Lewis Schaffer’s Giant Leap into acting (but has he always been acting anyway?)

the thames from Blackfriars station yesterday

The  River Thames, seen from Blackfriars station yesterday

With my co-host Kate Copstick un-Skypeable in Kenya, I persuaded comedian Lewis Schaffer to join me on The Grouchy Club Podcast this week. We met on Platform 2 at Blackfriars station, which straddles the River Thames in London.

I thought it would be quirky recording it in the middle of the Thames with the sound of trains and tannoy announcements in the background. This may or may not have been a good idea. It lasted 19 minutes. 

Lewis Schaffer talked about Lewis Schaffer, about the Edinburgh Fringe, about a new play project and about Lewis Schaffer. Here is a short extract:


Lewis Schaffer talked to me on Platform 2 at Blackfriars station

Lewis Schaffer talked to me amid the trains at Blackfriars

JOHN
So you’re doing a play at the Edinburgh Fringe.

LEWIS SCHAFFER
I am. How amazing is that? Well, I’m not doing a play. I’m rehearsing for a play.

They still have a chance to fire me. The last play I was in they fired me.

JOHN
What was the last play you were in?

LEWIS SCHAFFER
Well, I say I was in The Odd Couple, but I was in another play. I’m trying to remember what play it was. You Can’t Take It With You? No. I can’t remember, but I had a musical – singing – role and they auditioned me for a regular speaking part and then, when I met the guy who was doing the music, he fired me. I remember that walk home at night from Great Neck North Senior High School back to my house – in Great Neck, when I was living in Great Neck – and I was crying.

JOHN
Aaaah. Bless. Why do you say you were in The Odd Couple?

LEWIS SCHAFFER
Because I… I… I think that was the last one that I did. I’m not sure. I was only seventeen years old and I haven’t done a play since.

JOHN
Which part did you play? Because all the men in The Odd Couple are actually quite old, aren’t they?

LEWIS SCHAFFER
We were high school people. Of course you gotta play… You can’t just play young people.

JOHN
It was a school play?

LEWIS SCHAFFER
It was a school play. It wasn’t like a regular play. It was a high school play. I was Roy. If you’re a nerd out there and you know plays…

JOHN
So basically the school you were in decided to have a play called The Odd Couple about a homosexual relationship in America?

LEWIS SCHAFFER
At the time, I don’t think people knew that it was about a gay relationship. Maybe it’s not even about people being gay in The Odd Couple. It could be, now, looking back on it. Maybe that’s why I’m divorced: because I was in that play. Maybe it traumatised me for life about marriage.

JOHN
You call this life?… So now you’re doing another play. What’s this play that’s going to be at the Fringe?

LEWIS SCHAFFER
Giant Leap. It’s a new play by guys named Mickey Down and Konrad Kay, directed by Alexander Lass – young kids.

JOHN
Who is Alexander Lass?

LEWIS SCHAFFER
I dunno who he is. He calls me up and says I have a part for you and I accepted it.

JOHN
This is Phil Nichol’s company doing this, isn’t it?

LEWIS SCHAFFER
I think it is.

JOHN
Basically, you’re in a play by people you don’t know and you’ve no idea who’s producing it.

LEWIS SCHAFFER
I didn’t even know what the play was when I said Yes. I just said Yes. I’m gonna do it. I don’t wanna do it, but I’m gonna do it. If they’re crazy enough to hire me, I’m gonna do it.

JOHN
And they’re paying you to do it…

LEWIS SCHAFFER
They are actually paying me to do it. They’re paying my way up there and they are…

JOHN
… paying your way back.

LEWIS SCHAFFER
Putting me up. They got a room, yeah.

JOHN
Putting you up what?

LEWIS SCHAFFER
Putting me up in a room. They’re gonna hoist me by my own petard… I don’t even know what that means.

JOHN
No-one does. Like most English phrases, no-one knows what they actually mean, when you get down to it.

LEWIS SCHAFFER
Exactly. It just sounds so good. Just assume it’s a cricket phrase…

JOHN
It has to be French, surely – Petard

LEWIS SCHAFFER
If it’s not French or Shakespeare, it’s cricket.

JOHN
Or Oscar Wilde.

LEWIS SCHAFFER
If you laugh, it’s Oscar Wilde.

JOHN
So you’ve been doing rehearsals for this play in Crouch End or somewhere?

LEWIS SCHAFFER
Yes. It’s with Tom Stade, who is…

JOHN
Canadian?

LEWIS SCHAFFER
Canadian. But I look at him and don’t really feel he’s Canadian.

JOHN
You think he’s better than that?

LEWIS SCHAFFER
I like him, so he’s better than Canadian. I don’t mind Canadians; I just feel sorry for them. They’re America Lite.


The full 19 minute audio version of this week’s Grouchy Club Podcast is on PODOMATIC and iTUNES.

The Grouchy Club is live at the Edinburgh Fringe 14th-29th August, unbilled in the official programme to keep out the riffraff. You can come.

2 Comments

Filed under Acting, Comedy

2 responses to “Lewis Schaffer’s Giant Leap into acting (but has he always been acting anyway?)

  1. Ian

    This is very good news – as the stalker 2 begin creating our Edinburgh schedule – obviously Schaffer is a cornerstone even at a fiver – but in a play as well – our cup runneth over. No longer free but nearly famous – Mission nearly accomplished. But beware Bunker One at the Pleasance is a sweat box of the worse sort – saw the one man show about Graham Chapman there a couple of years back – spoilt the play – if it aint fixed badger Lewis to harrass the money grabbing f*ckers at the Pleasance to fit some air con.
    Time for the video again.

  2. Lewis Schaffer in The Bunker… mmmmmm….

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