Lewis Schaffer’s comedy show last night roused passions and triggered one story

Lewis Schaffer outside his Soho venue last night

Lewis Schaffer outside his twice-a-week venue in Soho last night

Last night, I went to see the 400th performance of American comic Lewis Schaffer’s Free Until Famous show.

He has been performing it at the Source Below in London’s Soho since 2009. He usually opens the currently twice-a-week show by saying: “This show is called Free Until Famous because I’m performing it free until I’m famous. This is my 20th year.”

That is not altogether true. It is neither his 20th year, nor is it free – it works on the Edinburgh Fringe ‘free’ basis that you get in free but pay what you want on the way out.

For the last few months, he has also been performing a weekly paid show at the Leicester Square Theatre – Lewis Schaffer’s American Guide to England – where entry is £10.

Lewis Schaffer’s flyer image for his Leicester Square shows

Lewis Schaffer’s flyer image for his Leicester Square shows

Lewis thought the fact he was doing two free shows a week might mean no-one would go to his paid show. But that has not happened. He was due to end his Leicester Square Theatre run in March. It was then extended to April and has now been extended to the end of July (when he goes to the Fringe). And then it re-starts in September.

The other odd thing is that, since he has started performing the £10 Leicester Square Theatre show, numbers at his free shows in The Source Below have risen.

At the previous night’s Source Below show, a 17-year-old had walked out because they thought Lewis went ‘too far’. Somehow, references to ‘fisting’ were involved.

Last night, Lewis was slightly lower-key, restricting himself to references to the English Defence League stoning mosques, the Holocaust, “black guys”, the Woolwich beheading and his inevitable passing reference to Madeleine McCann… as well as a relentless verbal assault on two Slovenians in the audience, a mother and daughter in the front row who were either drunk or on drugs and a ‘anti-joke’ about a Latvian, a Lithuanian and an Estonian which worked well but perhaps only because he told it to a Latvian and Lithuanian couple in the audience.

The room was full and the audience was highly appreciative… one might even say they were roused to passion…

Somewhere behind these dark curtains, things were happening between two young strangers

Somewhere behind these see-through curtains, things happened between two young strangers

…because, while Lewis was collecting money at the door on the way out, two members of the audience – strangers until they met during the show – were unable to contain the passion unleashed by his performance and went behind a curtain in a corner of the room to…

Well, it was a partially see-through curtain which my voyeuristic iPhone’s camera lens (but not the human eye) was unable to penetrate. So I cannot show you.

A glittering after-show party was later held in an upstairs room of the internationally-renown KFC restaurant chain, in the heart of London’s Theatreland betwixt glamorous Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus, where conversation soon turned to a well-known comedian on the London open mic circuit whom Lewis had never heard of but whose interestingly laugh-free performances are near-legendary.

Showbiz tales in an international restaurant chain

Insider showbiz tales told at an international restaurant in London’s glittering West End

Apparently there was a comedy competition in Scotland where the prize was around £50.

The near-legendary comedian thought I’ll go up there and went all the way up from London to Scotland for the gig.

No other comedians turned up and the organiser said: “OK. I’ll just give you the £50 and we’ll forget the competition.”

The legendary open mic act replied: “No, I’ve got my pride at stake. There is an audience here. I’ve gotta perform my act so I win this competition legitimately.”

He performed his 20-minute act to a stunned audience, came off-stage and the organiser refused to give him the £50.

He was the only person in the competition and he still lost.

“I can well believe it,” said one of the other comics at KFC last night.

“I can believe it too,” said another comic.

“At least he lost on merit,” said another.

1 Comment

Filed under Comedy, Humor, Humour

One response to “Lewis Schaffer’s comedy show last night roused passions and triggered one story

  1. I’ve heard that story!! Name starts with J… and ends with …O!!!

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