Tag Archives: lewis

Copstick gives me Four Stars in Edinburgh and I see failure.

6 Aug

4pm Monday 6 August 2012 Edinburgh Suite, Glasgow Jimmy’s Place

Today, the blazing Kate Copstick in the Scotsman wrote that “An hour with Lewis Schaffer is an hilarious, cathartic, exhilaratingly appalling experience. Four Stars.”

http://m.scotsman.com/lifestyle/performing-arts/comedy-review-lewis-schaffer-no-you-shut-up-the-hive-venue-313-edinburgh-1-2453046

Why not Five Stars? Where did that other star go?  

I am not saying I deserve five stars, or even deserve four or three. I wouldn’t pay to see myself – then again, who would pay money to hear yourself talk for fifty minutes?

Even when someone loves me I still think they believe I’m just a bit rubbish. And it’s true. Why not five stars? I don’t need five stars, nor want five stars, nor think I deserve five stars. Five stars is for “art”. Art is something that truly moves you. I am a long way off from that. Four is for very funny. And I don’t think of myself as that, nor would most of the people that have seen me.

I once got in the 97th percentile in a New York State vocabulary test given to 14 or 15 year olds. I knew what ‘percentile’ meant was without being a bookworm.

My mother explained that the three or so percent who were better than me were the people who mattered and that I was at the bottom of the top. In no way should I be proud of that.

I was taught love by a mother who loved me intensely and then beat me or completely ignored me for long stretches. That’s what made me me. Blame my mother. I don’t trust love – and I consider a good review “love”. I trust a smack in the head. That is honest.  

Thank you Kate Copstick for your good words and to the Scotsman for printing them.

>>> Please comics stop ending your shows with the plea ‘Keep supporting live comedy’. Comedy shows aren’t charities. It sounds pathetic. (Though I do beg for money daily at my “free show.”)

>>> Tonight, two young Londoners nervously sat in the only open seats other than the first row: the second row. They scowled at me the whole show.

I should have tossed those grumpy Capital City losers out on their asses after ten minutes. Instead, I tried to turn them around and wound up seeming like a racist bully. 

Sadly, free shows can attract people with only the weakest of interest in comedy. That’s why many shows are rubbish: It’s the audiences, white and black.

Because of the review, people will now be coming to my show expecting to hear something appalling. It’s NOT what I say that’s appalling, it’s me that’s appalling. 

My audience is going to see a comic who blames them for his failure. How can I strive for art when my audience isn’t as committed to it as I am? AND they’re going to see a comic who takes responsibility for his show’s failures. I know I shouldn’t have spoken to those guys as much as I did.

The truth is: My mother is to blame.

>>> Ran into the thin Mitch Benn climbing the stairs at the Underbelly. He was looking hungry. 

He told me losing weight was the easy part. That’s cock to me (Wow, that was English – ‘cock to me’!)

I can’t NOT eat for 12 hours to clear my system for a simple blood test. I can’t imagine ever losing weight on my own.  Major props to the thin man. 

See me at 4:45 at the Alternative Fringe at the Hive on Niddry Street and at 8:15pm in Maggie’s Chamber at the Three Sisters on the Cowgate. 

If you’re in Edinburgh you’ll know where these places are. 

Nunhead News: A job seeker defecates on a Job Centre worker’s desk and more: 16 July 2012

16 Jul

8 PM Monday 16th July 2012 Nunhead Heights.

The News of Nunhead for Resonance FM 104.4FM – Nunhead American Radio 10:30PM

Nunhead. So nice they didn’t need to name it twice. The haven for Americans living in Britain.

Today, a baby was left at the Nunhead’s Job Centre by a female customer, believed to be the child’s mother. She shouted “You pay for it!’ and ran out the door without the baby.

The policy at the Job Centre is to report abandoned babies to social services immediately. In actual practice, the staff wait until closing at 5PM to see if the mother will reclaim the child. If the child is reclaimed, the parent is obviously unfit to be a parent.

In a similar situation occurring on 12 April 2012, a Job Centre customer made a bowel movement on a staff member’s desk. The stated policy at the Job Centre is to report immediately bowel movements made on staff member’s desks. In actual practice, the staff wait until closing to see if the customer will reclaim the bowel movement.

In Britain, the jobless and other benefit seekers are called “customers”. This is the same as it was in the State of New York – at least at the time when I was a frequent customer of unemployment insurance benefits.

“Customer” is an interesting choice of a word. It is as if one has a choice of what state or country one becomes unemployed. The fear that the unemployed will take their “business” to another state or country drives local welfare offices to be customer service oriented.

If you have a dog that follows you are around, forces you to feed it, and sleeps in your house or flat, then you are probably are its owner. Police will make you aware that you are a dog owner.

The Metropolitan Police Safer Neighbourhoods Team is having a Dog Ownership Awareness Day in Peckham Rye Park – opposite our lovely newish café – this Sunday, the 22nd of July. www.met.police.uk/saferneighborhoods

Calling all young film-makers aged 11 to 25! Peckham and Nunhead Free Film Festival 2012 announces a Call for Entries on the theme “My SE15”. All films must be ten minutes long or shorter and must be received by August 12, 2012. Go to the website: My youngest son started yesterday by filming his private part on his father’s iPhone. Sadly, he won’t be able to enter it into the competition as he is only nine-years-old. The video was deleted immediately. www.freefilmfestivals.org.

Today, in a seeming act of racism, a middle aged Nunhead woman of Scottish origin swore at her Nunhead American ex-husband and the titular father of her children “Why don’t you eff off back home.” “Home” meaning America. He had merely pointed out that an eleven-year old should know how to spell “know” and the three spellings of ‘there’, ‘their’ and ‘they’re’, and that maybe the public education system in this country isn’t as good as she thinks it is.

On our show tonight, 16 July 2012, Nunhead American Radio, will be animator, filmmaker, and tv producer, Nunheader Ed Hobson. I met Ed at my show in Soho and he has kindly offered to come on the show.

Also on board is Norman Welch, playwright and Kansan, now living in the Greater Borough of Nunhead. He will be on hand to talk about his new opera. We are also to be graced by Robin Schacht, her father worked for the Federal Reserve Bank in Washington, DC. A true and naturally blonde American, Robin’s father is a banker but I cannot imagine him being even slightly dodgy.

Join Lewis Schaffer, American Lisa Moyle and Englishman Chris Dixon tonight, Monday. And enjoy

Nunhead American Radio with Lewis Schaffer
Every Monday 10:30pm
www.resonancefm.com 104.4fm London
On iTunes www.bit.ly/NunheadAmericanRadio

Twitter me at www.twitter.com/lewisschaffer

Live in Soho “Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous”
Every Tuesday & Wednesday 8pm Free Admission
Reserve at www.sourcebelow.com

Live Lewis Schaffer at the Edinburgh Fringe: No YOU Shut Up!

America blamed for burial crisis in Nunhead. The News of Nunhead for 2 July 2012.

2 Jul

8 PM Monday 2nd July 2012 Nunhead Heights.

News of Nunhead for Nunhead American Radio 10:30PM in Nunhead and British Summer Time, 5:30PM in New York. Listen live at www.resonancefm.com and on the real radio 104.4fm every Monday evening. That is tonight, if it is Monday. 

Nunhead is the haven for the most marginalized of all immigrant groups in Britain, Americans.
Our town motto is “If you’ve been to Plumstead, you’ve pretty much seen Nunhead.”

It has been pointed out by our hardworking Labour Councillor Renata Hamvas that  Southwark cemeteries have a problem with burials as it is now the fashion to use American-style caskets rather than simple coffins. Caskets are those big wooden boxes that look like bulky Victorian furniture. They take up a lot more space. Even in Nunhead Americans get the blame.

Read my posts about losing the woods of Nunhead and Dulwich. Worthy reading though not humorous – tragic really. “Will we regret cutting down the forest of Southwark?” (Nunhead is in the London Borough of Southwark).

Speaking of America, Wednesday is the 236th or 237th anniversary of the date when Britain first split into two. The United States of Britain decided it didn’t want the pesky and anti-monarchical 13 Colonies to continue to call themselves British. If the were to continue to be British the Americans would have had to be given equal representation in Parliament. The two nations, now two peoples, are better because of it. Read my post about this: Thank God King George Lost America. It is something you might not have thought about.

It has been pointed on the fantastic Southeast Central Forum that there was a plan afoot in the 1960s to run a highway through Nunhead called the South Cross Route Ringway. One of the only sections they built was the very dividing Westway in west London. I know if I had lived then I’d have had an apoplectic fit – lord knows it is killing me how the council is chopping down acres of woods AS WE SPEAK. Leave it to the government to make the biggest messes.

Tonight’s will be another edition of the most amazing radio show in the world, Nunhead American Radio with Lewis Schaffer, co-hosted by beautiful New Yorker Lisa Moyle.

On board is local historian Neil @Transpontine talking about his fantastically interesting website transpontine.

Public purse accountability expert – I think I know what that is but we will ask and be sure – and Nunheader, Ed Hammond.

Also coming in is David Mills a very tart and very funny San Franciscan comic and he is bringing along Arkansas comic Beth McGregor.

@lewisschaffer on twitter

“Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous” Live in Soho
Every Tuesday & Wednesday 8pm Free Admission
Reserve at www.sourcebelow.com

Nunhead American Radio with Lewis Schaffer
Every Monday 10:30pm
http://www.resonancefm.com 104.4fm London
On iTunes www.bit.ly/NunheadAmericanRadio

Bored with foreigners: Why I’m skipping the Olympics

16 May

5PM Wednesday 16 May 2012 Nunhead Heights

I am skipping the London Olympics. I will be up in Edinburgh with my show. So what if there will be 216 countries participating? I’ve got more then 216 nations living in my own flat.

I am so bored with foreigners.

My neighbors next door are Nigerian, below me are Somalis and across the way are Guyanese and all around are the English. Mass immigration, World Music, RyanAir, Disney World, The Wire, and international conspiracies – is there any nationality you want to know more about? Not me.

“Oh, my! You’re from New York?!! Really? Tell me, Lewis, what is New York like?”

In London, no one cares that I’m from the Greatest City in The World in the Greatest Country in The World. If they did, they’d have made me a star. But they don’t care and I’m stuck in a basement in Soho. That’s my excuse.

The only country I have a vaguest interest is North Korea because I’ve being reading John Fleming’s blog about his trip there. But you’d have to have been a prisoner in commie concentration camp to get me excited. The rest of you dirty, dirty foreigners: ‘Eff off!

You say the Olympians will be wearing their native costumes? Oh, my!

“Please welcome Teamo de Ecuadoriano in their native dress: New York Yankees hats and Levi’s jeans.”

“Please welcome Team Sierra Leone in their native dress: New York Yankees hats and Levi’s jeans.”

“Please welcome Team Great Britain in their native dress: New York Yankees hats and Levi’s jeans.”

How boringly the same everyone is – except for the Australians – who hold a weird fascination to me. The rest of the world: Yawn.

This small world has made foreigners uninteresting just as as internet porn has turned men away from sex. That is my excuse.

And what about judging a country based on how well it does in the Olympics medal count? Like, is Great Britain (wherever that is) a better country if they’ve got talent in skeet shooting, water dancing or  pitch and putt golf?

The Olympics are just lifting and putting stuff down; running from here to there; shooting shit; and playing sports you can watch on the telly the rest of the year. That’s nothing but your usual 15 minutes in Peckham.

And the other events are just sports rich people do to take their minds off the starving people in the rest of the world who don’t have time to do Olympic sports: Horse stuff and sailing and flying in to watch the Olympics.

All the participants share one thing in common: they practice a lot. That means they have good parents. They participants having parents willing to wake up at 4 o’clock in the morning to drive their kids to archery lessons or swimming sessions. They have parents who have  instilled a sense of drive and hard work that my children have never seen, at least from their father. Those foreigners are always gonna beat my kids at that.

That’s why I will be taking a pass on the Olympics. I hope the Olympics is rubbish cause it would kill me if it turned out to be amazing and I missed it by going to the Edinburgh Fringe with my show. It’ll be the foreigners’ fault I missed it. That’ll be my excuse.

Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous in Edinburgh “No, YOU Shut up”

4:45PM at the Hive and 8:15PM at the Free Sisters

@lewisschaffer on twitter
Daily Blog at lewisschaffer.wordpress.com

Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous in Soho
Every Tuesday & Wednesday 8pm Free Admission
Reserve at www.sourcebelow.com

Nunhead American Radio with Lewis Schaffer
Every Monday 10:30pm
www.resonancefm.com 104.4fm London
On iTunes www.bit.ly/NunheadAmericanRadio

Nunhead is Officially “Middle Class”: Nunhead American Radio News for 14 May 2012

15 May

9:00PM 14th May 2012 Nunhead Heights

Please listen live to the Nunhead American Radio show with me, Lewis Schaffer. Monday evening at 10:30PM (5:30PM EST). Listen live at 104.fm in Nunhead and http://www.resonancefm.com in the rest of the word.

Nunhead is now middle class. The new Dish and Spoon Café has opened with its imported coffee, cocoa and Camembert cheese. What? English-grown coffee, cocoa and Camembert cheese aren’t good enough for Nunhead? No, they are not!

This Saturday is May 19th or as the English call it “The 19th of May” which sounds ever so Continental. It is ironic that the only day Americans say the European way is the day America declared independence from Britain – the Fourth of July.

The 19th May is Nunhead Cemetery Open Day. This is the high point of the Nunhead social calendar. The Cemetery is the meeting place for Nunhead Heights and Nunhead Village, figuratively and literally. It connects and divides the nice bit of Nunhead, The Heights, where most Americans live, from the riff-raff down below – a dead man’s land. You could look at the Cemetery like the drug addicted problem child that brings his parents together.

The 3rd June is the Queen’s Jubilee. In her glorious 60 years as reigning monarch she lost all of British Africa, all those cheeky Caribbean Islands, Hong Kong, and Victoria Beckham.

The Queen has presided over a greater loss of empire than Rupert Murdoch did with MySpace and Hicks and Gillett with the Liverpool Football Club, and Fred the Shred accomplished with the Royal Bank of Scotland. Mazel tov!

Everyone in Nunhead will celebrate the Queen’s big day with a street party which is apropos as the Queen will be in her Castle and we are practically homeless.

Friend of the show, British American Tax specialist Liz Zitzow, was hit by a motorcycle while riding her bicycle and has spent eight weeks in the hospital. She is expected to spend another six months in rehabilitation. This show wishes her a speedy and complete recovery because I need my taxes done. Get well Liz!

This weekend is The Dulwich Festival 2012 Artist’s Open House weekend. Nunhead Heights is represented at four houses and one house in Nunhead Village. Nunhead American artist Randy Klein is not opening his studio to the public. I guess his stuff costs so much. It is his birthday today. Happy Birthday!

Our special guest couldn’t make it tonight. Roberto Mancini, coach of the Manchester City Football Club and son of composer Henry Mancini, had his job saved by beating Manchester United and doesn’t have time to make the show. He won when the pressure was on. Not pressure from Manchester United but from his rich oil sheikh owner.

Instead, our scheduled guests include:

The white English Old Nuns Head pub man Dan Roundtree.
Yinke Oyewole, the black English musician.

Listen in!

@lewisschaffer – twitter feed

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

See Lewis Schaffer test the news items at the Hungry Miller Comedy Club at The Miller by Borough High Street this Monday at 8PM. Fantastic night of comedy with Britain’s top comics and me, briefly. Only £4!

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 surprising cause of both asthma and compulsive hoarding.

9 May

11:59pm Wednesday 9 May 2012 Nunhead Heights

My dead mother, Harriet G Schaffer, once had a Letter to the Editor published in the august New York Times entitled “In Praise of Clutter”. The one letter is probably the sole public documentation of my mother’s life except for maybe references in the Brooklyn Eagle when she graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Brooklyn College or married my father.

I was thinking of her while watching the bravely presented TV program: BBC One’s – Britain’s Biggest Hoarders. 

I don’t think my mother was a hoarder – well, not like the three people on the program. She didn’t save unused food or its packaging. She didn’t keep old newspapers. You could walk in her house. But then again, she did have a two-car garage, an attic, two extra bedrooms when my sister and I moved out, and a finished basement. She still had room for stuff.

But she did save hats, and scarves, and books and old Vogues and Ladies Home Journal. If she hadn’t been ripped out of her home by divorce when she was 66 – yes, 66-years-old – it could have ended very, very cluttered.

When my mother was moving we found in the basement a show poster signed by movie star/comic/actress Divine. That was before everyone and their mother was a dog-poo-eating drag queen starring in John Waters’ movies.

This was like 20 years ago and even then I thought the poster had some monetary value. We were offered a few dollars for it at the house sale. I think I asked for five or ten dollars. The potential buyer wouldn’t go for it and it wound up getting left behind. She didn’t take it and neither did I. The new family in the house probably thought it was rubbish and tossed it out.

I’m a hoarder, too, but I don’t have physical stuff – at least not that much stuff.  Not that I would know. I have stuff in my brain. 

I spend all day thinking. Thinking about the destruction of Southwark Forest in Nunhead, about parking restrictions killing off small shops; I think about the twelve years of Federal Income tax and six years of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs I need to file. I obsess about ways to promote my shows at the Source Below but do the barest minimum; of getting new venues to do my road show; of making my radio show amazing and letting everyone know it; of writing brilliant blog posts – well crafted gems and not pieces like this, tossed off in an hour. And in the end, I do precious little. 

John Fleming, my personal blogger, once said that “rubbish freed is better than genius hoarded.”  Well, I have hoarded my talent  in the same way others have hoarded broken flower pots and stained tea towels.

The compulsive hoarder is someone who feels they don’t have enough and can’t risk giving any of it away. They need their possessions just-in-case. That is my theory. It’s like people with asthma: afraid to breathe out for fear they won’t be able to breathe in. That is also my theory.

There was a year when I really struggled to breath – when I was 23 – and I would be gasping. It my first time away from home or university and on my own. That reason sounds reasonable to me. Recently, I was told I stop breathing when I’m asleep. That’s sleep apnea, isn’t it? I’m self-diagnosing here. I think I hold my breath while I’m awake, too. Funny how you can have something your entire life and not notice it.

Sometimes you benefit from holding onto stuff. The value of the Divine poster my mother  kept must be worth a lot on ebay. Probably a good portion of the stuff in a hoarder’s home is valuable: 40-year-old games and magazines and crockery – there must be some collector out there who would pay top dollar for that stuff. In another forty years the rubbish would be proper antiques and he’d have done a service to society by preserving rare objects.

But holding onto too many things and ideas eventually suffocates us. We need to clear the decks so we can breathe again. I need to breathe again. 

@lewisschaffer – twitter feed

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

See Lewis Schaffer test the news items at the Hungry Miller Comedy Club at The Miller by Borough High Street this Monday at 8PM. Fantastic night of comedy with Britain’s top comics and me, briefly. Only £4!

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

Notes on a train out of Cambridge, England

27 Apr

23:26 Friday 27 April 2012 On Train From Cambridge

I’ve heard that Mark Watson, the Bristolian comic, posts something everyday, even if it’s a paragraph written coming home from a gig.

Well, I’m on the train from Cambridge where I’ve had a wonderful evening doing Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous, my “solo” show. There were moments of sheer joy – like when I let Rachel, a punter, come on stage and tell a joke. (There, I am being like the lovely Sarah Millican pointing out the highlights of a show.) That is all most people want – to get a bit of attention. At least that is what I want! If you can’t be entertained be entertainment. I thought of that when I was at Bard College.That’s a Quotable Quote as they say. But aren’t all quotes “quotable”? There are no “unsayable” quotes – then it wouldn’t be a quote, would it.

Glasgow Jimmy paid me and my show a visit at the Junction. 140 punters to see me and legendary streer performer Jimmy. Luckily the show went well cause otherwise I’d feel very guilty. More than normal. No performer crashes as fast after a show as I do. You know, the depression that comes after the party? No? Well I get all down even before the show is over. I’m sad that my limelight is being turned off.

Lewis Schaffer Free Until Famous Tour http://t.co/Hfym0C17

Yesterday’s post was all serious and informative about the Australians. No one loved it except me. I’m the only one who likes my serious side.

20120428-004916.jpg

Above is King’s Cross train station in London. The new, beautiful bit. The best bit of new architecture I have seen in years and years. Stunning.

@lewisschaffer

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 atbit.ly/NunheadAmericanRadio

See Lewis Schaffer live every Tuesday and Wednesday at the Source Below. Free admission. Reserve at bit.ly/londonfreeshow

See Lewis Schaffer in Edinburgh. Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous: No, YOU Shut Up! The Three Sisters at 8:15PM and at the Hive at 4:45pm.

Lewis Schaffer

Nunhead American Comedian

John Fleming's blog - SO IT GOES

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

John Fleming's blog - SO IT GOES

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