Tag Archives: Comedy Cafe

“Frenzied tit grabbing in Wetherspoons” after throat-slitting at the Grouchy Club

Yesterday, performer Samantha Pressdee posted in Facebook: “Frenzied tit grabbing in Wetherspoons, all in the name of feminism, is where last night’s Grouchy Club wound up.”

Critic Kate Copstick and I run The Grouchy Club. This was originally conceived by me as a one-hour chat show for the Edinburgh Fringe where I would not have to do any advance work – boring things like booking guests and thinking up subjects – and would not have to do anything on the day because the guests would be the audience and the audience would be comedy industry people self-obsessed enough to witter on for at least 55 minutes while I sat back and listened to the audience gossip and self-promote and Copstick got irate about something and ranted and raved.

It is the reverse of a normal show.

At the Grouchy Club, the audience performs and I do nothing.

Job done.

Copstick and I are back at the Edinburgh Fringe this year 14th-27th August with a daily 2.15pm Grouchy Club show. It is not listed in the main Fringe Programme because heaven forfend that I should have to fork out money or that ‘real people’ should turn up. It IS listed in the Laughing Horse Free Festival programme because that does not cost me money. Our shows are genuinely free – No collection bucket. Free to enter. Free to leave. Free to say what you like. May contain nuts.

It does not get vast audiences but does OK by Fringe standards and, as I said in a recent blog, at the Edinburgh Fringe, what is important is not the number of bums-on-seats you get but whose buttocks they are.

This original Fringe idea turned into a monthly Grouchy Club in London and a weekly podcast which I stopped in February this year after 100 editions but which may re-start around Fringe time, as Copstick likes to hear the sound of her own voice.

The latest monthly live London Grouchy Club was two days ago. It is always the second Tuesday of the month. Why? I have forgotten. I am old, bald and my grip on reality is loosening.

Anyway, semi-regular (in attendance, not in bowel movements) Siân Doughty observed yesterday on Facebook: “It was an eventful evening and the most fun I’ve had on a Tuesday in years”.

I billed it in advance as being about “the General Election; the upcoming Edinburgh Fringe; advice on writing, structure, performance and how to get publicity and reviews… Plus an insider’s description of the London Bridge terror attack… a 10 min excerpt from an upcoming Fringe show… and slanderous gossip.

Copstick – Her bark is worse than her bites

“Kate Copstick will be on painkillers,” I continued, “and have jet lag from Kenya. I will probably have had a tooth extracted a few brief hours before. Copstick will almost certainly be bad-tempered. I will gibber and dribble. Usually, we end up talking about dubious sexual practices and who the cunts are in comedy. And there are free biscuits.”

When it came to it, almost none of this happened except that Joe Palermo did describe being in the middle of the London Bridge terrorist attack (with a description of slit throats and all) Edinburgh Fringe/Eurovision Song Contest podcaster Ewan Spence had some unprintable gossip and there were free biscuits. Copstick was the healthiest I have seen her in about two years (but then, inevitably, she went in to hospital yesterday) and I still retain my tooth, at least for the moment.

At around 9.00pm, as often happens, everyone decamped to the nearby Wetherspoons pub and I went home, thus missing the bit Samantha Pressdee mentioned: “Frenzied tit grabbing in Wetherspoons, all in the name of feminism.”

Samantha is one of the studio psychics on and an occasional presenter for Psychic TV. Last night, she did a TED style talk on Maslow’s Pyramid and the Law of Attraction. But that is too up-market for this blog. I asked her to expand on the tit-grabbing. And she has:

“The tit-grabbing was a great relief to me,” she says, “as, earlier in the evening, I had found myself sandwiched between Noel Faulkner, former owner of the recently gazumped Comedy Cafe and David Gersch, new promoter of what was the Comedy Cafe. Noel (in effect) threatened he would set the comedy Illuminati onto Gersch.

“This time I had remembered to bring a bottle to the Grouchy Club. I was glad of a drink, having lugged my fat bin bags around London in the heat that day. The bin bags  contained some clothes and bedding that will shortly be off to Aleppo in Syria via the Mama Biashara collection point.

Samantha reads Gersch’s uncertain future in the cards

“With the threat of Illuminati forces in the air, I thought I should channel some positive energy so brought out my tarot cards. I began reading for Gersch who was wearing a a baseball cap backwards embroidered with his catchphrase CLASSIC GERSCH. Noel wished the death card on the 25 year old. And it was the first card to come up.

Are the Illuminati real? I wondered. Noel, as if psychic himself, nodded and explained they have a secret way of winking.

“He calmed down a bit after a beer and the angel cards brought some laughter to the room. The angels suggest Noel and Gersch take it outside when they both pulled the ‘fresh air’ card. They left the party early (but separately).

“Comedian Siân Doughty was given confirmation from the angels that her decision to opt out of our Prosecco drinking was the right one. Her calm energy had a taming affect on our debauchery but, still, she did not escape a tit grab later.

“Copstick is a well of a wisdom – we learned the most wonderful cure for a hangover. Which, like most of the best things in life, involves nudity.

Joe’s story, reported in the Evening Standard

“I made a new feminist friend called Sarah – on her arrival she lobbed a bag of bras across the room that are bound for Kenya, via Mama Biashara.

“She and I bonded over our mutual hatred of another feminist and found we both support The English Collective of Prostitutes in their bid to decriminalise sex work.

“When we went to Wetherspoons, we discussed the virtues of Chris Dangerfield and the problems with third-wave feminism before the conversation moved on to the wonders of tea tree oil. We shared our experience of using this magic potion as a natural cure for vaginal thrush.

“Socially conscious Sarah interjected: What if a woman is not privileged enough to own a douching kit?

“Copstick immediately swung in her seat, both legs erected up in the air, and jiggled. The Wetherspoon community, of course, did not bat an eyelid but it may have been too much for sweet Simba, a street musician I had befriended on my fag break. He was considering entertaining us at the next Grouchy Club on July 11th but, after the demonstration of how to achieve a healthy vagina using the upside-down method, he made his excuses and vanished into the night.

“What an adventure!

“Earlier, the angel cards had verified that John gives trustworthy guidance and Copstick is loved by many, bringing joy to those whose tits she touches.”

Samantha added to me:

“If the blog goes up, could you link to my Edinburgh Fringe crowdfunder at the end? I am offering my Tarot readings as a perk! Perhaps at the bottom it could say: Would you like a psychic reading from Sammie? As a mystic she regularly appears on Psychic TV, has featured in It’s Fate and has over 200 5 star ratings. For a £25 donation to her Edinburgh fund, you can get a 20-30 minute reading in person or on the phone.

The appealing Samantha’s Edinburgh crowdfunding video

I told her No – it is too blatantly commercial for this blog, because the whole point is to plug me and the Grouchy Club.

If she is psychic, I wouldn’t need to tell her this and she wouldn’t need to tell anyone anything.

I asked if she had any pictures of the tit-grabbing.

She said No.

Life is a never-ending frustration.

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Noel Faulkner closes the Comedy Cafe. He’s not on drugs. He’s got Tourette’s.

Say goodbye to the logo after 26 years...

Say goodbye to the laughter after 26 years.

I got a message late last night from Noel Faulkner: “I will call you tomorrow to talk about losing the club.”

London’s Comedy Cafe is closing at the end of this month, after 26 years.

“We have been negotiating this for the last fucking year,” he told me. “I thought the comedy could stay, but the guy is a prick.”

“So why is it?” I asked. “The lease has ended on the building?”

“Yeah. They bid £80,000 more than we did and we can’t meet those figures, because comedy is not doing that well, you know?”

“So when exactly,” I asked, “does the Comedy Cafe close?”

“New Years Eve.”

“With a big party?” I asked.

“There will be a party on Tuesday 3rd January?”

“Where?”

“In the Comedy Cafe, because we have nine days to pull out all the equipment.”

“You have,” I asked, “been looking round for other places?”

“Yeah, well yes. But you might as well be looking up your own fucking asshole. Everyone is a fucking idiot – except me, of course.”

“Why is that?” I asked.

“Well, people go: Oh yeah, yeah, great. And they want to rent me rooms. And I tell them: Comedy costs me £600 a night to put on, not counting PR. I can’t afford the rent. You are going to take the bar money. But they don’t understand it and Shoreditch is up its own ass.”

“You would prefer to stay in Shoreditch?” I asked.

“Well, that’s where we are known. I can’t move to fucking Tierra del Fuego, you know? You need to stay around where people know you cos, y’know, 26 fucking years.”

“And the landlord,” I said, “is just interested in the money – obviously.”

“Of course!” said Noel. “What do you think he’s interested in? Comedy?”

“And the new leaseholder?” I asked.

Noel Faulkner - sharp suited

Noel – smiling in the face of adversity

“The new owner wants me to stay in, because he can’t get people in his bar early – he owns 10 pubs in Shoreditch. But he doesn’t want to pay us anything for the fixtures and fittings. We re-wired the building. We put in new floors and toilets And he has already gazumped us, so I’m not going to turn round and say: Oh! I’m going to help you do good business now, even though you fucked me over and given me nothing for goodwill. So it doesn’t look like it could work with him.”

“Is there,” I asked, “a slight possibility it might?”

“It doesn’t look good. He hasn’t got back to me in two weeks. So it’s probably the end of the Comedy Cafe, unless I can find something else. I can’t really talk about this. I’m so fucking wound up, John. It’s so really annoying. The whole thing is fucking annoying. It’s 26 years. Boom! Whoom! Bang! Nothing I could do. We never made the big money. Big names play your club once and then, after that, they’re too busy to come back to you.

“There’s very little support in the comedy business. A bunch of cunts. No better than the fucking City Boys, to be honest. An awful lot of wankers in the business.”

I laughed.

“But there are,” Noel re-emphasised. “Like (he named a promoter). And the other fuckers. They’re just fucking horrible people.”

“Why are they horrible?” I asked. “They’re just trying to make a living.”

“Well,” suggested Noel, “it’s screwing comics out of their fees to make a living. Is that OK? That’s a ridiculous statement, John. The judge asks: Why did you rob a bank? – Oh, I’m just trying to make a living, yer honour! – Oh, OK. No problem there! So, no, that’s a terrible argument, John.”


NOEL HAS POSTED A NEW MUSIC VIDEO ON YOUTUBE:

 

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The Grouchy Club Live – What is killing comedy. Why men wash. £1,000 a week.

Ada Campe performed at the Grouchy Club Live tonight

Ada Campe – magical at the Grouchy Club Live

Tonight, I went to the Grouchy Club monthly live meet-up for people in the comedy business and anybody else who is interested. Well, I would do, I chair it with comedy critic Kate Copstick.

Often, comics come along and perform ten minutes of material – tonight it was the extraordinarily charismatic Ada Campe – but mostly it is just a case of the audience chatting about the business.

It can last two or three hours – as long as feels natural – with people arriving and leaving when they want, although arrive late and you’ll probably miss something outrageous.

Matt Price reacts to an approach by Kate Copstick tonight

Matt Price reacted to a comment by Kate Copstick tonight

On this occasion, we kept mostly to the subject of comedy and this brief conversation ensued between Copstick, storytelling comic Matt Price and Comedy Cafe Theatre owner Noel Faulkner.

Noel had arrived late, so Copstick explained to him what had just happened.


COPSTICK
Matt evinced the opinion – which was met with a distinct murmur on the floor here – that ‘new material’ nights are killing comedy.

NOEL
No, they’re not.

MATT
What I meant was that I believe incorrectly billed ones are.

NOEL
I would agree with you 100%. Shit venues are ruining comedy. Bad set-ups. Look, you’re a young guy, you’ve got a date, you think: Oh! I’ll take her to comedy. She’ll be happy. she’ll laugh. That’s why, when you have a lot of couples in the audience, the room is stoic – because the guys are thinking: Well, I can’t laugh at that, because she’ll think that I’m this kind of person if I laugh at that joke, because that joke sounds homophobic, racist or whatever other PC shite.

Bad venues are killing comedy. There are venues that are horribly, badly run with dirty, smelly promoters who wash once a year.

COPSTICK
Comedy now is getting a television audience. It’s not really getting a comedy audience. The comedy audience that used to be there is still there, but it’s not big enough for the massive tsunami of quite shit comics that just keeps coming and coming and coming and coming. So the audiences they’re getting on all these nights are television audiences – I want to see him or her off the telly – They’re not really interested enough or have any feeling enough for comedy to sit and watch real newbies or new material.

NOEL
Most people want to go to work on Monday morning and say: Oh we were at the O2 Arena and saw ‘im off the telly! Oh, it was great! We was this close to the screen, we saw everything!… And they’ve paid £80. I mean, for fuck’s sake. Seriously. What? £60? £80? Jesus Christ! you could do things with that kind of money, besides sit and watch (the equivalent of) a DVD. What’s that I see way down there? Oh, great!

Also, things change. The whole comedy scene is changing. Young people, they wanna go and watch movies outdoors – that’s a great fucking idea. An uncomfortable chair, some shit movie from 20 years ago. I mean, OK if you’re gonna cop a feel off the girl beside you OK but, otherwise, who would have ever thought outdoor movies on rooftops is a great idea?

Guys will go anywhere where the girls are. If it wasn’t for women, we wouldn’t wash. Guaranteed. What would the point be?

The whole thing has changed and we can’t get used to the idea. We came through the era when comedy was like The Beatles – the new rock ’n’ roll. It was taking off; it was great; you opened a club above a room and people were getting paid £300 for a gig.

COPSTICK
Really?

NOEL
From Eugene Cheese. He always did a door split. Comics were making more money 15 years ago than they are now. A mate of mine who was in the mainstream in 1973 was taking home £300 a night. Working men’s clubs. Milo McCabe’s father. He was a mainstream comic. He would stand in the middle of the floor at a working men’s club – a stag do or whatever – and he would do the jokes, take the piss out of the guys – bang, bang, bang, bang, bang – I’d say Let’s have a beer and he’d say No, let’s get out of here. There’s a stripper coming on in a minute and the place is probably going to get busted and I can’t have that happen to me. Because he was doing a little telly at the time.

They would have a stag show, the comic would get up, then a stripper would come – big, big money. The average comic was making £1,000 a week, no problem, in the early 1990s.

COPSTICK
We are now going to hand out tissues to all the working comics in the room. I didn’t do stand-up, but I did comedy cabaret and you’re right: there were go-go dancers on before, then comedy, funny songs and a bit of chat and then a stripper – and that was in Edinburgh!

So… (TO MATT) what you were saying about new comedy nights today…

MATT
This is no offence to anybody, because we’re all part of the same circuit, but I think you sometimes now get nights that are billed, for example, as “eight professional comics trying out new material” – It’s free entry and you go in and you think: Hold on! None of you are pro comics. What are you talking about? You’re all moaning about your day job. First thing they say (off stage) is: Who’s your agent? How do you get an agent? Who do I speak to?

And I think: Why are you doing that? Don’t put that on the poster! Because it’s killing everything long-term.

15 years ago, I went to the Comedy Cafe and saw Geoff Boyz. He is, to me, the consumate pro. He said to me: It takes you ten years to be a professional. That’s before you start to get good at it; and then probably another ten to master it.

Yes, you can make it in three years if your dad works for the BBC. But you’ve still got to deliver the middle-aged men’s material they’re writing for you. This is an art form and people are fucking it up by lying about what they can do. I know people who can’t do 10 minutes who are doing a one-hour show at the Edinburgh Festival – the most prestigious arts festival in the world – and they can’t even stand on stage at a proper comedy club and deliver 10 minutes of jokes to an audience who are there to be entertained.

NOEL
It’s become a social life for some very sad people. They go up to Edinburgh and they do their hour and their hour is not ready. I had somebody ask me: Come and see my show. And I said: There’s no way I’m spending an hour of my fucking life in Edinburgh when I can be watching Chinese acrobats swinging from the ceiling with large breasts. Forget it! You’re not ready for an hour! I was very rude and very blunt and it was just water off a duck’s back. I had to be that blunt with this person, because they really were thick-skinned.

That’s ruining the business. TV has saturated the business. And we need to find a new road for live comedy.


After-show chat at the grouchy Club earlier tonight

Some after-show chat at the live Grouchy Club earlier tonight

In 2016, there will be live Grouchy Club comedy industry meet-ups held in the performance space at the back of Kate Copstick’s Mama Biashara charity shop in Shepherd’s Bush, London, at 6.30pm on the following dates. Anyone can come. Entry is free. Exit is free.

Tuesday 12th January
Tuesday 9th February
Tuesday 8th March
Tuesday 12th April
Tuesday 10th May
Tuesday 14th June
Tuesday 12th July

Details on http://www.grouchyclub.co.uk

After tonight’s show, for some incomprehensible reason, I mentioned to London-based Glasgow comic Martha McBrier that, as I am originally Scots, I tend to pronounce the grocery store chain as the Co-per-aytive rather than the Co-opp-rative. This triggered a 20-second duet between Martha McBrier and Kate Copstick…

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Russell Brand supports Comedy Cafe owner Noel Faulkner’s ‘secret’ charity

Russell Brand is supporting Ghar Sita Mutu

Russell Brand supports Ghar Sita Mutu

“So you have Russell Brand,” I said to Noel Faulkner yesterday.

Noel owns London’s Comedy Cafe Theatre.

“Yes,” he told me. “He’s going to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Comedy Cafe by doing a gig on Wednesday 3rd June for the orphanage in Nepal.”

“This is the charity,” I said, “that you’ve always refused to let me mention in my blog in case it makes you look too amiable?”

“Yes. You can say it’s a Comedy Cafe friendly charity.”

“What is a Comedy Cafe friendly charity?” I asked.

“One that we fuckin’ support,” replied Noel. “Whatever. The show’s also got Trevor Lock, Andrew Maxwell, Jimmy James Jones and Kate Lucas.”

“What’s the orphanage called?” I asked.

“House With a Heart (Ghar Sita Mutu).”

The charity’s website says it provides a home for abandoned children, an education center for impoverished women and children and an outreach program for needy families.

“How long has it been running?” I asked.

“I don’t want to go into all that,” said Noel. “I like people to think I’m a bit of a cunt… Alright, the charity has been going for thirteen years. In Kathmandu, Nepal.”

“Oh bloody hell!” I said. “Is it actually in the city itself? Was it affected by the earthquakes?”

Some of the House with Heart ‘family’ by one of the garden tents

Some of the House with a Heart ‘family’ by one of the tents

“At the moment, they’re living in tents in the front garden because the building is cracked. We are flying an engineer out from America to look at the building. He’s going out there with the founder of the charity, Beverly Bronson.”

“How many people are living in the garden?” I asked.

“Thirty one plus neighbours,” said Noel. “We’re taking care of neighbours. A lot of poor people live around it.”

“Is 31 the capacity of the orphanage?” I asked.

The House with a Heart in Kathmandu

House with a Heart – as it was before quake – in Kathmandu

“Well,” said Noel, “25 kids in the house and 6 adults – there’s a gardener, a maintenance guy, a manager and so on.”

“What age are the kids?”

“From 4 to 22. The 22-year-old is just getting ready to go to college and move into outside accommodation, which we will still… We will see these people right to a career.”

“How do you choose the kids?” I asked.

”There is no way you choose… If you’ve got room and somebody dumps a baby on your doorstep… you take it in. There’s going to be a lot of abandoned kids with this crisis. People can’t feed them, so they dump them on your doorstep. We’ve only had one that was abandoned so far. Well, actually, a few of our kids were abandoned by their parents – neighbours who were very poor were looking after them.”

“How often do you go out to Nepal yourself?”

Beverly Bronson with supporters Noel Faulkner (right) and Dr Mark Rogers

Beverly Bronson + Noel Faulkner (right) & Dr Mark Rogers

“I used to go once a year. Beverly goes twice. She lives in New York. She has a little retro antique shop in the Village. She founded the whole thing and the Comedy Cafe just stepped in with a little finance. She keeps an eye out that every kid is being taken care of, has got their needs, got their dental care. Young girls turning into women go to a doctor and are told how it all works. We have an outreach programme that trains women to sew and we pay them $20 a month and, at the end of six months, they’re qualified and then we buy them a sewing machine and then they can make a few bob.”

“How,” I asked, “did you get Russell Brand for the show?”

“I bumped into him on the street. He reminded me about the time I threw him out of the Comedy Cafe for being a cunt.”

“What,” I asked, “was he doing?”

“He was walking on the tables.”

“When was that?”

“About 23 years ago.”

“Have you seen him since then?”

“No, I just bumped into him this week.”

“What else is happening?”

“I’m working on my Touettte’s song I’m Not On Drugs, I’ve Got Tourette’s.”

“When will that come to fruition?”

“Probably two months.”

Noel Faulkner has Tourette Syndrome.

He is not a cunt.

But don’t tell anyone.

His rap song Comfort Zone with Jimmy James Jones is on YouTube.

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Comedy club owner turns badass rapper

The Comfort Zone

Here’s an extract from a new rap video featuring George W Bush, Barrack Obama, Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, a London comedy club owner and a young stand-up comic:

I know the human being and fish can co-exist peacefully. Yes we can. He has existing and active military plans which could be activated within 45 minutes. I did not have sexual relations with that woman.

Paedos on the telly, looking like stars
Paedos in Rome and the House of Lords
Paedos in the pockets of all the police
Hope the dirty buggers don’t have their eyes on my niece

Football on the telly to convince you you’re a winner
When the price of a shirt could buy the whole family dinner
Children in the world all starving and alone
Wishing they could be in the Comfort Zone

“It’s got something, hasn’t it?” he asked me.

“It’s visually fascinating,” I said. “That bit with you in the Taj Mahal and the faces on the wall. And an older man in a purple suit and a young black guy.”

“There’s something there, isn’t there?” he said.

“You should go up to the Edinburgh Fringe with it,” I said.

“I fucking hate Edinburgh,” he told me. “Standing around surrounded by multi-millionaires who pretend they don’t have any fucking money with their fucking Caribbean tans. Fuck them, the rich bastards. I’m just jealous. I wanted to launch it on your blog first,” he told me at his club yesterday. “I wanted to support you.”

“At my age,” I said, “I need support. Maybe a zimmer frame.”

In the increasingly prestigious Grouchy Club Podcast a month ago, Comedy Cafe Theatre owner Noel Faulkner said he was about to release a rap video called The Comfort Zone. And now he has.

“Why?” I asked him yesterday. “You are over 25 years old. Why are you doing it?”

“Why am I rapping? I just had something to say and I wanted to say it, but I had to do it in a character, otherwise it just didn’t work for me. Maybe cos I was an actor. It all started as a joke and then I got some good words out.”

“What was the joke?” I asked.

“Just me pretending to be streetwise. The group… we call ourselves A and I – Artificial Intelligence… or African and Irish… Jimmy James Jones is of African descent and I’m Irish.”

Noel Faulkner and Jimmy James Jones outside the Comedy Cafe and well out of The Comfort Zone

Noel Faulkner and Jimmy James Jones outside the Comedy Cafe Theatre in Shoreditch and well out of The Comfort Zone

“And,” I asked, “why did you have to say things?”

“Cos these are the things that are in my head,” Noel told me. “You gotta get your message out. I do rants on Wednesday nights at the Comedy Cafe, except I take out the comedy. I just tell the audience how fucked the system is and talk about fractional-reserve banking and shit like that and they just stare at me and then I tell them they’re a bunch of cunts because they didn’t pay to get in anyway, because Wednesday night is open mic night. So they just stare at me in disgust and think: Oh well, it’s warmer here than in our apartment, so we’ll stay.

“How,” I asked, “did you persuade Jimmy James Jones he should play second fiddle to an older man in a purple suit?”

“Well,” replied Noel, “I manage him. He is going to be one of the hottest comics in Britain: just watch this space.”

“It’s a really well directed promo,” I said.

Noel Faulkner at the Comedy Cafe yesterday

Noel Faulkner at the Comedy Cafe yesterday

“I had a very good cameraman and film  maker – Max McCabe – so we directed together.”

“What do you want to get out of it?” I asked.

“Ahm gonna get ma bitches,” said Noel. “Ahm gonna get ma hot tub, get cheaper crystal meth off the boys cos I’m cool in da hood.”

“Ah,” I said.

“And there’s another song to follow,” he continued, “called I’m Not on Drugs; I’m on Tourette’s”.

Noel has Tourette Syndrome.

I’m not on drugs. I’ve got Tourette’s
I’m a mover and a shaker. That’s as good as it gets

If you see me twitching on the dance floor
Don’t come up to me and ask me if you can score
The girls look at me and my dancing feet
They think he looks kinda crazy, but he’s kinda neat

I’m a mover and a shaker. That’s as good as it gets
I’m not on drugs. I’m on Tourette’s

Let’s twitch!

“You and Jimmy James Jones look visually good together,” I said.

“There’s a great TV show there, surely?” said Noel. “Jimmy and me. He’s the struggling young black comic. I’m the crazy fucking Irish manager. That’s a TV concept.”

“Called?” I asked.

“A and I,” said Noel.

You can see A and I – Noel Faulkner and Jimmy James Jones – singing Comfort Zone on Vimeo.

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Why the owner of the Comedy Cafe says his Tourette’s is better than cocaine

Noel Faulkner with Kate Copstick outside the Comedy Cafe Theatre

Noel Faulkner meets Kate Copstick outside the Comedy Cafe

Comedy critic Kate Copstick and I recorded our fourth weekly Grouchy Club Podcast yesterday afternoon at the Comedy Cafe Theatre in London.

I asked venue owner Noel Faulkner:

“Weren’t you one of the ten most wanted men in America at one point?”

“I,” said Noel, “was, I was… err… I was on the Te… Eh, yeah… yeah…”

“Why was that, Noel?” asked Copstick. “Tell us.”

“Erm…,” said Noel. “I was, eh… I was… I, err… I… well…”

“I think he’s floundering,” I said to Copstick.

“Right,” said Noel, “erm…”

“Spit it out,” said Copstick.

“I am a very good sailor,” said Noel.

“Right…,” said Copstick.

“And good sailors are hard to come by if you need people to smuggle. So I was approached to smuggle marijuana. They asked me to run coke from Colombia but I wouldn’t do it because, for every line of cocaine you snort, somebody’s been murdered and I didn’t fancy getting murdered off the coast of Colombia or coming into San Francisco just because somebody said: That boat’s got a load of coke in it...

“I had a mate who had a boat who never came back. We knew he was on his way up from the Coast and we never saw him again and he didn’t hit the storm; he was way behind the storm. It passed and he never came in. So we figured somebody met him on the way in and… him, the boat, everything went to the bottom.”

“I think,” said Copstick, “that there should be Fair Trade cocaine.”

“Actually,” said Noel, “cocaine is the shittiest drug going.”

“Really?” asked Copstick.

“You’re a babbling idiot at four o’clock in the morning, you need more coke and you phone up somebody you met in a public toilet about two years ago – who was your best friend because you were bored off your tits on coke and he’s going: Wah… Hello? Who? Who?

“The thing about other drugs is you get high, you go up and you come down and it’s nice. But coke – you get high and, at the beginning, it’s great but then it’s like there’s nowhere else to go. And, if you’re having sex with cocaine…”

“Oh,” lamented Copstick. “Coke dick – dreadful.”

Noel continued: “… it’s great at the beginning – and particularly for a man – but you can’t orgasm. And, if you’ve done a lot of coke, well, you’re just a spare prick in a whorehouse. But, having Tourette’s (Syndrome, as Noel does), I don’t need cocaine because it’s like being on coke all the time.”

“Really??” asked Copstick.

Kate Copstick talked to Noel Faulkner yesterday

Kate Copstick recording podcast with Noel Faulkner yesterday

“Oh yeah,” said Noel.

“Why is that?” I asked.

“You’re permanently speedy and quick-thinking.”

“If you breathe heavily on me,” Copstick asked, “could I catch it?”

“You have to be lying down,” said Noel.

“OK,” said Copstick.

You can hear more about Noel and the 4 tons of marijuana he smuggled into the U.S. in the full 36-minute podcast HERE.

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Critic Kate Copstick on her dislike of Lee Evans and Only Fools and Horses

Copstick takes a leek during yesterday’s Grouchy Club Podcast recording

Copstick took a leek during yesterday’s recording of the Grouchy Club Podcast

Yesterday, after unsuccessfully trawling St Pancras station for a likely place to sit, comedy critic Kate Copstick and I recorded our third Grouchy Club Podcast sitting outside the British Library on  Euston Road in London. The result runs 44 minutes and is HERE.

We also recorded it on video so that I could upload a 10-minute clip onto YouTube… But I may have erased that by accident. I will find out this afternoon when I go to the Apple Store in Regent Street and throw myself on their mercy. 

Among the things Copstick and I discussed yesterday were why Free Fringe founder Peter Buckley Hill told her I was “odious” and why Copstick thinks comedy critic Bruce Dessau is wrong to say I am “enigmatic”.

Copstick has very strong opinions which she is not afraid to express, as demonstrated in this brief extract from the podcast:


COPSTICK
…….. I’ll tell you what else The Man had, which was massive quantities of sweat. We were quite a small, intimate audience…

JOHN
You must love Lee Evans, then.

COPSTICK
Oh! I can’t stand… I don’t find him funny.

JOHN
Oh, poor Lee Evans. He’s very funny.

COPSTICK
I really don’t. I mean, I appreciate he’s a national treasure and everybody else in the world does, but I don’t find ‘stupid’ funny. I hate all the falling around and the ridiculous hurtling around on stage. I just can’t stand it. I just have to look away. When he used to be not-so-outrageously-famous-and-hugely-internationally-successful and he was on, say, at the Comedy Store, I used to go out (of the room) when he was on. All that manic hurtling around and the slapstick and the craziness I can’t cope with.

I’m a very un-fan of Buster Keaton, Abbot & Costello, all of those. I hate – I really really do dislike – any kind of slapstick comedy. I find it irritating in the extreme, because it’s stupid.

JOHN
But surely the basis of comedy is stupidity.

COPSTICK
No, the basis of comedy is aggression, I think you’ll find, John.

JOHN
The basis of your reviews is aggression.

COPSTICK
No no no no no. The basis of my reviews is truth about and passion for. That’s not aggression.

JOHN 
I have a feeling your autobiography is going to be called My Struggle.

COPSTICK
(Laughs) But, erm, no no no, I don’t think my…

JOHN
There is no basis of comedy, because there is no one thing called comedy, is there? There are all sorts of reasons for laughing.

COPSTICK
It’s, yes, disguised aggression and I don’t believe particularly that there’s a great deal of comedy that doesn’t have something as its butt.

JOHN
I never understood the Laurel & Hardy thing – even as a kid – where kicking someone in the bottom was apparently very funny in 1920 or something.

COPSTICK
I mean, the whole banana skin thing… Just look where you are going, for Godsake!

JOHN
But that can work. It’s the timing, isn’t it? You’re not laughing particularly at the slapstick. You’re laughing at the timing, because it’s unexpected…

COPSTICK
It’s… I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s a worry, but it irritates me. It used to irritate me more – many other things about me irritate me more now. But it used to irritate me that I didn’t understand what’s funny about slapstick. Even if it doesn’t make me laugh out loud, I have a need to understand… I don’t get it.

JOHN
But the (British) nation’s ‘funniest’ joke is in Only Fools and Horses, isn’t it? Where he falls…

COPSTICK
Where he falls through the… yes…

JOHN
… falls through the bar.

COPSTICK
It’s beautifully done. But, you see, I hated Only Fools and Horses.

JOHN
I didn’t like it either, but…

COPSTICK
I really hated Only Fools and Horses.

JOHN
Why did you hate Only Fools and Horses?

COPSTICK
Because the people were stupid. Rodney was stupid.

JOHN
I thought they were cartoon characters who didn’t quite work.

COPSTICK
Yeah…


Noel Faulkner this week at the Comedy Cafe

Next, Noel Faulkner – Grouchy at the Comedy Cafe

Next Sunday’s recording of The Grouchy Club Podcast (no audience admitted) will be at London’s Comedy Cafe Theatre and should have its highly outspoken owner Noel Faulkner discussing comedy with Copstick.

Slander and libel lawyers – You have been warned!


You can listen to the third Grouchy Club Podcast HERE.

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