12:08 PM Tuesday 10 April 2012 Nunhead Heights
I spent Monday night in the company of three old-time London Jewish legends – comic Ivor Dembina, a curry on Brick Lane, and a salt beef beigel for the way home.
London beigels do not taste like New York bagels – they are chewier and smaller – but they are as delicious – maybe more delicious because I don’t associate them with my family battling each other over Sunday breakfast.
And they’re cheap: 25p (40 cents) for a beigel. The Brick Lane Beigel Bakery sells a slab of apple streudel for 60p. The Asian-looking dude in front of me asked twice for the price and then asked for a second slice when he believed it really was 60p. Cheap is always delicious.
The curry place was overpriced even with the “20% Discount” they gave us without our asking.
Spending time with Ivor is like being married only better.
He tells me I’m a disappointment and that I’m frustrating which makes me think he cares about me. He doesn’t demand sex and I have the freedom to walk away at the end of the night.
At least Ivor says he doesn’t want sex from me. You never know in this country who is gay. I have never seen such ugly and badly dressed gay guys as I have in Britain. I mean, what is the point of being gay if you’re going to be gross looking? A woman will love an ugly man but will a dude? Come on guys!
He was thinking about my “show” last night at the Kings Arms.
“This blog thing” shouts Ivor “no one cares! You’re wasting your time. The comedy industry wants to know if you’re funny on stage – all the promotion in the world isn’t going to make you funny. Stop writing that shit and write some jokes. What do you want to be Lewis: Funny and respected by your peers or annoying?”
Me, meekly, “Annoying?”
“No, you schmuck. You want to be funny and respected!” Ivor yells.
Ivor knows comedy. He runs a comedy show at that Hampstead Comedy Club. He knows everything if you ask him.
“Last night at the Kings Arms you weren’t being a comic… you were just attention seeking.”
My ex-wife used to say the same thing. I asked her where she first laid eyes on me. It was on stage. What do you think I was doing there? Of course I am an attention seeker.
“The black guy thing was funny” – where I ironically drew attention to the handsome black man in the front row by screaming ‘Black guy! There’s a black guy here!’ – “but why did you have to keep going back to him? And to start with that paralysed bit you do – Jerry Sadowitz can do that. You can’t pull that off – you’re basically a nice guy. It either confuses the audience or makes them not like you.”
He was frustrated with me – he’s been frustrated with me for the 12 years I’ve known him. He says I am funny and that I am throwing it all away.
I tell him I don’t want to just make people laugh. If I had to do that I rather drive a truck. And people don’t want to just laugh – they want to feel something. And that comedy comes from annoying people -from making them feel uncomfortable. And that I am the best comic in England.
“Now that’s annoying. Be funny and then you can be annoying all you want. Tell the jokes, Lewis. You can’t get funny out of being annoying.”
Good point, I think.
Oh, and he hates the name for my early slot Edinburgh Show – Lewis Schaffer is Free after 40 – Free admission for the over 40s. “You’re cutting off half your audience and no one will come. Get rid of it. Call it ‘Lewis Schaffer: Annoying’.
Now I have a day to think of a new idea or it’s ‘Lewis Schaffer: Annoying’. Any ideas?
Listen to Lewis Schaffer on the Radio Nunhead American Radio with Lewis Schaffer every Monday evening at 10:30PM on www.resonancefm.com and 104.4fm London. Or listen to the show’s podcasts at bit.ly/NunheadAmericanRadio
See Lewis Schaffer live every Tuesday and Wednesday at the Source Below. Free admission. Reserve at bit.ly/londonfreeshow