Stewart Lee, Daniel Kitson, Josie Long and Lewis Schaffer in the same show.

3PM Thursday 23 January 2014 Nunhead Heights

Wait for it.

I will be the final act on the four-comic Resonance FM benefit show RESOFIT Friday February 14, 2014 Valentine’s Day  at the Bloomsbury Theatre.

I will be on the bill with Josie Long, Daniel Kitson and Stewart Lee. That is it.

‘Look at the picture. What is wrong with the picture?’ Me, that’s what’s wrong.  I don’t belong. Or do I?

I could quote Kitson in answering: Should I be in the company of the brightest luminaries of British Alternative Comedy? “Fuck yeah!!!” I’m Lewis Schaffer!

Buy tickets here: http://www.thebloomsbury.com/event/run/1891

People have called me a miserablist but my world view is more complicated than that. I do feel joy but only through misery. And I feel misery through joy. Okay, that is not much more complicated.

Please buy your tickets.

Speaking of alternative comedy – The Establishment Club, the anti-establishment club for The Establishment which has been re-established after a fifty-year hiatus, has asked me to do something, I am not sure what. The show starts at 3PM Sunday at Bentley’s in Mayfair.

Keith Allen will be MC with comic Jerry Sadowitz interviewing atheist curmudgeon Richard Dawkins. This, itself, will be worth the price of admission. Plus wildman Terry Alderton – presently on EastEnders – and live music. Oh, and me.

Founder Peter Cook won’t be able to make it because he’s delayed by death.

I will be missing my son’s football match for this. Details at http://establishmentclub.co.uk/

Finally, my pay-in-advance show at the Leicester Square Theatre - Lewis Schaffer: American in London - is fast approaching – first date of the new season is Sunday 2 February 2014.

Why anyone would want to pay £10 to see me, or even want to see me for free, I don’t know. And I mean that.

Then again, why wouldn’t you want to see me? Me, who is on the same bills as Stewart Lee, Daniel Kitson, Josie Long, Jerry Sadowitz, Keith Allen, Terry Alderton, and RICHARD DAWKINS?!?!?

I’m Lewis Schaffer! Get buying.

http://leicestersquaretheatre.ticketsolve.com/shows/873490934/events

If I you ask me which show to see, if you could only see one show, I wouldn’t be able to make a decision and would be unhappy.

So see all three.

And get your USA and UK taxes prepared at britishamericantax.com – tax people of Lewis Schaffer!

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Posted in Comedy, Nunhead Radio

Today is the most miserable day of the year which is why I am so happy.

3PM Monday 20th January 2014 Nunhead Heights

This week is supposedly the most depressing week of the year – the third week in January. And today is supposed to be the most miserable – Blue Monday.

I am bummed out – as we used to say in the ’60s – but I feel that way every day. I actually feel a bit less depressed today knowing that others are sharing in my mood. This is the day for misery what New Year’s Eve is for being happy. It is for amateurs.

Last week, though, was exceptionally miserable.

I messed up on the dates of my tour and double-booked myself into Carmarthen, Wales on February 8th. If you were planning on seeing me there, don’t. I am very sorry for the inconvenience I have caused. I have so few gigs, mainly because I do so little to get gigs, and feel horrible that I have messed up one. It was completely Schafferian of me.

Last Tuesday, Ben Williams – the comedy man of Time Out magazine and website – came to my show at the Source Below and I decide to die, spectacularly. Also very Schafferian of me.

Ben has been a big supporter of mine and if you were there, you knew it wasn’t the best of comedy experiences. Maybe you thought it was the best, depending on how desperate you enjoy seeing your comedian.

I was in a mood to begin with.

My beloved Stefano, the Landlord of the Source, had just told me he was hanging up his wine glasses for the last time and to expect a new Landlord.

The main Landlord, Gerard, [Stefano's freeholder] was coming to talk to me and see the show. What good could that bring? He hasn’t seen me in a while. Was I to be fired?

Then, the number people in the audience were the lowest it had been in a year – and we’ve been very busy lately. Not to mention I was a bit fluish, and hyped-up as a meth-head after watching 20 straight hours of Breaking Bad. I was running around as if the Cartel was after me. The result was bleak.

I hope Ben doesn’t come to his senses and think “What was I doing recommending Lewis Schaffer?”

Click here to read 30 reviews on the Time Out website of the show. And please write a review yourself.

Today it hit me that on February 2nd – Sunday – I will be doing my big show at the Leicester Square Theatre – and no one knows about it.

My paid shows are different from the free shows – something about paying for it in advance makes it different. I cannot say better, but different and just as worth it. Remember, my shows were sold out last season, so get up and buy a ticket for Lewis Schaffer: American in London.

One bit of good news: My UK tax people – Liz and Pav at British American Tax -  told me that I owe the HMRC money for 2012/2013. Not a lot, but something. It is a sign that I am doing better. We will see how long that lasts.

On the radio news front:

Last week, super-famous actor [among children and young adults] Connor Byrne – Mike Milligan, MBE, of Tracy Beaker fame – visited my NUNHEAD AMERICAN RADIO show. Click here to listen. It’s brilliant, as I have been told.

Tonight – Monday 20th January 2014 at 6:30 PM UK time or 1:30 PM NYC time – our guests will be madman comedian Bob Slayer. Resonance 104.4FM and resonancefm.com.

Oh, Gerard told me I could stay at the Source as long as I want, so that was a bit of good news. Not that it will make me happy, though.

Follow me on twitter: @lewisschaffer

Please use the businesses that support Lewis Schaffer:

Delicious fresh food at Carbon Restaurant at 78 Brewer Street W1F 9TY for all your food needs.

All your tax needs will be met with BritishAmericanTax.Com – ask for Liz.

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Posted in Comedy, Nunhead Radio

What Candy Crush can teach you about life.

12:07AM Friday 20 December 2013 Nunhead Heights

I am on Level 79 of CANDY CRUSH, the phone app game.

I have completed 78 puzzles – plus additional puzzles called ‘Quests’. I am stuck on 79 right now, with spreading chocolate glop stopping my progress to Level 80.

When (and if) I complete this level, I will rejoice. I will feel deep satisfaction. I’ll be relieved. A victory! Lovely!

I always feel that – at least for a few moments.

Then onto the next level.

And on and on I will go.

A friend is on Level 97. I envy her. She completed Level 79 and must be happier than I am. But she seems fraught when talking about CANDY CRUSH. She is just as miserable as I am and she should be so happy.

So CANDY CRUSH is like life.

We forget about our successes and we might as well not have started, we’re going to be just as miserable no matter how many times we win, and in the end we will have nothing to show for it.

 

[I should have left the house tonight. My dopamine level must be very low - whatever dopamine is. And I should stop playing that stupid game.]

This is a link to something about games addiction. I haven’t looked at it but I thought it would seem nice of me if I attached it. How to fight computer game addiction. ]

Reserve your seat for my show at the Source Below. Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous. I have been told I am often brilliant. 

USA or UK taxes need preparation? Go to BritishAmericanTax.com. Competent. 

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Posted in Psychology

The best things about Britain, according to New York comic Lewis Schaffer. Can you believe it?

3:13 AM Thursday 19th December 2013 Nunhead Heights

I am going to stick to writing this in 30 minutes. If it is rubbish, I can blame it on the time and on Richard Herring, who writes something readable in 30 minutes. Read his blog here. 

The Green Belt is absolutely the best thing about Britain.

The Green Belt and tea. Tea, not coffee. The Green Belt, tea and football relegation and promotion. That and rock hard penises. That is from my comedy act. The ‘rock hard…’ I use another word on stage. It doesn’t read as funny now as when I say it in darkened club. Forgive me.

Those, and that the family courts don’t make a father pay too much money for the children he isn’t allowed to see. I mean his own children. If you don’t believe me, read of the man who had 82 court judgments against the mother of his children and she broke every single one. Read about it here. [This bit isn't a 'best thing' about Britain, I'm just shoehorning it in.]

But back to the Green Belt.

The Green Belt is land that has been reserved outside 13 cities of Britain – or what Americans would call cities – to curb development. In Britain, you can’t call a place a city, no matter how dense and populated it is, unless it has a Cathedral and been anointed by the Queen as a “City”. Check my facts before you quote me.

Around these 13 places there has been a perimeter of land set aside in the 1930s, I believe, that prevents councils [city government] from allowing development and urban sprawl. How great is that?

The Green Belt is why can one be in ugly suburban London – in Caterham or Coulsdon, say – and then wham, suddenly one is in the beautiful Surrey or Kent countryside, in a sandbox on a hill in beautiful Godstone Farm, being headbutted by a cow.

In New York City, my old home town, the urbanised, suburbanised and growing exurbanised zone grows and grows, making county and after county ugly with little pink houses for you and me, to quote Indianan John Cougar.

It takes two hours of hard driving out of Manhattan to get into the country. I can think of only one place in the States that has a Green Belt – which is Portland, Oregon, considered by many the most livable city in the country. [I haven't checked this because I am on a time deadline. ]

There are plans to build on fields and in woods outside of British cities.

Any plan to loosen regulations on building on the green fields makes me sad. And they shouldn’t build on ‘brown fields’ either  just because there was once a factory or an airport there. Those fields are probably very green now, too.

So I  say to my adopted country: Stop It!

Don’t build on the Green Belt or on any open land. And stop drinking coffee, while you’re at it. It doesn’t suit you.  And keep relegation and promotion in football. And keep having rock hard… Sorry.

[Future posts on who benefits from urban sprawl.]

Reserve seats for my show 7th January 2014. Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous in London. Free admission comedy – you get what you pay for, or maybe more. 

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Posted in Life in Britain

2013: My best year in more than a decade and why that is bad news. Plus links to this week’s radio show.

1 AM Wednesday 18 December 2013 Nunhead Heights

First, the paperwork:

The other day I called my resumption to post writing “warming up” after Richard Herring’s name for his blog. I was promptly told I shouldn’t call it that as it is proprietary to Richard Herring. Read Richard Herring’s blog.

Well, that was the point.

Don’t you think Mr. Hoover was happier to be known as a verb for vacuuming than to be put in the recesses of history for just inventing the vacuum cleaner? I am not even sure he invented the vacuum cleaner. I thought I was doing Richard Herring an honour to make him a verb.

Here is the News (Can I call it that?)

Nunhead Radio ended the year with a run of amazingly entertaining shows. We had Munnery, Herring, Wehn, Howie, Ashdown, and Gordillo, to name a few celebrities . Plus, we had many interesting Nunhead people, who I have forgotten.

What the point of the radio show is, I do not know. If you know, please tell me. All I know, it is fun to do and seems listenable.

You can listen to Monday’s show here: Comic Josh Howie and Major Alan Norton from the Nunhead division of the Salvation Army.

And here is last week’s show with Richard Herring.

Other radio episodes are available on FeedBurner and iTunes.

The Year in Review:

I can’t remember the last time I thought that a year was good. Maybe in 2000 when I got married and came to London? Oh no. Expect next year to be dreadful. As the Zen master says: Just wait. What is good today is bad tomorrow.

The High Points:

German Jonathan Schwab made a film of me at the Source Below that was genuinely great. Watch  it here.

I did my biggest show in over ten years at the Bloomsbury Theatre at the request of Stewart Lee and it went brilliantly. Read about it here from Bruce Dessau. See part of it here, filmed by Laura Synthesis.

I had my first sell out paid show, ever, this year. Ever. After 20 years of hacking it I sold out the last show of the year at the Leicester Square Theatre. Thank you Martin Witts for your support.

The Source Below shows keep rolling along. The longest running solo comedy show in London. Thank you, Stefano, for your lovely club and hospitality.

The Relatives band joined Nunhead American Radio, adding so much, like when cells took in mitochondria. Watch them here on the show singing about Nunhead. (They actually joined in September of last year.) Also on board is Laura Synthesis, our Listener Rep, who does more than just listen.

Comedy Blogger John Fleming continued to write about me. Read his piece on how I bring people together. One of many posts. And I had a lovely piece in The Scotsman by Claire Smith and one in Time Out – the latter posting a five star review.

I am getting funnier because I have had the most brilliant people taking an interest in me. In this group are an Oxford student on her gap decade, an IT whizkid, and a sociology student at Goldsmiths. All under 25. Wow.

I have left a lot out and not thanked enough people, including Toby Adams, Peter Goddard, Liz Zitzow and Jason Tribe.

Oh, and Nunhead Beats the Bounds – the parade we organised this year – and will do it next year – and my kids, who were good, and finally got to sleep over in my flat after over two years, and I was tested by a urologist and didn’t have prostate cancer, as I thought I might, and well, I have run out of time… not as in dying, but as in my set allotment of writing time.

What’s going on next year? I will put that in another post.

Remember: Lewis Schaffer is sponsored by
www.britishamericantax.com for all your tax needs. Competent.

Carbon Restaurant at 78 Brewer Street, Soho W1F 9TY for pre-theatre food. Above the Source Below. Delicious.

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Posted in Comedy, Nunhead Radio

The thought of yellow lines drove me crazy – my first “warming up” post.

21:30 Friday 13 December 2013 Nunhead Heights

This is the first of a run of posts where I will try to emulate British comic Richard Herring by writing for only 30 minutes each day as a “warming up” exercise. Hitherto, I have taken hours and hours to write each blog, only to find that unsurprisingly it has taken hours and hours of my day. I don’t think I have ever used the word “hitherto” before.

Today was not a very good day.

Or rather, the last 24 hours or so weren’t very good.

Yesterday I saw a notice from the Council on light pole in Nunhead Heights. The dreaded parking controls were coming to my street in SE15. Up until now there has been basically unregulated free parking in the Heights.

I have been waiting for the Council to come up here, in the name of “traffic flow” “and “safety”, and remove parking from my neighborhood. They’ll do anything to make traffic go faster from down there to over there, without caring about what goes on right here. And think about the revenue.

I was sickened to see the notice.

My mind melted into anger and then panic, knowing that I would have to do something to stop this outrage. No one else would care or understand.

I, and I alone, would have to explain to local people the evils of the yellow lines. I would have to educate Nunhead, and then the Council, on how removing on-street parking speed up traffic, make streets more dangerous, kill small shops, and generally destroy neighborhoods.

I thought: I don’t have the time, nor the energy, not the stick-to-it-iveness, nor the power of Mandela to convince people calmly! But who else it going to do it? No one.

But deep down I know won’t do it either.

Like last year, when I wrote a couple of posts about the destruction of the beautiful woods in Camberwell Old Cemetery. Did anyone else do anything about it?

No, this will have to be different.

And I am a comic, or try to be, and I am not allowed to be too serious. The more I try to be serious, the more people hate me. And enough hate me enough. American comic Will Rogers said that a comic is dead when he takes himself too seriously, or when the audience takes himself too seriously.

I am deathly serious a lot of the time.

The plan was to put parking restrictions on the north side of Stuart Road and the west side of Borland Road. A couple of roads.
Or so I read.

I took the first step: I sent out an email to my fellow leaseholders on the estate – they had been gathered to fight off the council making major unnecessary repairs to our building.

It warned them of the plan. There was two replies of communal anger. Then a email came back accusing me of a April Fools Day gag. Gag?

By then I had read the small print and understood what the Council was proposing. There were to be yellow lines drawn but only around one corner and not down an entire roads.

I hadn’t needed to get all upset. It was just a few feet of restrictions – only to make it easier for drivers to see around the corners.

But that is how they get you, to quote comic Barry Sobel.

The Council starts with a few feet and then it grows and grows. And who says that being able to see around the corner makes our streets safer? It just makes the drivers drive faster.

So I start worrying if I should make a big deal about one corner of yellow lines.

Oh, and I don’t even have a car. Or a renewed driving license.
So I end up the day as upset as when I started.

Done 22:00

I wrote about this in March, 2012 but I had forgotten. “How taking parking off town centre roads is killing town life.”

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Posted in Life in Britain, Nunhead Radio

My first sold-out show in my 20 years of comedy.

3Pm Wednesday 4th December 2013 Nunhead Height

I never feel happiness.
The closest I come to happiness is the feeling of relief.

Today I feel relieved that my show this Sunday the 8th of December 2013 at the Leicester Square Theatre is SOLD OUT.

This is my first sold out show in twenty years of comedy. The first.

No tickets are available for Lewis Schaffer: American in London. Period. Full stop. Or bosh! as the English say. Don’t believe me? Click here.

Now, I can move on to being stressed about next season.

Dates at the Leicester Square Theatre for 2014 are…

Sundays at 8:30 PM
February 2nd and 16th
March 2nd, 16th, and 30th
and April 13th.

The Lounge at the Leicester Square Theatre
6 Leicester Square Place
London WC2H 7BX

http://leicestersquaretheatre.ticketsolve.com/

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Posted in Comedy

Time Out London gives Lewis Schaffer a five star review. Indirectly.

1AM Friday 22 November 2013 Nunhead Heights

This week, Time Out London wonderfully printed a reader’s review of my Leicester Square Theatre show. It is gratifying because it means that the editors of Time Out don’t think it’s absurd to be giving Lewis Schaffer five stars.

Time Out

Time Out London Print Edition 19 November 2013

Sunday’s LEWIS SCHAFFER: AMERICAN IN LONDON at the Leicester Square Theatre will start at 5PM. Tickets are available at the box office or online.

LEWIS SCHAFFER is FREE UNTIL FAMOUS at the Source Below, my free admission show, has its last two shows of the season this Tuesday and Wednesday, the 26th and 27th of November. Reservations suggested.

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Posted in Comedy

How can a comedy critic walk out of a comedy show and then review it?

1PM Tuesday 12 November 2013 Nunhead Heights

John Fleming, the comedy blogger, sent me an interesting link this morning.

The Daily Telegraph critic Dominic Cavendish stormed out of Stewart Lee’s new show ‘Much A-Stew About Nothing’ at the Leicester Square Theatre (where I play Sundays in ‘Lewis Schaffer: American in London).

How could you walk out on Stewart Lee?

No matter how poorly you thought it was going, no matter how horrific Stewart was being, wouldn’t you want to see how it turned out?

Isn’t it Dominic Cavendish’s job, as a critic and/or reviewer, to report what happens at the show? How could he do that if he walked out halfway?

Maybe Stewart Lee wasn’t having a bad gig?

Maybe it was one big wind up? Maybe it was Stewart Lee’s way of getting motivated for the second half or having the first half as a set up for the second half? Maybe it was just a blip? Maybe he wanted the Telegraph to leave and Dominic took the bait? (Maybe I should stop making statements in the form of questions?)

We will never know.

We will never know because Dominic (and I call him Dominic even though I’ve met him only once and he has never reviewed any of my shows) had a hissy-fit and walked out and wrote about it in The Telegraph.

I took Dominic’s walkout to heart.

Most of my really bad reviews come from people who have walked out halfway – and almost all of my best reviews come from people who stayed to the end of shows where people who have walked out. You can read them here on Time Out.

I can understand how my audience could walk out of my shows, especially at my Free until Famous shows at the Source Below - Tuesdays and Wednesdays in Soho.

I am not famous. They don’t know me. They haven’t heard of me. They don’t know what I do. They can be excused for thinking that the second half will be as dire, shambolic, or awkward as the first and do a runner.

But Stewart Lee?

How can you walk out of Stewart Lee’s show?

His shows are like Christmas dinners. The turkey may be overcooked but you stay til the pudding has been eaten. And it is the company you go for.

See the video of me at the Bloomsbury Theatre - 7 minutes - with a bit of Stewart Lee. Remember, it is a video and only slightly captures our comedy essences.

Other links about me:
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Posted in Comedy

Violence erupts at my shows in New York and London.

12:15 AM Saturday 12 October 2013 Nunhead Heights

A riot broke out once when I was hosting a show in New York. I created it.

I would do some stage time before I introduced the last act. The purpose was to spare the final comic having to tell jokes to a distracted audience while the waitresses collected the check – the bill in the UK. Generally, there isn’t table service in UK comedy clubs. UK clubs have breaks and pay at the bar.

I would give a little speech at the Boston Comedy Club in Greenwich Village, now closed, requesting the audience tip the waitstaff. It was a bit of sucking up to the women who worked there.

“Jews: Tip. Don’t tell me your father owns the place. Spanish people (Puerto Ricans and Dominicans): Don’t leave a joint. Leave money. English tourists: Don’t tell me you don’t have tipping where you come from. I am marrying an English woman. I know. Black people: Don’t worry about tipping. You never tip. Just don’t riot. Don’t throw the chairs.”

I am not saying it was or is comedy ‘gold’. I was in my early days of stand up. Plus, Americans like that stuff. The audiences at the Boston was at least 50% black and Hispanic and they usually laughed at it.

Two groups were sitting around the stage. One was black and one was Spanish. They were being lippy with each other. I noticed them but didn’t make much of it.

I introduced the final comic and went outside to see about the line for the next show. When I returned, chairs were being thrown across the room between the two parties.

I dove in from the back shouting, “People, people! Stop it. Let the love flow!” in my camp way. And then I steered the people onto West Third Street. Well, that is how I remember it. I was probably cowering in the bathroom waiting for the people to calm down.

Luckily no one was hurt in the flurry of thrown chairs. But it was ugly, and it was all my fault. I had planted the idea of tossing chairs and riots. Someone could have lost eye or worse.

Wednesday was another one of my worst nights in comedy.

A drunk homeless person wandered into my show at the Source Below seeking warmth on a cold night during the interval. He sat at a table in the back with his head resting on the table, sleeping.

No one had left my show – usually a good sign at my free show that I’m doing well. On another night, where I was feeling weaker, I might have let him stay and built a show around him. Or joked him out of the club. But that night I was on my comedy game – at least, I thought I was.

I asked the Italian barman to get the drunk a beer and lure him upstairs with it. But the barman refused and put his arm around the man and started pushing him upstairs. I knew this was the wrong way to handle the man.

Within a few seconds of my going on stage, the barman came downstairs holding his face. He had been punched. The barman had then hit the drunk back, and when the homeless guy got off the ground he smashed the £1500 plate glass window of Najj’s Carbon Restaurant on Brewer Street. I felt sick to my stomach.

Usually, my comedy failures come because I panic and think I am not funny. But these were two of my worst nights in comedy and they involved me feeling like I could say, and do, anything, on stage.

Luckily, or unluckily, comedy maven John Fleming was there to witness and document the Source Below show. 

http://thejohnfleming.wordpress.com/2013/10/10/a-man-tries-to-sleep-through-comedian-lewis-schaffers-soho-show-and-fails/

See me this Sunday at 5PM at the Leicester Square Theatre in Lewis Schaffer: American in London

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