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

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

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

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

Emitting a decent Trump…..

This man needs little introduction. It is of course, the current president of the USA, Donald J. Trump.

Like the UK’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, Trump comes out with some comedy gold. For a guy like me, a novice stand up comedian with an impressionistic bent, Trump, like Boris, has recognisable foibles in his voice, his gestures and the general demeanour.

Hence the fact that I’ve been working on a Trump impression for a good few weeks now. I’ve been watching the real thing, learning all the mannerisms and the voice, and also I’ve been tuning into the American hit show, Saturday Night Live, where actor Alec Baldwin nails the Trump persona so perfectly, that it’s hard to distinguish from the real thing.

So at my next online gig, I shall be giving the Donald a little run out to see how it goes. I tried my first effort online yesterday on social media….and here it is…

Not bad is it? Considering that I started impersonating him a few weeks ago, I’ve received some nice feedback. In my armoury, I now have Boris Johnson and Donald Trump to try out, two of the most powerful people in the world, if not the most powerful.

Finally, I leave you with this thought. A dictionary definition of Trump is to emit wind through the anus. Considering that’s the orifice he speaks out of most of the time, I shall endeavour to include most of his inane drivel in my act.

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

My heart went zoom……

Hello. Stand up comedy made a welcome return to my life last night. Via the conferencing app Zoom, I was able to partake in a 2 and a half hour conversation with seven other people.

We talked about our stand up experiences and we shared plenty of jokes and banter, as well as some fresh ideas for getting more publicity, via podcasts and the like. Why the publicity? Because the seven of us have a disability, either mental or physical. And before anyone says that autism isn’t a disability, it is. It’s a lifelong disability.

The guy who presented the meeting was a wonderful guy called Benjamin Elliott or Benny Shakes (his stage name). Benny has cerebral palsy and other underlying health conditions. But this doesn’t stop him from being an amazing human being, and me and Benny have been friends ever since I made my stand up debut back in January of this year, which seems an awfully long time ago.

Benny appeared on the same bill and I was wowed by his brilliant wit and self deprecating humour, with the gift of timing, all important in comedy. We keep in touch a lot and this disabled comedians Zoom meeting is a great idea to share our experiences.

I’ve not been all that well for most of this year, and I was looking for some inspiration and some laughs, and I got that last night. It was a great boost to my flagging fortunes….and it was also time to wheel out my impressions of Julian Clary, Chris Tarrant, Boris Johnson and X Factor Voiceover man, Peter Dickson. The others enjoyed the impressions and I’m very grateful for that.

I’ve just missed the live stand up, the vibe and the laughter of the audiences. But I will return stronger and better than ever. My momentum got stopped but of course, by something that we will never forget, the Covid 19 pandemic. But nothing lasts forever, and I’m itching to get back into it and to meet up with some of the other acts, who I’m in awe of.

Joining us last night was the guy that gave me my debut, Mark Burkwood, himself a stand up comic of more experience than me. I’ll always be eternally grateful for his faith in me, and it was good to hook up with him again, and he’s promised me a spot at either a virtual gig or the next available live audience one. Can’t wait.

All in all, a terrific evening and looking forward to the next one in a fortnight.

Yours in comedy,

Ian L. Fullbrook

A lockdown blog post….and how it’s impacted on my mental health

www.sane.org.uk/how_you_can_help/blogging/show_blog/2353

Would be delighted if you gave this a read….

Ian L. Fullbrook

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