2 AM Wednesday 25 July 2012 Nunhead Heights

I express my sadness for the people in Aurora, Colorado, who were murdered by a lunatic and my condolences to their friends and families.

221 Avenue B on the left. The Subway used to be a fruit and vegetable shop.

What keeps America great is that the people are armed. Americans can protect themselves against the tyranny of the state. Armed militias and all that, fighting the King and all that. The drawback is that occasionally innocent people die because the citizenry misuses those weapons.

I’m a middle class New Yorker – and always will be no matter how long I live in Nunhead, England – and not some Idaho Mountain Tea Partier. I didn’t grow up with guns but I saw as an adult that Americans need to be armed against the tyranny of the state and the tyranny of their fellow citizens.

New York City has maybe the strictest gun control laws of any place in the USA. At least it did when I lived in Manhattan from 1980 to 1998 and then in Brooklyn until 2000. I read that the United States Congress is trying to overturn the concealed gun carrying laws of New York City – good luck.

Average people, of which I considered myself one, couldn’t get a license to carry a concealed weapon in New York City. At the time I was told there were only 29,000 licensed gun carriers in Manhattan, a borough of  maybe 1.5 million people . I was told this by the drunken liquor store owner in the shop under my apartment building on Avenue B between 13th and 14th Streets as he showed me his pistol. You don’t forget anything a man is telling you when he is showing you his gun.

I remember the time a crackhead tried to borrow five dollars from me in the liquor store to buy nappies for his kid. Or so he said. I would hang out in the liquor store – I used to hang out with everyone back in the day. The owner waved his pistol at him and shooed him off even before I gave him the money. I gave people money back then – beggars, too.

The exterior of my apartment building on B was filmed in the movie Trading Places [1983] to approximate Harlem – and that was when Harlem was bad neighborhood. Avenue B was rough back then. On Avenue B, only the criminals had guns. The rest of us were easy prey.

I remember how vulnerable I felt in New York. I remember the fear when the crackheads were trying to break down the wall into my flat at 221 Avenue B from 219. I wish I had had a Magnum or Glock or something. After ten years on B I moved up to the lower Upper East Side: 249 East 62nd Street and relative safety.

The fear was not that I knew that others had guns but that I knew that they knew I didn’t have a gun.

If you have guns to protect you against the state [should the state go bad] or to protect your country against foreign invaders [the Chinese, say] then enough Americans need to have and carry concealed weapons to put the fear of a concealed weapon in the minds of the no-good-niks who are breaking the law by carrying a concealed weapon.

Chortle, the Comedy Website in the UK calls me “Underrated”

You know I’m feeling stress when I spout gun-toting rhetoric so soon after such a horrendous event.

Last night I did another bad show.

Twenty people came in to my Free until Famous in Soho – which is a lot of people considering the nice weather – and 14 fled at halftime. [The British hate to go inside on a nice day as nice are very, very rare.]

Yes. 14 left. So much for those people recognizing me as the Best Comic in England. But the remaining six loved it. One girl gave me a kiss and I don’t get that when I’m not funny.

I always do bad shows leading up to Edinburgh Festival which starts next Wednesday.

This is the time when I have to stop doing the old jokes which I know work and do the jokes I’m not sure of working. I am not completely rebellious; my main goal is to make people laugh. It’s comedy – not drama.

I took Dale Carnegie Courses back in the ’80s in New York and we had to give a serious two minute talk every week. My instructors suggested I leave out the funny. I didn’t even know I was putting the funny in.

The good news: I have been listed as one the ten most “Underrated” comics at Edinburgh by Chortle. And finally, I’ve been put in some very good company, including Charmian Hughes, Seymore Mace, Liam Mullone, and Pete Johansson. Each one a winner.

8. Lewis Schaffer: No YOU Shut Up

He’s one act where you can understand the lack of mainstream success… this New Yorker’s brashness and self-destructive tendencies mean you’re not guaranteed a smooth ride. But he adheres to Socrates’ maxim ‘an unexamined life is not worth living’ more than most – and combines his neurosis with blunt appraisal of the complacent. Alternative Fringe @ The Hive 16:45 and Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters 20:15 [Chortle]

Next year, I hope to be on the “Top Ten Comics at the Edinburgh Festival” List.

@lewisschaffer on twitter

“Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous” Live in Soho
Every Tuesday & Wednesday 8pm Free Admission until July 25, 2012.
Reserve at www.sourcebelow.com

Nunhead American Radio with Lewis Schaffer
Every Monday 10:30pm
www.resonancefm.com 104.4fm London
On iTunes www.bit.ly/NunheadAmericanRadio

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