American Radio with Lewis Schaffer every Monday evening at 10:30PM on www.resonancefm.com and 104.4fm London. Or listen to the show’s podcasts at bit.ly/NunheadAmericanRadio 

See Lewis Schaffer live every Tuesday and Wednesday: Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous, The Source Below, 11 Lower John Street, London W1F 9TY. Come on down. Free admission. Or reserve at bit.ly/londonfreeshow 


The “Speed Traps” of the London Borough of Southwark and all the News of Nunhead for 9 July 2012

9 Jul

9 PM Monday 9 July 2012 Nunhead Heights

Nunhead American Radio is on the air tonight, Monday, on Resonance FM – the best radio station in the world, and that isn’t just me who thinks that.

It’s the only radio program for Americans living in Nunhead and for all Nunheaders, with special focus on where I live, Nunhead Heights.

Southwark News reports that just one intersection leading into Nunhead generates over 7,000 traffic fines a year worth almost million pounds [$1,500,000] for Southwark Council. [For Americans, the “Council” is the local authority, similar to a city or a county in the USA. There are slightly less than three dozen local councils making up Greater London who control much of London’s heavy lifting.]

The Council is accused of confusing and hard to read signs at the intersection of Heaton Road and Peckham Rye to make it, as  Londoners say, “a nice little earner” for the Council. This kind of 1950s American hillbilly South “speed trap” is very common all across this country but the victims don’t seem to be only the “you’re not from around here, are ya” types. It burdens Nunheaders with another layer of indirect taxation.

Read here how the Council is going to chopping down inner London woods to sell grave sites: “Will we regret cutting down the forests of Southwark?”

The main man behind traffic control at the Council defended the signage by urging those who drive there “to read the signs carefully.” That is typical too: Blame your own constituents.

There isn’t a pretence of American-style “of the people, for the people” in Britain. Here, the State inherited the power of the King – and once elected – the ruling party acts, well, kingly. Sometimes the Council is benevolent and sometimes they are vindictive but they always seem to work for the benefit of the Council.

According to the Southeast Central Forum, the loveliest street in Nunhead, by consensus, is Hichisson Road in postal code SE15 3AL. I concur because my two beautiful sons live on that very road! My ugly sons live somewhere else.

The Olympic Torch is not passing through Nunhead. The closest it gets is Peckham High Street sometime before 11 AM Thursday 26th July when the participants stop for lunch at the Harris Academy.

Top Tips according to the Southwark News:
When meeting a Japanese person NEVER blow your nose in front of them.

Top Tips according to Lewis Schaffer:
When meeting ANY person from ANY COUNTRY never blow your nose in front of them.
Never blow your nose, ever, as it is unnecessary and disgusting.

What could have been called the “Nunhead Comedy Festival” is now the “Herne Hill Comedy Festival” since Vivienne and Martin Soan had to move their gigs to the Half Moon Pub in Herne Hill. It isn’t that far and I recommended Phil Nichol and Charmian Hughes tomorrow, Tuesday the 10th of July. Go to www.ptoocomedy.com for info. Sponsored by Estate Agents Roy Brooks. Why I’m giving them a plug, I don’t know, they won’t come on my show!

[That is, if you can’t get to Soho to see me at the Source Below.]

Nunhead’s other local football team, and the closest, is Millwall FC. The team is universally disliked in England for their racist and belligerent fans. One horse policewoman who had to work their matches told me they were “animals”.

That said, I have met many, many, lovely Millwall supporters and this past Thursday I even met a black Millwall supporter! Plus, the owner of the team is an American John Berylson from Boston, Massachusetts!! Double exclamation point!

www.twitter.com/lewisschaffer [Twitter]

See Lewis Schaffer in Edinburgh
Go to edfringe.com and search for Lewis Schaffer

Every Tuesday and Wednesday in Soho

Mondays 10:30 PM on Resonance Radio 104.4 in London
www.resonancefm.com – iTunes at www.bit.ly/NunheadAmericanRadio

“Rapid-fire delivery… everything is fair game” (The Guardian)
“His total indifference to all things British is brilliant.” (The Scotsman)
“A unique style – he can insult you and love you in the same sentence” (Time Out, New York)
“Controversial. Warning: Unpredictable. Recommended.” (Time Out, London)

Malcolm Hardee Award Winner 2009

Lewis Schaffer

Nunhead American Comedian

SO IT GOES - John Fleming's blog

John Fleming’s blog: human interest, humour, humor, comedy blog featuring eccentricity, performance, movies and occasionally a few tears

Nunhead Nags

A blog about Nunhead regeneration

Lewis Schaffer

Nunhead American Comic

Lewis Schaffer

Nunhead American Comedian

SO IT GOES - John Fleming's blog

John Fleming’s blog: human interest, humour, humor, comedy blog featuring eccentricity, performance, movies and occasionally a few tears

Nunhead Nags

A blog about Nunhead regeneration

Lewis Schaffer

Nunhead American Comic