Comedy showreels: Kate Copstick and Noel Faulkner fight at a Grouchy Club

Noel Faulkner and Giada Garofalo at the Grouchy Club

Noel Faulkner and Giada Garofalo at the live Grouchy Club

At the live Grouchy Club meet-up on Tuesday – supposedly a talking shop for people in the comedy industry – we did – as is often the case – stray onto other subjects like being a dominatrix, submissive sex, female squirting and fisting.

But there was also some discussion about the comedy industry.

And a 10-minute comedy performance.

The Grouchy Club is hosted by feared comedy critic Kate Copstick and me.

I tend to get few words in.

Chris McGlade with Kate Copstick at the Grouchy Club

Chris McGlade with Kate Copstick at the live Grouchy Club

Geordie comedian Chris McGlade travelled 300 miles down to London simply to attend the live Grouchy Club and be seen in his 10-minute performance by a perfectly-formed audience of comedy insiders which included Italian comic Giada Garofalo, British-American-French performer Sara Mason, Canadian promoter Arlene Greenhouse and Noel Faulkner, Irish owner of London’s long-running and highly-respected Comedy Cafe Theatre.

North East England based Chris McGlade has been a stand-up comic for 26 years, appeared in the musical Billy Elliot in London’s West End and has just completed a film with director Ken Loach.

After Chris’ performance, this discussion ensued:


NOEL (to Chris)
Do you have a showreel?

COPSTICK
You’re seriously asking him for a showreel?

NOEL
Yeah.

COPSTICK
Why? You’ve just seen him.

NOEL
You gotta see it in front of an audience.

COPSTICK
This IS an audience.

NOEL
You gotta see it. Different rooms work with different audiences. Different clubs have different demographics..

COPSTICK
But your club is you.

NOEL
Yes.

COPSTICK
It’s down to you.

NOEL
Yes.

COPSTICK
It’s your gut instinct…

NOEL
Yes.

COPSTICK
…as to what makes a good comedian. You don’t need to see some fucking roomful of numpties in Bognor Regis going: Well, I actually thought it was rather amusing… You were fucking smiling a lot (when Chris was performing).

NOEL
Yeah, but I just need to see a showreel because I get a much better idea…

COPSTICK
We are a very difficult crowd.

CHRIS
Shortly after I finished my run in Billy Elliot, I did a gig for TNT. They took this video of me and put it on a private YouTube link and it’s great.

NOEL
How long is it, though?

CHRIS
It’s about…

COPSTICK
Oh, for God’s SAKE!! This is just… This is horrific!

CHRIS
It’s about…

(GARBLED MAYHEM FROM COPSTICK AND OTHERS)

GIADA  (to Noel)
I kind of agree with you and I can see your point of view as a promoter but wouldn’t you give him a spot in the open mic night and see how he goes?

NOEL
I might but, you know…

COPSTICK
But, shit, the whole point of the good clubs…

CHRIS (to Copstick)
Rant. Let it out.

COPSTICK
The whole point of decent clubs and decent promoters is that they have a feel, they have an understanding for comedy… Your feeling, your understanding for comedy should NOT be predicated upon someone having enough friends with fucking iPhones or whatever to record their every fucking gig in front of every fucking audience just to prove to you that…

NOEL
It’s not proving to me… I need to see something. The business is called…

COPSTICK
You saw him!

NOEL
Hang one a minute…

COPSTICK
You saw him!

NOEL
Let me finish… It’s called showbusiness – the business of showing. Please show me the fucking business. Every little cunt sends me in bad phone clips and bad this and that…

COPSTICK
But you’ve seen him live. You’ve SEEN him!

NOEL
No.

COPSTICK
Showreels are for acts that you don’t see live.

NOEL
I need to see it in a proper club. Everybody here is in the business.

COPSTICK
That’s harder… That presumably means that, if you’ve fucked someone and you thought she was the greatest fuck of your life, you wouldn’t believe that she was the greatest fuck of your life until you’d spoken to at least half a dozen other people she’d fucked and found out what they thought

GIADA and SARA (in unison)
That’s not the same.

COPSTICK
It IS the same!!

GIADA
It’s not.

SARA
It isn’t quite the same.

COPSTICK
It IS the same.

(MAYHEM)

CHRIS (to me)
What the fuck have you started?

GIADA
If you fucked someone and she was the best fuck of your life but you were a porno producer, you do not necessarily put her in porn, because that’s for the audience.

NOEL
Looks like I’m gonna get laid, no matter what happens…

(LAUGHTER)

NOEL
NO. The point is I have to make sure the audience is entertained, not me. And I need to see acts at a certain level so I can go: Right! That’ll suit my crowd and keep them happy.

COPSTICK
So you would book somebody who you thought was shit…

NOEL
Yes.

COPSTICK
…if you saw them but…

NOEL
To make the perfect sandwich, yes.

COPSTICK
Argh! So what’s the point?

NOEL
So I can buy a fucking yacht.

(LAUGHTER)

COPSTICK
OK. Fair-dos.


Chris McGlade (right) performs to Giacinto Palmieri at the Grouchy Club

Chris McGlade (right) performs and Giacinto Palmieri listens

After two hours of the Grouchy Club, as we left, Noel Faulkner asked Chris McGlade: “Are you free tomorrow night?”

Chris had been going back up to the North East the next morning but, instead, he changed his plans and stayed and played Noel’s Comedy Cafe Theatre.

This morning, I got a text from Chris:


I had a fantastic spot last night at the Comedy Cafe. It went so well Noel has offered me some paid spots on a weekend. He said I’ll have to wait cos he’s booked up, but he said there’ll probably be some drop outs. I know many people would think I was mad to do your gig on Tuesday, travelling 300 miles to come to a shop in Shepherd’s Bush and play a few minutes, but instinctively I felt it was the right thing to do.


The next live Grouchy Club meet-up is in Shepherd’s Bush on Tuesday 22nd December.

A weekly Grouchy Club podcast is available HERE.

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