Why comedian Lewis Schaffer may have been sacked from so many ‘real’ jobs

Lewis Schaffer before the 'interview'

An effervescent Lewis Schaffer before the Bruce Dessau chat

I was at the Jewish Comedy Day in London at the weekend. I mentioned it in yesterday’s blog.

Starting off the day off was a session – doomed to failure – in which comedian Lewis Schaffer was supposed to interview comedy critic Bruce Dessau.

Inevitably, Lewis Schaffer talked about himself and Bruce Dessau interviewed him.

Lewis Schaffer had been introduced to the audience by the event’s organiser, Arlene Gorodensky-Greenhouse.

“Thankyou, Arlene,” were Lewis Schaffer’s first words. “So beautiful. Mmmm… I would do her. She says I’m not allowed to say Rock-hard cock.” He raised his arm and a clenched fist to laughter. I can’t say Rock-hard cock. Are you kidding? Mmmm… Rock-hard…

His first joke was about missing child Madeleine McCann, which offended at least one lady in the front row.

Later, during the hour in which Bruce Dessau interviewed Lewis Schaffer, Bruce asked him: “Did you ever hold down a normal job?”

“No,” said Lewis.

“Oh yes you did!” I heckled.

“I had many jobs,” explained Lewis. “Right before I started in comedy, I had seven jobs in eight years and I was fired from every single one of them – twice police were called.

“I just didn’t want to be told what to do. I’m mental. But we all are mental in our own way. If you decide you want to be mental, tomorrow you can call yourself a comedian and you can get away with it. Anybody in the world can say: I’m a comedian.

“The thing about comedians,” suggested Bruce, “is that some of the things you might do or say… If you said some of those same things in an office…”

“I got fired once,” said Lewis Schaffer, “because I was in the bathroom and I said to one of my co-workers: Would you like to see how small my penis is? 

I was trying to do normal jobs. I was trying to sell advertising space. I was constantly trying to get jobs selling advertising space in Vogue magazine and Vanity Fair. I was trying to be like a normal person. I used to shop at Brooks Brothers. That’s why I wear a suit: to look like a normal person. I was always trying to be like normal. It didn’t work. I’ve given up.

“That’s why I let an audience know at the start of a show: OK, this is the worst that’s going to happen and then we can go from here, as opposed to trying to pretend… That’s one thing I’ve learned in comedy. It’s like in life. If you do the worst, then there’s nothing more to be afraid of.”

The lady in the front row who had been offended by the Madeleine McCann joke started to say: “Break it to us gently, instead of…”

Lewis Schaffer interrupted: “No. Break it full on the head,” and then told the audience, “I’m winning her over. Can you feel it? Can you see it? I’m winning her over.”

The lady in the front row said: “You didn’t lose me. It’s just there’s a difference between something that makes me want to hit you because it’s out of order and…”

“Maybe that’s something that I want,” Lewis Schaffer told her.

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