The Big Step Up…..

I’ve done six gigs so far, two live in front of an audience and four since lockdown. I’ve been encouraged to try my hand at another online comedy gig here in the UK, and it took me some while to take the plunge.

And so to last night. I’ve been tuning into this particular one to get a feel of what is required and what the quality of the acts are like. It is a very slickly run production, and the acts are top quality.

Considering I fell into this stand up lark by accident a year ago, I cannot believe I’m performing on the same stage as some very fine acts. I think “Is this really happening?” Yes, it’s like some spectacular dream, and I haven’t woken up yet.

I was extremely nervous, but I took the time and trouble to practise the set yesterday afternoon. It worked well, and when it was time to get going, I tuned in and there I was – on third in the first half. The nerves were building. I had amazing support from a lot of my contemporaries but being a newish kind of audience, I still had those nagging self doubts.

And then, my name was up in lights…..I was on. I took the trouble to wear a nice black polo neck jumper and a joke just came into my head “Hi Ladies and Gents….I’ve just been delivering some Milk Tray chocolates…, just got back”.

That settled me in, the laughter was there and I was away. Tripped over a couple of punchlines, only slightly, nobody seemed to notice, but the material was sound and the jokes were hitting their target. This felt the most amazing feeling ever. Nothing can beat this when it goes well. The positive comments I was getting on the Zoom chat just blew me away.

I even threw in a brief impression of UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. That was well received and I hope to develop that further at future evenings.

The great feedback kept on rolling in afterwards and this morning from the promoter. Great compliment to say how well I did, considering that’s only my seventh gig in total. I also take part to learn from others, on how to do it, and how not to do it. I never stop listening and learning.

So I didn’t get a lot of sleep….as the adrenaline was still running round. This is one helluva feeling. And I want more of it!

Stay safe

Yours in comedy,

Ian L. Fullbrook

A little bit of genius….

Hi. It’s the middle of winter here in the UK, and to complicate the lockdown, we’ve had some freezing weather to make us feel a bit more low…..until….

Every so often something happens or you see something that will stay with you for a very long time. Last night, I was an audience member for another online comedy gig (I’m performing next week….of which more later) and as usual the standard of the acts was extremely stratospheric!

A chap come on at the end of the first half, with jam jar bottom spectacles, train spotter look, and a train spotter voice. His stage name….Kevin the Nerd.

It was a harmless enough start, with some amusing stuff about Kevin working in the IT department of a zoo. But then the set took an unexpected and frankly, awe inspiringly funny turn.

Kevin transmorphed into a small puppet and proceeded to tell us about his love life. Along comes a female puppet, and this proceeds until from stage left, comes a crocodile to eat up the female. Cue gales of laughter from the audience. The giggles had already started for me, and they were to multiply….

If that wasn’t enough, Kevin met another female puppet and there then followed a sex scene which was sheer joy from a comedy point of view. The bit that got me was the fact the female puppet was sitting on Kevin’s face during the intercourse….by this time the laughter had built up to such a crescendo you just wouldn’t believe.

Absolute genius. I will nominate it as one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen, so original, so dark and so cleverly done. If it is topped this year, I want to be there. Everybody was breathless, sides aching from the laughter and really how do you follow that? Not easy.

Once again, a superb night and I’m so glad I’ve joined up to watch and perform. On that note, I’ve been accepted to perform next week. I can’t hope to match Kevin the Nerd, but I’m determined to give it a good go. Just need to get down to business and write my set. The whole ambience and atmosphere of the night is a sheer joy, and that is down to the promoter and his MC’s for engendering that.

I cannot wait to get on stage next week, but take a bow, Kevin the Nerd!

Yours in comedy,

Ian L. Fullbrook

Who needs medication when you can have laughter?

It’s been a tough few months for me personally. The depths of winter, the cold, dark days and the continuation of Covid 19 lockdown here in London has led to a downturn in my well being. I was not communicating with friends, family or stand up comedy colleagues. I wanted to wallow and keep out of the way.

Even earlier this week, I felt pretty abject. But all of a sudden, like a switch being flicked, I feel better again. And so that leads onto the latest online stand up comedy gig that I did last night.

This particular night is regularly frequented by me, and I had a fresh lot of material to try out. During the day, the anxieties and the panic were overtaking me, and I was even considering withdrawing from the event. But in the end, I was glad I took part.

The audience was about 40 strong, and the other acts were enormously strong and enormously good. I had to match that quality…..and all the anxieties stopped once I began.

I was thrown a bit of a curve ball by the host! I wanted to do a Donald Trump impression right at the end of my set (topical, keep it fresh!) and I was all prepared for that, when suddenly, the host said that Trump was to open my set! Eeeeek!!! So I had to think quickly. The wig was more or less plonked on my head along with the Make America Great Again (some mistake surely?) baseball hat and I had to get into the impression quickly.

And with that improvisation, I was away. The audience were laughing away and I was eased into the set. The rest of the set were jokes, interspersed with the occasional bit of observation, and again, the audience were laughing away. I was even interacting with them, I felt that confident and that good.

Got a lot of excellent feedback and it’s always nice to get that validation off the other acts. One of the acts, an American lady who now lives in London, said that my Trump impersonation was spot on. Blimey! The adrenaline was running round me and the whole night was a tremendous buzz. Nothing can take away the sound of people laughing with me, rather than at me.

Took me a long while to get to sleep, and I feel very good this morning! As I’ve mentioned before, this stand up comedy was something I fell into by complete accident. Not a path I would ever have chosen. But how it’s kept me going through some very low moments these last 12 months.

Laughter is the best medicine.

Yours in comedy

Stay safe

Ian L. Fullbrook

Salvaging something from the wreckage……

As we all no doubt too aware, 2020 has been a shocking year. Covid 19 continues to be an ever present danger and in the UK, restrictions are tighter than ever in an effort to combat it’s already virulent spread.

The run up to Christmas has been very traumatic, with the final curve ball being thrown by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who did a U turn and scrapped the Christmas plans that were already in place. Of course, a lot of people were angry, upset, disappointed but what I’m seeing and hearing today is that people are making the most of the day.

I, for one, cannot see my partner as she has to shield, and the idea of seeing my immediate family (six of them) has to be shelved for this year. For all that, I don’t feel too bad as I’ve been in contact with a fair few people already today. Two friends popped round yesterday with seasons greetings and a gift each. Today, another friend is popping round with a Christmas dinner. The kindness that has been shown is something that I will always treasure. Seeing my sister tomorrow for a Boxing Day catch up.

So, I’m making the best of the wreckage that lays all around us. I’m in regular touch with my stand up comedy colleagues, and am grateful for their support over the last year. We should all be thankful for getting through to today and to be with family members, and to have your health and sanity, which has been put to the test in 2020.

Cannot wait to start performing stand up again in 2021, so all that remains for me is to wish you all a Happy Christmas, keep smiling and laughing if you can, and above all, stay safe.

With love from

Ian L. Fullbrook

Time for a freshen up…..

It’s been a month since my last online stand up comedy gig and to be honest, last month didn’t go as well as planned. I did a Donald Trump impression and though it was respectable, it didn’t get the reaction I was hoping for.

So, time to freshen things up a little. I then decided to write a comedy routine where I just do jokes instead of an impression. It was a little bit of a risk, but I think it was a risk worth taking. Nothing ventured and all that.

And so on to last night. Another top quality line up of acts and little old me. If you said to me this time last year that I would be welcomed into the stand up comedy world with open arms, I would have said that you have taken leave of your senses.

However, one year on, and here we are. The jokes went well, they hit the spot perfectly and the audience, and one or two of the other acts liked the set. I was really pleased with how it went. The calculated gamble paid off. The seven or eight minutes passed by in a pure adrenaline rush.

With the quality of the other acts on show, I feel very flattered to be included in such high company. Things are moving forward, albeit slowly, and that next gig in front of a live audience is approaching. I can’t wait for that to happen, and I’m sure my fellow acts would agree.

I felt as though I made some enormous strides last night. By rolling the dice, the act went well. I don’t just want to be known as an impressionist, I need some other avenues to explore. And last night was a great start.

Yours in comedy.

Ian L. Fullbrook

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

Shed no tiers for the new lockdown measures…..

Hi folks. My location, London, along with the neighbouring county, Essex have been placed into Tier 2 Covid-19 measures, meaning that I’ll be on my own for a while, unable to mix with others in their houses or to meet them in a pub or restaurant.

Nothing much comedic in that paragraph you may think, and you would be right. But this “temporary” lockdown will give me a chance to design another set for my next online performance. As you may remember, the last gig didn’t go so well, so I’m going to try something different. Just me, no silly voices, no wigs, trying to be funny without resorting to mimicry.

Hopefully it’ll work, because there needs to be an improvement. A change is as good as a rest so they say, so I’ve drafted a set to perform and I’ll add or subtract material as I see fit. Worth a go, as I don’t want to be known as a one trick pony.

But on the subject of mimicry, a couple of stand up colleagues want to do a sketch with me, with me as Boris Johnson, and of course his strategy for dealing with Covid-19. That’s something to look forward to. Live gigs in front of an audience is looking distant at this stage. Online it has to be for the time being. If this “temporary” lockdown turns things around then all well and good. Sadly, I won’t be able to mix with those nearest and dearest to me. Everything comes to an end, and let’s all hope Covid-19 does one and sods off quick. It’s been a depressing year, and those feelings won’t disappear before year end.

Still, got to keep busy on the comedy front, and looking forward to performing my brand new set soon. Then I may go back to impressions. Trying to control the controllables.

For now, keep smiling

Yours in comedy,

Ian L. Fullbrook

A Comedians Podcast

Hello. Yesterday evening I took part in a podcast with several of my stand up partners in crime. It was World Mental Health Day of course and the podcast was part of a series of online events that one of my places I volunteer for had running yesterday.

We discussed coping strategies, what keeps us well and why comedy helps us to stay creative during these very difficult times. Mental illness should be talked about everyday, not just one day every October. It was an excellent group and the podcast worked extremely well, save for a few minutes at the end when I experienced some sound problems and everyone sounded like they’d ingested some helium!

People tuned in across various social media platforms and we had comments from people during the live podcast. If we could help just one person feel better about their day, then we were doing our job. It’s such a shame that we all would have been involved more socially but for this Covid pandemic.

That’s why, during this Covid dictated time, that we all take time out to check our own mental health and of those around us. It was a delight to be involved yesterday, and I look forward to more podcasts and interaction around mental health. We comedians can be serious too!

Yours in comedy,

Ian L. Fullbrook

Others liked it…though I didn’t…

It was my fourth stand up comedy gig last night and my second online. Suffice it to say that I got extremely worked up over the previous couple of days.

Doing an online gig brings it’s own pressures and difficulties. I have been working on a Donald Trump impression that had, and I use the word “had” advisedly, worked well in previous practices. All good in rehearsal……

In a previous blog post, I alluded to a dream where I bombed horribly and nobody laughed at the set. That sort of came true last night. The stomach was turning and I probably got too overwrought. The Trump voice seemed to morph into more of my own voice at times and I seemed quite unhappy and disappointed with the set when it finished. The other Zoom members probably saw me shaking my head….it should have been a lot better.

Maybe I’m setting myself unachievable targets, too much of a perfectionist. Every joke seemed to miss it’s target and the impression was below par. Out of the four gigs, that was my worst.

The standard of the evening was again very high and I felt honoured to be in such good company. Going to try something a bit different next time I think….if I’m asked. All comedians, even pro ones, have off nights where the jokes don’t hit their targets. I couldn’t hear much laughter, maybe there was, I was probably too focused to notice. It all seemed a bit surreal.

Got a few flattering remarks afterwards which was nice, but on balance, undeserved. But that’s me, I don’t have a lot of self belief right from a young age, and that’s permeated into my adult life. Maybe I’m trying too hard and need to relax a lot more.

Lots to learn and lots of tips to pick up from other comedians. It’s all a massive learning curve.

Yours in comedy,

Ian L. Fullbrook

Follow my blog here at asdbrooks.wordpress.com

World Mental Health Day….Saturday 10th October 2020

www.instagram.com/tv/CGKFp4RHgGU/

It’s important in this quite extraordinary year, to talk about mental health and to help each other. I’ve asked two of my friends, Boris Johnson and Donald Trump, to speak to the nation regarding this great event.

Remember to make that first step and talk to someone, be it a friend, family member or a professional. No one should suffer in silence.

Yours in comedy and mental health,

Ian L. Fullbrook