Tag Archives: source below

I’m turned noir: The film I didn’t want you to see.

30 Jan

3PM Wednesday 30th January 2013 Nunhead Heights.

Comedy guru John Fleming reported the other day that I blocked Jonathan Schwab’s film about me.

I did not.

I only preferred that the film wasn’t seen. [John’s Blog ‘The Film of comedian Lewis Schaffer you cannot currently see online.’]

The German filmmaker himself restricted access to the film because he felt it was still a work in progress and to clear entry into American and European film festivals.

The film reminded me of FW Murnau, Fritz Lang, Werner Hertzog and even Orson Welles. If you’re into comedy and tragedy you’ll probably enjoy watching it. It’s brilliant.

I only wish it isn’t about me. You’ll see why when you view it. Or maybe I am wrong.

Because of the John’s blog I’ve asked Jonathan to allow the film to be seen. Or maybe because I am a poor judge of these things? Anyway, Jonathan Schwab has generously allowed access – but only for one week.

‘Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous’ by Jonathan Schwab.

On 7th of February access will be denied.

Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous at the Source Below
The Longest Running Solo Comedy Show in London
11 Lower John Street, W1F 9TY
8 PM – Every Tuesday and Wednesdays.
www.sourcebelow.com

Nunhead American Radio with Lewis Schaffer – Since 2009
Mondays 10:30 PM on Resonance Radio 104.4 in London and www.resonancefm.com/listen.

The latest Nunhead American Radio with Lewis Schaffer re-broadcast is on iTunes bit.ly/NunheadAmericanRadio
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“Where there is disarray, Lewis Schaffer creates chaos.” (Chortle) “An hour with Lewis Schaffer is an hilarious, cathartic, exhilaratingly appalling experience.” (The Scotsman)

My best night in comedy was spent with a blind soldier in a basement in Soho.

3 Nov

5 PM Saturday 3rd November 2012 Nunhead Heights

Last week, a blind man came to my show in Soho, Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous. My show is the longest-running solo stand up comedy show in London and maybe even the entire UK. You name another and I will take back that assertion.

The Blind Guy was lead to the front row by the woman he was with.

So I am doing my show, not that it is much of a show. It’s just me, messing about. Not even ‘messing about’, cause that would imply that I’m relaxed. I’m never relaxed.

I’m having flashbacks to the wheelchair people at the Pleasance Courtyard in Edinburgh last August. I said the wrong thing and the wheelchair people walked out – rolled out, actually. It wasn’t pleasant. You can read about that here.

My mind also raced to the time in New York in the 1990s when the dead-old guy took off his hat and showed everyone in the Boston Comedy Club audience a hole of blood in the middle of his bald head. I was MCing (compering) and was transfixed by the ugliness of it and didn’t say a thing, making it worse for everyone.

It turned out the open sore was just the round red label from his rain hat that had stuck onto his smooth head skin. I should have asked him ‘What’s with the hole in your head, old guy?’ and found out before I crumbled on stage.

I’ve been feeling down about what I do. I am getting absolutely nowhere in comedy. I’ve got only 1347 twitter followers and that is as an objective a measure as any.

So I start telling my jokes. I’ve decided I’m gonna have to call up every minute of comedy experience to get through this night. Forget about art or genius – I need to make this bearable for the people here. ‘Please don’t make it one of those nights that half the audience leaves at the intermission,’ I prayed.

The Blind Guy is not going to understand everything. In my show I talk to the audience and get them to talk to each other, and even though I am not French mime Marcel Marceau or the American clown-comic Dr. Brown, what I do is very visual.

So I translate everything for the Blind Guy. ‘That girl is pretty and those guys look like cops, and the table of girls are scowling at me…’ et cetera. It’s funny, I guess.

Then I realize: It isn’t fair.

So I put out the stage lights and blew out the candles on the tables. Now we were all in the dark, together.

And I did my act in the dark, which isn’t easy to do even in the light, and which isn’t much of an act. We had a laugh for about ten minutes while I flailed about. Then I turned the lights back on and then the rest of show was pure fun. And was extremely pleased with myself that I did that.

I got an email from his Jewish woman minder a couple of days later.

It turns out the man was a soldier who had lost his sight fighting. She was helping him make a transition back into the world and this was his first night out in two years, since he lost his sight.

I won’t say where but he was fighting for the rights of women to sit with men in a dark nightclub in Soho and drink alcohol and listen to lost New York Jews in late-midlife crisises.

The lovely woman asked me not to post her email so I won’t. I don’t think it would be giving anything away to quote a line or two:

‘If you are ever at a loss to understand why you do what you do or if you should keep on doing it, I hope you will remember us and feel affirmed.

There is a rabbinic story which says that the pious must not think that clowns are unworthy of a place in the World to Come because their work is not real work. Indeed Hashem [God] has said that those who spend their lives cheering the souls of others will find their place first in heaven.’

I don’t know what else to say.

Contribute to the Poppy Appeal. The British Legion 

@lewisschaffer – twitter feed

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

Stuck inside of Nunhead with the Edinburgh Blues Again.

4 Sep

12:01 AM Tuesday 4th September 2012 Nunhead Heights

Yesterday was the worst day of the year.

It was exactly one week after the Edinburgh Festival. I’d forgotten how funny Lewis Schaffer was. I’d forgotten how soon it was going to be before Lewis Schaffer was to become famous and the money started rolling in. That’s what the Edinburgh Festival does to you. It makes you think you’re somebody.

Instead, I’m in Nunhead.

I spent a bit of yesterday with my younger son, the Wild One, who is excellent company as he’s usually up for anything. We went fantasy shopping at Curry’s, the appliance shop, dreaming about a new electric cooker and we sat in a massage chair. It doesn’t take much to keep us occupied.

Sadly, the rest of the week I spent waiting for him or my other son, the Sensible One “Mini-Lew” to come over. They live with their mother around the corner. This is probably a sad week for the mother, too, as she also does the Festival. I can understand her not wanting to give them up this week. Still, it would have been nice to have them stay over a night or two.

Next year, I need to be on a beach somewhere for the week, with the kids or by myself. My problem is that I never have a “Plan B”. I planned for the Festival and nothing afterwards.

That is why I am in Britain.

I was at the Boston Comedy Club in New York, host and main barker, back in 2000, and I didn’t know what to do next.

I got married to the mother of my children – she wasn’t a mother yet – and I followed her here to London. I didn’t know what else to do. That, and I loved her.

Some advice: Never, ever, EVER follow a woman. Let her follow you. Women are nest builders and there usually isn’t enough room in her nest for you. NEVER.

The week after the Festival is a huge let down.

There will always be a let down after something so intense. Four or more shows a day for 26 days in row and reviewers and people telling you how funny you are and even how “reductive” or “vulgar” you are. I miss my One Star reviews the most.

That’s the Zen of it. It’s binary. The On and then the Off. Only when things are OFF it is best to be somewhere very, very OFF, like Cornwall, or Tobago Island on the coast of Panama. Or even in Wigan, not that I have been there.

Instead, I was in Nunhead.

Today I restart my Soho shows at the Source Below and all will be okay. I’ll be back to being Lewis Schaffer again.

@lewisschaffer on twitter

“Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous” Live in Soho
Shows Restart 4th September 8 PM
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

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

Bambi is going to die. Why I anticipate the worst.

18 Apr

4:18 PM Wednesday 18 April 2012 Nunhead Heights

Did you read about the newborn deer and the leopard in South Africa? How the leopard played with the fawn for 45 minutes  – even letting the baby try to get milk from her. Was the leopard being maternal to the fawn?

I read it on the Daily Mail Online. I read the Daily Mail and I subscribe to the Guardian. I can pick and choose which newspapers I read because I wasn’t raised here so I am not bound by English class prejudices.

The fawn’s mother ran from the leopard. The fawn was too young to be afraid. The mother knew which battles to fight which is something that is hard to figure out and hard to live with once you do figure it out. As I have often sung: You gotta know when to walk away and know when to run ‘cause you never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table, there’ll be time enough for counting when the dealin’ done.

I was up thinking about the cute fawn when I get a call from a punter who’d been to Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous at the Source Below last night. He had left his bag under the chair with his company’s computer and iPhone.

My first thought: I didn’t take it. Please don’t think I took it. Then: I hope the new barman didn’t take it. Was it the lone punter who was sitting behind him who took it? He seemed a bit weird and he did leave right before the end. What about the people from the kebab place upstairs? Was it even taken?

I felt for the dude. He was an American from Kingston, New York. At least I believe what he told me. With English people you can’t be too sure. You ask an English person where they’re from and they’ll tell you where they stayed last night, even if they just moved in the day before.

Nothing we can do right now, I told him. We’ll know tomorrow. Now, I thought, I have yet another reason for not sleeping. Add that to not having an Edinburgh show title, not having a show, not filing my taxes, not designing a poster for outside the club, not having enough gigs, going over my overdraft without realizing it, and fighting with everyone important to me. The list can go on and on.

So all night I am worried about this dude’s bag and the computer and iPhone and how messed up his life is going to be if he doesn’t get it back. And how guilty I am going to feel.

In the morning he texts that he got into the club early and the bag was there under the chair. I felt a rush of relief – like the way I felt when the Judge ruled that Dr. Tusch had no claim against me after thinking I was going to have to give $2000 to the Dr. Mengele of laser surgery.

Relief is the best feeling in the entire world. Even more than victory, or sex, or laughter. What is more joyous than the feeling that something bad could’ve happened but didn’t happen?

I always anticipate the worst so when the worst doesn’t happen you feel amazing. Salvation.

People who think they are going to win you feel bad when they lose and they don’t feel very good when they win, either, cause they anticipated it. 

Yes, I am miserable most of the time in my worried state but I also reach levels of ecstasy that an optimist can never achieve. And when the bad things happen – like when the leopard ate the cute little Bambi in front of Bambi’s mom – I don’t feel that bad, because I expected it. At least the dude got his computer and iPhone back. What a relief.

@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 at bit.ly/NunheadAmericanRadio

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

Please help me choose my show title – the registration date is today.

11 Apr

7 AM Wednesday 11 April 2012 Nunhead Heights

Deadline for Edinburgh Fringe registration is 5 PM Wednesday – today if you are reading this today. Yesterday if you are reading this tomorrow. Please, won’t you help me choose the best name for my two shows at the Fringe? One is at 5 PM at the Hive and the other is 8 PM as the Three Sisters.

1.  Lewis Schaffer: The best comic in England

Here are plays on last year’s show title:

2.  Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous: Enough Already [Free]

3.  Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous: 18th Year, Again [Free]

4. Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous: More of the Same. New For 2012

5. Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous: No End in Sight

Using a new approach:

5.  Lewis Schaffer: What have you got to lose? [ For 5 PM show]

6.  Lewis Schaffer: What did you expect? [For 8 PM Show ]

And what about this?

  1. Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous: What about this?

If not this, then what?

  1. Lewis Schaffer: If Not This, Then What?

Or…

  1. Lewis Schaffer: Free until Famous: IOU
  2. Lewis Schaffer: Too Funny to Be Famous
  3. Lewis Schaffer: Too Young to Be Famous
  4. Lewis Schaffer: Or What?

I should’ve done this months ago. I was typing my senior thesis at college the day it was due. Some things never change.

9. Lewis Schaffer: Some Things Never Change

I don’t know what the show is about and I haven’t written it and it won’t be ‘written’ until after the festival is over.

10. Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous: Why wait?

11. Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous: Don’t Wait!

12. Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous: Should Have Waited

Any and all ideas will be appreciated.  Even telling me it barely matters would be a help.

Thank you.

@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 at bit.ly/NunheadAmericanRadio

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

The Best Comic screams “Black Man!” in a crowded pub

9 Apr

1:39 PM 9 April 2012 Nunhead Heights

My life as the Best Comic in England continued in Waterloo last night.

I was met with a decidedly mixed reception from the audience at the “Ivor Dembina’s £1 Cabaret”. It must be said that I am not used to playing for an audience who have paid so much.

I didn’t know where I was in the running order having not paid attention to Ivor when I arrived in the packed pub. I was expecting emptiness. I was promptly called onstage by Ivor to follow a musical-slash-poetry-slash-single-double act called the “Anti-poet”.  I know what you are thinking: Dreadful! But no. It was literally “anti-poetry” – it was funny and thus “comedy”.

That is why I like to work alone – no risk of anyone funnier than me on stage.

I was also not wearing my comedy suit but dressed in the casual clothes of the depressed unemployed middle aged man. And as you know about me: One change and everything else goes out the window. The saying is that when a butterfly flaps its wings in China I go mental in Waterloo. I used the word ‘mental’!

Quite a few of the ladies there did not like me. As a professional comic – or having played one at comedy shows in two cities on three continents – I can recognize genuine heckling. One screamed repeatedly “I’m from Chicago and I don’t like you.” That is how I know she didn’t like me. Newer comics take note.

Still, one cannot be sure whether people don’t like one [ can one? ] until after the show when one meets one’s audience on the way to the loo.

I like to hand out fliers for my show “Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous” at the Source Below every Tuesday and Wednesday. I was concerned because I had only a few fliers with me and thought I may run out. Luckily, no one was denied.

There was a divide in the room. The women didn’t seem to like me at all. I was told they found my pointing at the black man in the front row and shouting “THAT’S A BLACK MAN!  LOOK!  A BLACK MAN!!” was not at all funny. I answered that my shouting at him was only for the first three minutes of my set – what about the rest? What about my extended riff on the similarities between the Austrians and the Australians?

Another told me that she wanted to like me but found me “unpleasant”. I told her that if I had one more minute she would have liked me. One extra minute – that was it – I needed 11 minutes – to make her like me. Give me that minute now, I pleaded. Then I asked: Hadn’t she met anyone who she really liked in the first ten minutes but turned out to be a total – lets say – not nice person? Couldn’t it work in the reverse, too?

I don’t remember the answers because I am not a very good listener.

Then I took another tack. I told her I wanted to like her as an audience member but I just couldn’t. And I was severely disappointed in her tonight. It works both ways, you know.

On the way to the erm… limo… Ivor pontificated – though briefly for him. He remembered something the British comic Lee Mack had said to him about playing Jongleurs comedy club. I won’t repeat it here because it is such a good piece of comedy advice that I daren’t share it with anyone. Daren’t. A proper Englishman am I.

Lee Mack is my favorite British comic  – cause he is frigging brilliant and a lovely man and one should take any and all advice he proffers. I have never used the word “proffer” before – ever!

He once told me – yes, I knew him – that I shouldn’t ever joke about that horrible couple who cannot be named because they sue everyone and a lot of people actually believe them – that I shouldn’t ever joke about them because if I am wrong about them it would have been evil on my part. That is the difference between me and Lee Mack. Lee Mack isn’t evil. I’ll take the chance.

In the end, the audience woman was surprised that the black man in the front row found it all very, very amusing. As did his Austrian escort. Calling a black man a “black man” doesn’t sound very funny in the retelling but what ever does? It is was all very, very, very ironic.

Fair Ivor Dembina seemed sick fed up with me and will probably not book me again. He was beyond angry and into the “unlove” emotion.

Today, I was tweeted by one @pdpickard “@lewisschaffer amazing set at the Kings Arms last night, hilarious!” And Ivor texted to see if I wanted to hang out today.

Onward!

@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 at bit.ly/NunheadAmericanRadio

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

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