Norwich, Blueprint, Dating, And More!!!

Posted October 1st 2013

 

I haven't discussed my new health kick in detail here. But honestly, my physical and spiritual wellbeing are through the roof since the Fringe. I've felt sad only twice in the last month (both for relatively poor reasons, admittedly), and I lay credit for that largely down to the fact that I'm trying very hard to give up sugar (don't miss sweets at all, do miss fizzy pop and am finding it a struggle) and have been replacing it with these herbal pills. So I'm feeling champion, and have been using my month since the Fringe to be as productive as possible, to start actively working on a number of projects I've been incubating for a long time and to start getting my brain in gear for next year's show by gigging as much as possible, seeing as my ideas for what I want that show to be involve shifting into a new way of thinking ever so slightly. All feels like it's going well so far. Oh, and I've been eating a lot of salads and the other day I even ate fish and liked it. Anyway, I thought I'd update all you loyal fans with the latest on a few things of more immediate relevance.

 

Saturday saw myself, John Kearns and Pat Cahill return to the University of East Anglia in Norwich, the bosom and wellspring of our respective comedy careers which have seen at least two of us spring to widespread acclaim and recognition (my day will come). Here we are all happy to be back and excited to be performing:

Pat started up the Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club in, I think, 2006 along with fellow comic Tom Moran, who now lives in Devon and writes excellent comedy sci-fi novels. Over the years, LOL passed through the hands of several "curators," among them myself, John, playwright Jon Brittain and Scott Brown, who is now in charge of UEA's Drama Studio or something like that, I've not bothered to ask him his actual job title. So it was with great pleasure that the three of us, at Scott's behest, set off back to Norwich for a one-off reunion gig as part of a day-long festival celebrating UEA's 50th anniversary, also featuring plays by Jon Brittain and performances from Arthur Smith, Nina Conti and Eddie Izzard. It was a real honour to be part of a festival with such prestigious names involved and to play to a sell-out crowd all there to celebrate the talent that's come through UEA over the years. Not only that, it was also long-overdue opportunity to catch up with old friends who I hadn't seen in too long and who were all part of the medley of elements that made my time at UEA so special. The fact that I had to wait thirty minutes for a brioche bun with pulled pork in it, got blown up by a fake volcano full of fireworks and ended up sprinting out of a burning forest, and nearly got tricked into having a threesome are such minor nuisances that they don't even begin to take the shine off a lovely day back in the fold.

 

Sunday saw the return of Weirdos Comedy Club with a new night called Blueprint, which takes all the daftness and anarchy and stupidity that Weirdos has come to be known for and articulated and framed it slightly differently. I've been working with Weirdos for a little over a year now, and have to say that Blueprint was honestly the best thing Weirdos has ever pulled off. It's a night that's always been full of colour and invention and imagintion, but on Sunday, thanks to all the weird little implacable things that can change the energy of a performance that it's difficult to pin down, it felt warmer, friendlier, fresher, more vibrant and exciting than ever before, and I can't wait to continue moving in that direction with those guys, who really are some of the most brilliantly inventive and fun and clever comics around. Here's me and Ben Target playing Chandler and Ross in our production of "Friends: The Film: The Play:"

The next Blueprint night will be at the Weirdos' new home, the Lion in Stoke Newington, on Sunday 27th October. Unfortunately, I won't be able to be there due to my going to see Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds in Hammersmith that night, but hopefully I'll be present at the next one, and I'll also be on hand at the Weirdos' Spooky Christmas night on Hallowe'en at the same venue to chill the blood of anybody brave enough to attend.

 

A couple of other projects to report on - firstly, one that must continue to remain ever so slightly shrouded in mystery for now, which is an idea for an online webseries I've been developing since July. It's in the early stages of development and I'll be pitching it to producers to hopefully develop it professionally, so I don't want to give away too much about it, but essentially the idea consists of me going to my What Not Podcast co-conspitaor Karl Schultz for dating advice and then attempting to enact it. Currently, the script for the pilot episode is complete and we should be filming it sometime in November, so perhaps early in 2014 I'll have more news on what the project's future will be. Based on the material I've assembled for it so far, and the direction I want to push it in, I think it'll be something very funny and daft and stupid while also hopefully being very honest and human and relateable. You'll get to see it one day, I promise. Currently it's under the working title of "A Savant's Guide To Dating," though I've been told this sounds pretentious and I should call it "Heartthrob," which I also like. Thoughts on a postcard please.

 

I've also been cast as the main villain in a new mockumentary being produced by Sam Wilder at UCA Maidstone, for whom I was the host of the panel show "Punchlines" back in May, which was a really fun experience. I have very little information at present, and also don't know how much I'm allowed to give away, but I'm looking forward to working on it come November. And finally, just a big thank you to Christopher Green and everybody else who worked on "This Show Has No Name." It's a show I referred to cryptically a few times here that I was involved with, and I'll continue to be cryptic about it because the nature of the show means it works best if you go in not knowing what to expect. The show will be touring around various regional theatres in 2014 and may also be coming back to London at some point, and from my own involvement with it, I'd urge you all to go and see it somewhere near you if you can. It's a really fascinating and bold and exciting project, as well as being great fun, and I had a blast doing my part for it.

 

That's all my news for now, I think. Viva UEA, Viva Weirdos, Viva that dating webseries, and so on and so on. Peace.