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

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

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

Rotten apples in the barrel….

Hi. How are we all doing? I’ve perked up after a very difficult three months and life is a little better. Stand up comedy nights are obviously not happening at the moment, but with technology and social media so prevalent these days, there are virtual comedy nights going round.

I’ve been invited to perform at a couple of these virtual nights but haven’t done so so far. It’s a good job I didn’t link up to the last one as regrettably, it fell prey to online hackers who, in their game of pass the brain cell around, decided to wreck the night and cause it to be abandoned.

As we know, there’s always the rotten apples in the barrel that spoil it for everyone else. And it wasn’t the only incident to happen last week. Another stand up promoter had his online stand up night wrecked in exactly the same fashion.

The upshot is that security will be much more stringent and that will hopefully keep the idiots at bay. We live in very strained times, what with the Covid 19 pandemic and race issues coming to the surface. Everyone is edgy and jittery and the pressure cooker is just about this side of blowing up completely. That’s why we need comedy to keep us smiling and in a good mood. Unfortunately, some don’t share those values.

I’ll take part in a future virtual night once I feel able to get the creative juices flowing and to enjoy the experience. Meanwhile, it’s good to feel a little better generally after a very difficult spell for me personally.

Yours in comedy

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

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

Calmness amongst the turbulence…

Turbulent day weather wise here in London. Lashing rain showers, angry dark skies and a cold, strong wind. Autumn is here folks! While standing at the bus stop watching the leaves being blown about in various directions, I thought it was time to reflect.

Reflect on the turbulence that has tried to throw me completely off course in 2019. But here I still am, despite that. In the last month, I have felt much better and calmer, more relaxed and enjoying life again. I’ve had a great and revitalising holiday. I’ve enjoyed my volunteering stints and being involved once again with spreading the word on mental health. I’ve enjoyed the end of the cricket season, especially watching Essex, my home county, winning the County Championship and the T20 competitions in the space of a week.

It was good to see my CBT counsellor today and explained why I feel so different. Then I went out and about, in the not so glorious weather, bought a book and a warm jumper for winter and then had a bite of lunch.

I feel so good that I am really looking forward to umpiring indoor cricket tomorrow morning. I haven’t umpired indoors for a few years now but I’m looking forward to the challenge. I think back to that day on Praia Da Oura beach in Portugal when all the upset and stress ebbed away and into the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. Amazing difference in that space of time.

Yep, looking forward to having a good and productive winter where I can get back to doing the things I enjoy, and that I can ignore the darkness and the cold of the season. It won’t be easy, but I’m ready for the challenge.

A.S.D Brooks