Back to the beginning….

It’s been another difficult spell for me mentally, so a consequence of that is that I’ve withdrawn temporarily from the stand up comedy world. Not been in the best frame of mind. One gig had to be binned because I was struggling. Lockdown weariness I think it’s called.

But I thought it was time to return to the beginning, when I did my first live gig in January 2020. That night, I stood there as UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and it went really well.

I hadn’t done a complete impression set for a while so thought I would do so last night at another online gig where I made my debut just recently. I felt in the right frame of mind too, as a recent stressful event concluded to my satisfaction and I was ready to go.

I looked at the line up. I was on second to last. The standard was excellent as usual and I was a little nervous. I had the script and the Boris wig to hand, but…….

The MC, who did a superb job, caught me slightly unawares by cutting to me early. I was fiddling around getting my virtual background to work, when she said “Ian Fullbrook”. Aaaaargh. What a start. I got the background up, the wig on and the promoter then told me my sound was off. A fleeting thought that this will bomb horribly, but no.

After that slight problem, I settled in, the voice was good, the material was good and the laughter was sweet music once again. And boy did I need that pick me up. What did settle me down was the promoter involving me in his magic set at the start of the second half. He is a very accomplished magician and the banter between us had the audience in stitches….totally unplanned and unscripted but fantastic to be involved. His magic trick was a mind reading one and the end result had us all in raptures.

The after show saw some interesting discussion around mental health. I poured out my soul to the remaining audience about the problems I’ve been having. It was very therapeutic and good to get some kind and supportive words too.

This morning, the promoter got in touch and again, was very supportive and kind with his words about my set. Others have got in touch too and I feel lighter. The feeling when a stressful event ends is like nothing else. You feel so much better, as though you’re breathing in clean air. I have peace and quiet around me for the foreseeable future and I am so pleased.

So back on the comedy horse again and pleased to be doing so. Looking forward to performing live in front of an audience when these lockdown restrictions are further lifted here in the UK. Also the weather has been fabulous the last few days here in London so that is an enormous boost to the well being.

Take care.

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

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

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

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

Time to speak up….

Everyone has a story. Everyone should be heard. Let’s talk about mental health on World Mental Health Day 2019. Wherever you are, let’s help each other.

A.S.D Brooks

A.S.D Brooks in the European Union….

For your information, I’m not going to have a referendum!!! This is a matter of where my blog is being viewed today, namely UK, Belgium, Austria, Netherlands, Ireland, Cyprus, Germany and Denmark. No proroguing going on here, just good folk in those afore mentioned countries tuning in to any cogent thoughts I may have from time to time.

I vote remain!!! Ha ha!

A.S.D Brooks