Tag Archives: deed poll

I am lazy. Comedy club crowdfunding continues. Comic will change his name.

(L-R) Barry Ferns, Dec Munro, Rachel Warnes and Sarah Pearce

(L-R) The founding four for Angel Comedy 2.0  – Barry Ferns (horizontal), Dec Munro, Rachel Warnes and Sarah Pearce

Oh Jesus.

Mea culpa.

Today is 21st July.

On 3rd June, I had a chat with Barry Ferns and Dec Munro about the Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign they had just started to help finance the new Angel Comedy 2.0 comedy club in London’s Islington. The idea was that I could give their campaign a boost with a blog. What could go wrong?

Well, my laziness and tortuous Things I Am Doing for a start.

I mean, if I am going to bullshit, they didn’t really need me anyway.

Their target was to raise a whopping £20,000.

They did this within a week.

At the time of writing, they have now raised over £45,000 and there are only a five hours left.

But – hey! – at least I will have posted a blog of some kind at some point. The Kickstarter page is at:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/angel-comedy/angel-comedy-club
and Angel Comedy supremo Barry Ferns (an increasingly prestigious Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt Award winner) has posted a very fine video on YouTube about the Angel 2.0 project.

As an incentive to pledge money, donors will be given various limited-edition Angel Comedy goodies. If you donate more than £30, you can name a random object in the building. So there might be a John Fleming knob (on a door). If you pledge £75 or more, there will be a tankard with your engraved name on it above the bar. For £200, you can name the glitter ball. For £500 you can name a toilet. And – recently added to the incentives – you can also re-name Barry Ferns.

“All of our backers get a vote,” Barry told me last week. “Even just a £1 pledge gets a vote. We will be having a proper naming ceremony as part of the official club opening in September – where I will sign the deed poll form and one of our winning backers will get to counter-sign and witness the name change.”

“Why?” I asked. “Just simply, why?”

“To show how grateful we are,” said Barry. “Anyone can suggest a name for me – even a vengeful ex-girlfriend or a maniac like Adam Larter – who is trying to create a name that will get me into as much trouble at passport control as possible. Suggestions so far include: Mr Terrorist, VOID NAME, 000000000 and First Name, Surname. The stakes are quite high…

The new Angel Comedy 2.0 - the whole building

The new Angel Comedy 2.0 – Yes, it’s the whole building

Way back on 3rd June, when I originally talked to Barry and Dec and they only had around £21,000, Barry told me: “The money so far has mostly just come from people who have been to our shows and know we are good people and are not gonna spunk their money on things. We want to do something good and they’ve seen us do something good over the last six years.”

“Why,” I asked, “did you decide to start the second club in Islington when you already have the 7-days-a-week  original Angel Comedy club still running?”

“Most clubs,” explained Barry, “are run out of upstairs rooms in pubs – like Angel Comedy. Malcolm Hardee started Up The Creek, but he bought the building. So the four of us put money in to buy this building but with the realisation that, once we owned the building, it would take more money to make it right.”

“You have the building on a seven-year lease?” I asked.

“Seven to eight,” said Barry. “Between the two.”

“That gives you great security,” I said.

“Security is one word,” said Dec Munro. “Millstone is also a word.”

“What do you need the Kickstarter money for?” I asked.

“When it rained two days ago,” said Barry, “we had buckets and things.”

“So,” I said, “you are doing a ‘soft’ opening with various things happening in July and August, but a ‘hard’ opening in September, after the Edinburgh Fringe is done and dusted. What does a ‘hard opening’ mean?”

Dec said: “Consistent opening hours, some resident acts, regular format nights like improv, mixed variety, musical comedy, different weird stuff.”

“There are so many comedians out there,” added Barry, “who are not really supported, because there’s nowhere they can get free preview space or a place that will let them perform absolutely bat-shit crazy stuff or if they are going to take a risk. The reason Angel Comedy has worked is because the new comedians are brilliant. That’s why it works. Not because it’s free; but because the shows are good.”

“Why are you keeping the original Angel Comedy club open?” I asked again.

“Because that is not this,” replied Barry. “That is an open mic club. It is the top of the open mic circuit. Angel Comedy 2.0 is not the open mic circuit.”

“How will the charging here work?” I asked.

“It’s whatever the performers want to do,” explained Barry. “If they want to put on a free night, they can collect in a bucket at the end. If they want to run Bob Slayer’s model, they can do that. If they want to charge £15 for a ticket, they can do that. Our cuts will be cost-only cuts. We won’t take a 60/40 split.”

“So how can you calculate covering costs?” I asked.

Angel Comedy club 2.0

“A permanent home for London’s loveliest comedy night.”

“What we can say,” replied Dec, “is we hope from September not to charge more than a 20% split of any tickets. And that money would go into a magazine or similar to be distributed in the local area to let them know about us.”

“And there is no rental fee for the room?” I asked.

“We,” said Barry, “will not charge a fee that we will make any profit on from renting it out. If we charge any money, it will just go to the publicity costs.

“Here at Angel Comedy 2.0 it’s not always going to be free, but we want it to be a place where people can take risks. We also have space where people can come in at low cost or no cost and record a podcast. And we can teach people how to make films or sketches.

“If you’re an art or theatre student, you can go to university and get access to a lot of other things but, in comedy, there is not that. I have gone bankrupt. I have done the craziest things just to be able to perform. And there is no support unless you have wealthy parents who own a house in London. You have to work at least five days a week to make your rent and then you have two hours to perform comedy when you’re exhausted and you have no resources.”

Thus said Barry Ferns.

But he may not be Barry Ferns for much longer. He explains more about his re-naming in a video on YouTube:

Leave a comment

Filed under Comedy, London

Lionel Richie squatted in a London council flat and how comic Barry Ferns gives financial support to Michael Palin

Barry Ferns won last year’s Cunning Stunt Award (Photograph by Keir O’Donnell)

Barry Ferns/Lionel Richie won 2014 Cunning Stunt Award (Photograph by Keir O’Donnell)

Comedian Barry Ferns lives directly opposite Monty Python star Michael Palin in Gospel Oak, London

Last year, he won the increasingly prestigious Malcolm Hardee Cunning Stunt Award.

Barry Ferns, not Michael Palin.

“I’m helping Michael out at the weekend,” Barry told me yesterday.

“Doing what?” I asked.

“I paid a cumulative sum of £200 to take my father to see the live Monty Python show. It’s his birthday.”

“Michael Palin’s?” I asked.

“My father’s.”

The other Lionel Richie (Photo by Eva Rinaldi)

The other Lionel Richie in performance. (Photograph by Eva Rinaldi)

Until one month ago, Barry was legally called Lionel Richie.

The beloved American singer-songwriter, musician, record producer and actor.

“It must have been exciting,” I suggested, “for Michael Palin to live opposite Lionel Richie for a time.”

“I have been Lionel Richie for seven years,” said Barry. “I went bankrupt as Lionel Richie.”

“Did you plan that?” I asked. “I have never done it myself, but going bankrupt can be quite profitable.”

“These are the Deed Poll forms,” said Barry.

I looked at the forms. They did indeed show that Lionel Richie was changing his name to Barry Ferns. Well, the forms actually said:

BARRY RICHARD SALVADOR FERNS

“Salvador?” I asked.

“I added a Salvador.”

“Why Salvador?”

“Because it’s so ridiculous.”

“Good movie,” I said.

Barry Ferns, comedian and caterer

Barry Ferns, the man named after a Latin American country

“If I ever write an autobiography,” said Barry, “I am thinking of calling it My Seven Years as Lionel Richie.”

“I am still not quite sure,” I said “why you became Lionel Richie.”

“In 2001,” said Barry, “I started sticking stickers on things which said THIS BELONGS TO LIONEL RICHIE.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Because I found it very funny… The idea that Lionel Richie was going round acquiring things and then sticking stickers on things. That was in 2001.”

“To publicise a show?” I asked.

“No. Though I had taken a couple of shows to the Edinburgh Fringe before and I did another one in 2004. Its full title was The OAP Comedy Spectacular (Guaranteed Winner of The 2004 Perrier Award or Double Your Money Back From Their Pensions). We got a load of old age pensioners to perform in a sketch show.”

“And now Monty Python has followed in your footsteps,” I said.

Barry aka Lionel atop Arthur’s Seat

Barry/Lionel – Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh

“In 2007,” Barry continued, “I wanted to make Edinburgh look like it belonged to Lionel Richie. My two thoughts were: It would be hilarious if I were called Lionel Richie. And it would also mean I couldn’t get sued by Lionel Richie for claiming things belonged to him. Because I legally WAS Lionel Richie.

“So, in 2007, I changed my name to Lionel Richie and went bankrupt and the show was called This Sketch Show Belongs to Lionel Richie and I also did a show as Lionel Richie in 2008 but, in 2009, I was just working so hard to get my life back in order… and I was squatting as well.

“I lived in the best squat in the world. Mock Tudor mansions on Swains Lane in Highgate. They’re all council houses. There were three flats next to each other and some law had come in that only one flat was legally allowed to be occupied, because they shared bathroom facilities. Some Council directive had come in which said this. So I filed down the hinges on one of the doors and lived in one of the flats for free for a year.”

“So I can genuinely say Lionel Richie was squatting in a London council house for a year?” I asked.

“Yes,” said Barry.

“I once had a chat,” I told Barry, “with Clint Eastwood in his living room in Wolverhampton.”

“The real Clint Eastwood?” asked Barry.

The other Clint Eastwood

The other Clint Eastwood, who really does not live in Wolverhampton

“No,” I said. “There was – probably still is – a whole sub-culture in the West Midlands of (I guess) out-of-work sheet metal workers listening to country and western music while dressed up as cowboys and cowgirls and going to shooting clubs at the weekend. Clint Eastwood had a Wolverhampton accent and had big pictures of the Old Wild West on his living room wall.”

“That’s brilliant,” said Barry. “I like the pockets of humanity that you wouldn’t expect.”

“I think I might become Gwyneth Paltrow,” I said.

“Please do that,” said Barry. “Let’s have a yearly name change thing. I could be Princess Grace of Monaco.”

“I think,” I said, “in the UK you’re not allowed to call yourself certain things like King, Queen or Lord.”

“Ah, no,” said Barry. “that’s right.”

Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane,” I said, “wanted to call her child God but then changed it to China. I don’t know if she was banned from calling it God or just changed her mind. China is not so good as God for phoning up and booking tables at restaurants.”

“God…” mused Barry. “How can I psychologically harm my child immediately from birth?”

“Well,” I said, Lewis Schaffer’s children are called…”

Lewis Schaffer: the face of a multiple killer

Lewis Schaffer in Nunhead Cemetery (Don’t even go there)

“Hold on, hold on,” said Barry. “Lewis Schaffer has procreated?”

“It is a frightening thought, isn’t it?” I agreed.

“Is he a working father in the sense of Is he there all the time?

“Don’t even go there.” I said.

“I think,” said Barry, “that the whole of Lewis Schaffer’s life should have parentheses added after it – (Don’t even go there).”

“Well, Lewis is going to enjoy this blog,” I said, “because it will mention his name and two people will have been talking about him.”

Barry Fern’s Edinburgh Fringe show this year is called The Barry Experience.

It always is when I meet him.

It would be interesting if he changed his name to Lewis Schaffer for seven years. He would get another Edinburgh Fringe show and it would make Lewis Schaffer very happy.

Leave a comment

Filed under Comedy, Humor, Humour