The cult of comedian Lewis Schaffer gets a disciple at the Edinburgh Fringe

Rose and Lewis Schaffer in Edinburgh yesterday afternoon

Rose and Lewis Schaffer in Edinburgh yesterday afternoon

“He was literally dancing home last night,” Rose said to me about Lewis Schaffer yesterday afternoon.

“Why?” I asked Lewis Schaffer.

“This man came up and said he’d been thinking about me all day,” Lewis Schaffer said.

“Yeah,” said Rose. “He said he’d been thinking about Lewis all day and he comes to the Fringe every year and he’d seen Lewis before and then he just walks into Bob’s Bookshop last night and Lewis is there.”

“He showed me pictures of my own posters,” said Lewis Schaffer.

Rose told me: “He’d taken a photograph in Edinburgh of every single poster he’d seen with Lewis on it. On his phone. Like obsessionally.”

“His friend said he didn’t want to see him,” said Lewis Schaffer. “He lives in East Dulwich and he listens to Nunhead American Radio – my radio series.”

“So he’s the listener?” I asked.

“It seems so,” said Lewis Schaffer.

“So,” said Rose, “this man’s obsessed with Lewis and he walked into Bob’s Bookshop last night…”

“He said it was a message from God,” interrupted Lewis Schaffer, “and he said I was a messenger from God… Him seeing me at Bob’s Bookshop last night at one o’clock in the morning during Midnight Mayhem was a sign that he had to go see Lewis Schaffer’s show and disregard his friend back in East Dulwich. He showed us all the pictures he had taken of my posters.”

“And then,” said Rose, “a lovely lady with a little bob haircut said that Lewis Schaffer was her favourite comedian and then, on the way home, Lewis got a 4-star review. And that was it. He was off. Dancing in the street. He was like Gene Kelly in the rain.”

“Where was the 4-star review?” I asked Lewis Schaffer.

Fringe Guide,” he replied. “The reviewer called me unhinged. It made my day. He had seen me many times since 2008. So it wasn’t like one of these people who just happened to see me on a really, really good day.”

“If I mention this in my blog,” I asked, “what do I call Rose? Is she one of your new entourage of helpers?”

“No,” said Lewis Schaffer. “Rose is not an entourage. I do not have an entourage.”

“But,” I said, “Claire Smith of The Scotsman told me you now have four people. If you have one person, it’s a stalker. If you have four people, it’s an entourage. You’ve got Heather. You’ve got Rose. You’ve got that tall bloke…”

“Alex Mason,” said Lewis Schaffer.

“And you’ve got some flyerer,” I continued. “That’s an entourage.”

“It’s just that…” said Lewis Schaffer. “I don’t even know what it is… What is it, Rose?… There’s something that… It’s just that super smart people are attracted to me.”

“Why?” I asked.

“You’d have to ask Rose what’s in it for Rose,” said Lewis Schaffer.

“Well, she’s doing a thesis on comedy,” I said.

“That’s what she says,” said Lewis Schaffer.

“Claire Smith told me your act was much better,” I said, “because Rose was writing down everything and you were talking to her about it. Like Rose was semi-directing you.”

“Well,” Lewis Schaffer admitted, “it has had a really positive effect on me. As Heather has had. And Alex Mason. We’re all a team together.”

“What does Alex Mason do, except look tall?” I asked.

“He’s very deadpan, but super funny,” said Lewis Schaffer. “He’s destined to be a great comedian or writer or something.”

“Like Lewis Schaffer?” I suggested.

“Hardly,” said Lewis Schaffer. “The guy’s a genius. I mean like a serious genius… Rose is a genius too, but she masks it with a working class patina.”

“Have you got a patina?” I asked. “It sounds sexual.”

“I don’t know what the fuck a patina is,” said Rose.

“You have a patina,” Lewis Schaffer told Rose.

“You have an entourage,” I told Lewis Schaffer.

“If you write about an entourage,” Rose told me, “I’m going to go fucking mental, because he’s going to look like a cunt.”

Look like?” I asked.

“Don’t write about this,” said Rose. “Write about him dancing in the street last night. He was like Gene Kelly. He was as happy as Larry.”

“What’s your university thesis on?” I asked Rose. “This is your second thesis isn’t it?”

“Third,” said Rose.

“She got two Firsts,” said Lewis Schaffer. “According to her. I don’t know if it’s true.”

“It’s absolutely true,” said Rose.

“What was the first thesis about?” I asked.

“Taboo comedy material at Lewis Schaffer’s shows.”

“Only at Lewis Schaffer’s shows?” I asked, surprised. “I thought it was in general.”

“I’m a bit lazy,” said Rose.

“What was the second one about?”

“Audience participation…”

“…at Lewis Schaffer’s shows?” I asked.

“Yeah,” said Rose. “At Lewis Schaffer’s shows. And the third one is a compilation of the first two.”

“Like your Best Of… thesis,” I suggested.

“Yes,” said Rose. “It’s the highlights plus an extended interview I haven’t done yet. You said ‘theses’. But the first two were just research papers. This is the Big One.”

“If you write about me,” Lewis Schaffer told Rose, “you’ll become famous after I die.”

“I don’t want to be famous,” said Rose.

“I want to be famous,” said Lewis Schaffer. “So I assume everyone wants to be famous. All I’m saying is it will help you, Rose, by writing about me.”

“So has this mad man from last night got your e-mail address?” I asked Lewis Schaffer.

“I hope so,” said Lewis Schaffer. “I don’t want to lose track of him. Having a stalker is always amazing, although sometimes there’s a price to pay.”

“And your point is?” I asked.

“What is my point?” Lewis Schaffer asked Rose.

“He is happy a man is obsessed with him.”

“Anyone,” said Lewis Schaffer. “Just anyone.”

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