Some shameless self promotion!!!

It’s been a tough year for a host of reasons. But I aim to end it on a good note.

I saw an advert on Facebook for an impressionist to do a few voices for a possible sketch to be recorded in London next month. As you know, I can impersonate a few people, like Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Alan Carr, Chris Tarrant, Julian Clary to name but a few.

I’m slowly (very slowly) being recognised for doing a few silly voices so I recorded a short promo video in order to see if I can get that gig recording that sketch. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

That would improve my mental well being, which has suffered a lot this year, like most people. So I’m playing to my strengths. I’ve included the video here…..hope you like it.

Yours in comedy.

Ian L. Fullbrook

Who wants to be a Chatty Man Bojo Millionaire?

Oh live stand up comedy, I’ve missed the buzz of performing!

I’ve been a little reluctant to do online stand up gigs as the technology can be a bit unreliable and you never quite know who is watching. But in the end, I had to bite the bullet and do my first online gig and my third one in total.

So last night I went to my stand up partner in crime’s house to take part online. I was part of a seven strong line up, and I was to open the second half. My goodness, the standard of the other acts was off the scale. Just brilliant all the way through, hilarious. An eclectic mix of the subtle, the deadpan, the bawdy, the philosophical and the plain daft such as myself.

These three guys were put into a sketch where I impersonated all three in an edition of the world famous Who Want’s To Be a Millionaire game show.

Chris Tarrant, Boris Johnson as celebrity player with Alan Carr as a phone a friend. It was based on the Covid 19 with the buffoonery of Boris complemented by the outlandish camp style of Alan Carr.

And a sketch that was several months in the planning came to fruition. Really chuffed on how it went. There was lots of laughs and I felt as though I belonged in a very high standard of stand up comedy.

The last act, who was fantastic, was being similarly enjoyed by everyone, all except my partner, who was pictured on Zoom snuggled up on the sofa, asleep, which drew much hilarity from everyone. We had an audience of 25 or so, and though it wasn’t the real, real thing so to speak, it was as close to perfect as you can get for an online gig. I’m now sold on the idea and can’t wait for the next one.

Endorsement and positive feedback is always welcome, and I got plenty of decent reviews from some members of the audience and some of the other acts. The organiser/promoter and his partner were extremely complimentary and I felt very much at home.

Despite getting home gone midnight and feeling a little bleary eyed this morning, I feel tremendous. I feel on Cloud 9, and nothing can replace that buzz of making people laugh, one of the hardest skills to master.

Yours in comedy,

Ian L. Fullbrook

Ian L

Comedy travelling far….

Yesterday, I accompanied a friend of mine who was gigging at a comedy venue in Southampton, which for those who don’t know, is in the South of England. My friend wanted to get out of the London comfort zone and ply his trade out of town where the audiences are different and you have to tailor your material to suit.

So myself, my friend and his partner travelled down from Waterloo in the evening. If I tell you that Waterloo is one of the busiest railway stations on the planet, then you would hardly believe what I’m about to tell you. It was a quarter full at 6 pm, hardly a soul to be seen. The Covid 19 strictures are having an effect, even six months on (is it really six months), and people are still working from home.

Nice journey down, about 75 minutes and then a short walk to a pub in Southampton town centre. My friend was really nervous when we arrived and then when he was told he was on first, he was like a cat on hot bricks. He so wanted to do well and I was glad to be there, supporting him and picking up a few tips in the bargain.

So on he went, and I’ve watched him three times now. I have to say that was his best last night. Good material, with a puppet prop to boot and several humorous references to autism and mental illness (something we both share experiences). Also, everyone loves a blooper or pratfall where someone forgets their words. This happened to my friend, but the audience laughed as they were on his side. Excellent set.

From the sublime though to the ridiculous. At the two gigs I’ve been to so far, there has been one unfunny turkey that reduces the room to total silence, like the forgotten tomb. All comedians, even the greatest ones, have had gigs where they’ve “died” on stage. It is a nightmare from which there is no escape, not only for the performer, but for the audience.

And so it was to prove. A chap came on in the middle and brought the tumbleweed with him. A series of unfunny and frankly disgusting jokes was greeted by said silence. The three of us sat there in shock. My friend showed me a message he typed into this notes “I wish I was deaf”. My reply was “Can we change the f in deaf to a d?”. Gracious me, it was terrible. And the thing was, he ploughed on, oblivious to the silence. And the jokes got worse, if you can call them jokes.

I swear at one point that the hands on my watch were going backwards. Suffice it to say, it’s part of my life I won’t be getting back. 10 minutes seemed like an hour. The applause at the end was out of politeness, nothing more. He needed a shovel to continue digging the deep hole he found himself in the moment he started speaking.

I sat there and thought “I’m funnier than him” though it wasn’t difficult in all honesty. I could have pushed him off stage and done seven minutes of my impressions and that would have been more suited to the audience’s taste, I like to think.

The night was saved by the following act, a young lady who knew how to set up a joke and follow it with a great punchline. I hope the previous act was watching and noting that you don’t have to be offensive to be funny. She was excellent and topped and tailed the first half with my friend starting off in brilliant style too.

We had to leave as we had a fair journey back and the whole trip was an impression battle with the two of us playing a game of Top Trumps. This is based on the old card game except that we had to outdo each other with a Donald Trump impression. His is better than mine, with more emphasis on the louder version while mine is a bit more measured. There were a few other impressions too, and the three of us were nicely entertained, though tired at journey’s end.

Tonight folks, I’m partaking in a Zoom online comedy gig where I will be displaying my talents (such as they are) and hopefully creating a good impression (pardon the pun). Looking forward to it as it looks as though this could be the only avenue to perform, live gigs could be under threat again if Covid gets worse again during the autumn and winter months.

That’s all from me, I’ll be back tomorrow with highlights (hopefully no lowlights) of tonight’s Zoom gig.

Yours in comedy

Ian L. Fullbrook

Working on a new impression….

Well, I’ve just come out of a very bad illness and feel much, much better. So much so in fact that I’ve been road testing a new impression.

Any X Factor fans will know the voiceover artist that introduces the acts and the judges. His name is Peter Dickson and he is very well known here in the UK. This afternoon, while having a shave and looking in the mirror, I started doing the impression.

And it’s come out rather well. Stock phrases of voiceover man are “Liiiiiiiiiiive from Londooooooooon”, “Rachel Adadaije” “Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s time to face the music”.

All the above has to be delivered in a booming voice with extra emphasis on growling at the end of each sentence. It has put a slight strain on the vocal chords so I’ll have another go tomorrow. Looking forward to trying it out when I eventually return to performing in front of an audience. That could be a while.

Still, it’s good to be creative and good to get some comedy ideas flowing again.

Yours in comedy,

Ian L. Fullbrook

Me as Peter Dickson….voiceover man

Mental Health Awareness Week

This current week is Mental Health Awareness Week and the image above reflects the fact that not enough attention has been paid to the mental health of us all during these very tough times.

Certainly, I’ve been struggling over the last two months, with the correlation between mental and physical health never more striking. I’ve had copious amounts of headaches, an attack of vertigo at the weekend and more than a fair share of really gloomy days.

So we all need to seek help. The mental health system in the UK may well start to get overwhelmed with people wanting to express how they feel in this extraordinary situation. Now with the slight easing of restrictions, those of us who have been cooped up can now at least spend some longer time out of doors and the weather is staying remarkably good here in the UK too. So it might be some time to do a spot of sunbathing and to get some much needed fresh air.

Normally, I would be talking about the stand up comedy world but I’ve been out of action like most of my colleagues for the last two months. I’ve been occasionally impersonating the Prime Minister Boris Johnson on video and putting that online. I’m itching to get back on stage and try out a few more comedy ideas. Got some ideas lined up and I hope to inflict those on unsuspecting audiences when we return to action.

As ever, stay safe and get that help if you’re struggling.

Yours in comedy

Ian L. Fullbrook

We’re with you Boris!!!

Normally this site is for levity and a bit of humour. As you all know, before the shutdown, I was doing some stand up comedy that mainly centred around mimicking the Prime Minister of the UK, Boris Johnson.

Well this Coronavirus has impacted everyone, either with their physical health or their mental health. Now this ghastly situation has struck at the heart of the British Government. Boris himself is now in intensive care in a London hospital, battling away trying to fight off this illness.

To say I was in bits last night was an understatement. I’m no fan of Boris or his policies, but I’ve been impressed by his calm handling of this crisis. No bumbling around or bombast, it was plain speaking telling us all to look after ourselves and others. Now he has fallen ill, I was recoiling in horror at the awful possibilities that lay ahead.

I would be saying the same irrespective of who is in charge of the UK at the moment. No one wants to see anyone suffering and when it is the No.1 person in the UK who has been afflicted, everyone does the good British thing of which I’m proud today, being supportive of others in crisis.

I want him to pull through so I can continue to take the piss out of him at every opportunity, once this crisis has been resolved. It’s one of the gravest moments in the history of the world, let alone the UK, and everyone has been impacted, and I mean everyone.

So for the time being, I want to wish the Prime Minister a full and speedy return to health and to continue the fight against this appalling illness. Whatever your political persuasion, I’m sure you will agree. And I have no truck with people who wish ill fortune on others because of their political ideologies. This is no time for petty point scoring. It’s a time for rallying round each other and to pull each other through this. Boy, it’s been tough, and I’ve been struggling to cope with it all, as have some of my friends.

So, Boris Johnson, get well soon, from all of us, to you.

Stay safe everyone.

Ian L. Fullbrook

Coronavirus afflicts Prime Minister Boris Johnson….

Yes, this dreadful virus that is affecting most of the world’s population has finally caught up with the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Boris Johnson. He only has mild symptoms, but he is self isolating for 14 days.

The Prime Minister himself gives a short video message where he addresses the nation in this hour of need…….

Ian L. Fullbrook

Second attempt….

Hi folks. Ian Fullbrook here again to describe to you how my second stand up comedy gig went last night.

It’s been a tricky spell, where I’ve felt very unsettled and February isn’t a particularly great month generally. The weather is always dreary and people are on a dip after Christmas. Same for me. So I was thinking very seriously about pulling out of yesterday’s gig.

I’m very glad I didn’t. Once again, I was impersonating the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, but with a couple of new impressions I’ve been trying out. They were pantomime villain and politician (the two do go together!) Nigel Farage and 1970s comedy character Frank Spencer, who was portrayed so brilliantly by the supremely talented Michael Crawford.

The attendance was a little on the disappointing side, but the stand in host did his very best to get a vibe going in the room. The standard of the acts was really top class and I had my work cut out. I was closing the first half so I had to perform. Nerves were the order of the day on Thursday and on the day itself. But once I got up, I was into the flow and the performance was good. Reasonable material and the voices were coming out decently too. My microphone technique was much more assured and I was delighted with my seven minutes.

I love the vibe of the applause, the laughter and the cheering. Also what I love is the healthy level of support from the fellow acts. Four of my fellow performers last night, Paul Scahill, Delboy Maliki, Emily McQuade and Lauren Smith were especially complimentary afterwards, which I really appreciated. Always willing to listen, learn and improve. Good for the soul this stand up business and I’m pleased with the start I’ve made.

So, onwards to the next one in April. I shall be away in March so that is out of the question. But, careful steps and I hope to make plenty of friends and see people enjoy themselves too. This has been a totally unexpected opening that has presented itself and I’m determined to enjoy it to the full.

See ya

Yours in comedy

Ian L. Fullbrook

Comedy Heroes…..

Growing up in the 1970s saw plenty of heroes of comedy in the UK. Here are my own personal favourites with reasons why:-

Les Dawson

Les was a North country comedian with a lugubrious, world weary style but full of superb jokes, especially about his wife and his mother in law. Never smutty or profane, Les was a very clever, learned chap who also could play the piano badly. I mean he could play it really well, but played it badly to get laughs. My own No. 1 comedian who still makes me laugh today when I watch him on YouTube.

Tommy Cooper

Tommy was more of a visual comedian. Tall, clumsy and uncouth, he had a wonderful gift of timing. Tommy was a skilled magician, but did his tricks badly to get laughs, interspersed with some cracking jokes. All you had to do was look at him, atop with his fez, and you would laugh. Superb performer.

Dave Allen

Dave Allen was an Irish comedian who specialised in observational comedy. He got into trouble several times for his material about the Catholic Church, and he also swore a lot too. But there was no doubting that Dave had an eye for the absurd, for the odd, and observed it in a wry and whimsical way. Very clever man to watch.

Eric Morecambe

Eric was part of that great double act with Ernie Wise. Eric could make anything seem funny, and he clowned around a lot. Always ready with the witty one liner, he was a natural performer, and was hugely successful for many years.

Billy Connolly

Billy is a Scottish comedian who revels in being totally zany and anarchic, but brilliantly funny with his observations. A natural performer who specialised in being blunt and controversial, but always kept audiences entertained.

Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett

The Two Ronnies as they were affectionately known, relied on clever, subtle word play to entertain. Two of their best sketches “Four Candles” and “Mastermind” are two such examples. They had great success over many years and were on a par with Morecambe and Wise.

Ken Dodd

The Liverpudlian comedian was a rapid fire teller of jokes and amazing longevity. He lived to a very great age and was rightly acclaimed as a national treasure. Great to watch him in action. Breathless and like a jack in the box, one of the all time greats.

Victoria Wood

My all time favourite female comedian. Victoria was brilliant to watch. Subtle, clever and full of witty observations, she had a stellar career and specialised in characterisations of people she knew. Victoria was just amazing to watch, but humble and self deprecating.

And now for two impressionists…..

Rory Bremner

My impressions hero. Rory has had a 35 year career in TV and his impressions are supremely accurate and full of great material. He branched out into the political sphere some years back but it hasn’t stopped him and his biting satire backs up his great skill as an impersonator. Also does a huge amount of work for mental health charities too. Top bloke.

Jon Culshaw

Jon is a very gifted impersonator, again clever, subtle and able to pick out the foibles of his impersonations. He has a great range of voices and is very skilled at his work.

So there you have it. Some wonderful names there. All great performers who I still like to look at on YouTube. Sadly, most of them have passed on, but their skill and brilliance will live on for many years to come.

Yours in comedy.

Ian L. Fullbrook