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

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

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

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

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