Unopened Letters From My Mother” 2017
I opened and read letters from my dead mother in a show at the Edinburgh festival. Each day of the festival I read a different, unopened letter, sent before she died alone in New York. If I had known it would have been as difficult as it was, I wouldn’t have done it. Luckily, I hadn’t thought it out so did something very fulfilling.
I was awarded the Fringe Experience Award by The Wee Review Awards – given ‘to the show that provides the most memorable and extraordinary experience at the Fringe, be it good, bad or plain strange’.
‘Exposing and uncomfortable hour of Schaffer reading aloud letters from his dead mother for the first time.’ [Matthew Keeley]
Robert Peacock, The Wee Review [Not starred]
‘This is extra level mining of personal grief; it throws shade on your “Dead Dad” comics. Here we have the raw material, entirely unadorned or sculpted for effect. It’s the only Fringe show that might have been worth seeing every night of its run, and one of the very few offering real jeopardy. It may yet yield something unbearably painful. Joyous? Unlikely.’ http://theweereview.com/review
Kate Copstick, The Scotsman ★★★★
‘But it is hard for me not to let my rising rage at him as a person get in the way of a fair review. The show is extraordinary. It picks its audience up and carries them into a vortex of awfully funny and plain awful.’ http://www.scotsman.com/lifest
Steve Bennett, Chortle ★★★
‘For some, the fact that this is quite unlike anything else in the programme will be enough to make it a must-see. Unopened Letters From My Mother isn’t so much comedy as an affecting performance art experience, in which comic Lewis Schaffer prods away at the scab over a deep emotional wound, just to see what might happen.’ http://www.chortle.co.uk/revie
Brian Donaldson, The List ★★★
‘The point of all this remains rather unclear, but you have to admire the gall of the man. Unopened Letters From My Mother could be brave, brilliant or baffling. Chances are it’s all three.’ https://edinburghfestival.list
Sponsored by a sponsor who wishes to be unnamed.
“Lewis Schaffer: You Are Beautiful”
Lewis Schaffer reprised his hit Edinburgh 2015 show in 2016 with a new name.
The Reviews for my Edinburgh 2015 show.
The show was rated by THE LIST as the 248th highest-rated show out of 1914 shows reviewed by the major review sites. See the entire list of reviewed shows.
It got a ★★★★★ (five star) (from the Scotsman), four ★★★★ (four star) and three ★★★ (three star) and no two star or one star reviews.
“This is one of the most brilliant and amazing comedy shows I have ever seen in my life… the show becomes a bizarre cross between performance art, a swingers’ party and a papal blessing. ★★★★★ (Five Stars)” Click to read it here.
Edinburgh Festival Magazine:
“This New York comic is hysterical, endearing and audacious, leaving no stone unturned, no topic untouched, and certainly no audience member ignored in his amazing new, high energy physical comedy show. ★★★★ (Four Stars)” Click here to read.
“And then comes the shock. Because it turns out that Schaffer’s crass, offensive, disturbingly-hilarious bumbling is working towards something genuinely liberating: a masterful take-down of the whole concept of human beauty, with a reassuring message about body image on the side. ★★★★ (Four Stars)” Click here to read.
“Schaffer has refined being unsuccessful in to an art form and so he’s bound to remedy this unexpected success somehow. I can’t wait to see how he fucks up next. ★★★★ (Four Stars)” Click here to read.
“This is a performance piece that is very believable with Schaffer’s delightfully vulnerable awkwardness making him so endearing that the crowd can’t help but come along for the ride. ★★★ (Three Stars)” Click here to read.
“Lewis Schaffer: A clever, structured, coherent show from the Fringe’s most erratic performer. He’s finally succeeding! I feel sick. ★★★★ (Four Stars)” Click here to read.
Bruce Dessau – Beyond the Joke:
“The audience, who clearly had no idea who this narcissistic nutjob was, loved it. If you’ve got an easy-going girlfriend and are secure about your sexuality this gig could make the weirdest date night (well, date teatime) you will ever go on. ★★★ (Three)” Click here to read.
“Not for those who don’t want to get up close and personal with a middle-aged Jewish guy, it’s nevertheless an oddly enjoyable experience (not so much the up close and personal bit) that’ll leave you confused and/or a little liberated. ★★★ (Three)“. Click to read.
Lewis Schaffer’s 2015 Edinburgh Fringe show at Just the Tonic
Lewis Schaffer To Charge For his Free Show
READ ALL THE REVIEWS FROM EDINBURGH 2015
What I wrote in July:
The man the Scotsman called “the superstar of free comics” will charge admission to his free show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015.
Legendary comic and personal failure Lewis Schaffer risks even greater failure by charging £5 for the same thing he has given away at the fringe. His new show is to be called ‘Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous, £5’ making it even more confusing.
“I can achieve a higher level of failure” says the New Yorker “by charging money at the Edinburgh Fringe. I envision empty seats and a smattering of disappointed punters thinking I’m not worth the price of admission. Frankly, most people thought my free show wasn’t worth the price of admission to begin with.”
It is said that “only six people in the world know what Lewis Schaffer is doing with his comedy, and Lewis Schaffer isn’t one of them.” Lewis Schaffer said that.
“I chose to do a paid show this year in Edinburgh because I could see success with my free shows and couldn’t stomach it. I picked Just the Tonic at the Grassmarket to do my show as it was on the route between the big four venues and I because Darrell Martin is the only venue manager that doesn’t seem to hate me.”
There is a chance that he will be sold out and he will not be a failure anymore, making him a failure at being a failure.
How will charging admission in Edinburgh will affect Lewis Schaffer’s Free until Famous Tour 2015, the country’s first free comedy tour with 45 dates in England and Wales, is not knowable. Knowing Lewis Schaffer, it will somehow mess it up.
Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous, £5
Just the Tonic Community Project
Venue 27, The Grassmarket
86 Candlemaker Row,
Edinburgh, EH1 2QA
0330 220 1212
Tickets £5, Available at the door or from the Edfringe Box Office
Awaiting link to buy tickets.
‘Truly unpredictable comedy that is grimly compelling is occasionally painfully unwatchable. Sometimes Andy Kaufman with jokes, sometimes Andy Kaufman without jokes.’ (Bruce Dessau Beyond the Joke)
‘…described as a comic…Schaffer has apparently chosen to do everything in his power not to be funny, which is often funny in itself but mostly just plain awkward.’ (Edinburgh.FringeGuru.com)
‘One year I will go to every one of Schaffer’s shows and document the journey.’ (Copstick, Scotsman)
‘We were at the front and he was so bad lol! We laughed so much out of pure pitty… Then at the end asked for donations.'(Carrie Ryder, Plumstead People)
Nunhead American Radio with Lewis Schaffer
ResonanceFM 104.4fm London Weekly
Lewis Schaffer: International Man of Misery
Leicester Square Theatre, Weekly to the end of June.
Lewis Schaffer is Free until Famous
Lewis Schaffer’s 2014 show Success Is Not An Option at the Hive
STARS DO MATTER
“After all the pretty words. After all the lovely prose poetry. After all the effusive praise… Tell me, Miss Reviewer: What do you really think about Lewis Schaffer?”
“Five stars? Must see.” No.
“Four stars? Should see.” Maybe.
“Three? Could see.” Yes.
Yes. Three. 3.71. Almost “should see” but not quite. 3.71.
“During the performance I watched five people walk out. People always walk out – it’s not comfortable listening. Lewis himself walked out and for a moment we weren’t sure he was kidding” Mr. Trench The List Comment
“Lewis Schaffer is an uncomfortable presence, and it takes almost the full 50 minutes of his show to start liking him.” Laura Kidd, Three Weeks.
“I’m not sure if it was funny, I’m not sure if it was clever, and I’m not sure if I enjoyed it, but Lewis Schaffer is one of the few truly essential experiences on the Fringe. “ Roreiy Doesnt Blog [MY FAVOURITE REVIEW OF THE FESTIVAL.]
“You laugh, feel bad about it, then laugh again at the sharpest of sharp lines. That said, I did wince at one line that for me crossed over from acceptably tasteless to tastelessly unacceptable.” Andrew Dipper, GiggleBeats
“[Lewis Schaffer] will pluck a subject from the air, fiddle with it for a moment and then announce “there’ll be a joke about that tomorrow”. And you cannot help but really want to go tomorrow. One year I will go to every one of Schaffer’s shows and document the journey.” Kate Copstick, The Scotsman
“With his laid back demeanour and acerbic wit Schaffer appears as a largely loveable Stewart Lee albeit with a severe case of apathy. Come with few expectations and leave having had them gently surpassed. “ Milo Boyd, Broadway Baby
“Although described as a comic, and clearly a talented one at that, Schaffer has apparently chosen to do everything in his power not to be funny, which is often funny in itself but mostly just plain awkward. ” Liam McKenna, Fringe Guru
No Stars Given:
“Truly unpredictable comedy that is grimly compelling if occasionally painfully unwatchable. Sometimes Andy Kaufman with jokes, sometimes Andy Kaufman without jokes.” Bruce Dessau, Beyond the Joke, the Evening Standard, and The Times.
“Lewis Schaffer’s tragi-comic conversation at the Free Fringe had warmth, intimacy, honesty and some incredible sick jokes passed off as matter of fact observations before a rapt audience. Schaffer’s real tragedy at the moment is that he is making this difficult stuff look so easy no-one’s appreciating how good he is.” Stewart Lee in his post-Edinburgh wrap-up. And I know you may think this is wanky for me to include this on the list.
MY WEBSITE: DesignMutt set it up for me.
MY TOUR: Check the website. Free until Famous on Tour 2015.
TAXES BY: BritishAmericanTax.Com – ask for Liz.