Tag Archives: genitalia

Comedy critic Kate Copstick teaches me about beautiful male and feline genitalia

Kate Copstick after he Grouchy Club Podcast yesterday

Copstick in Mama Biashara after the Grouchy Club Podcast

Yesterday afternoon, with Kate Copstick newly returned to London from Kenya, we recorded our weekly Grouchy Club Podcast.

Because there was a loud African band playing live in the performance space at the back of her Mama Biashara shop in Shepherd’s Bush. we went to a nearby cafe for the recording.

A man was sitting alone at the next table. This becomes relevant later on.

As normal, we did not discuss in advance what we might talk about. I just switched my iPhone on and started recording. Seven minutes into the 25 minute podcast, we had reached this point…


COPSTICK
I have to say…

JOHN
You don’t have to say… You don’t, you don’t.

COPSTICK
No, I do. I feel I have to say that…

JOHN
Hold yourself back for once.

COPSTICK
… I have never thought testicles… even the late, great and ever-increasingly prestigious Malcolm Hardee’s bollocks – They were extraordinary, but they weren’t beautiful – I’ve never seen a beautiful pair of human bollocks. I’ve seen a couple of very beautiful penises, but bollocks are not beautiful.

But my cat in Kenya. His little bollocks, they were beeauutiful!. Under his tail, obviously, there was the arse…

JOHN
Obviously.

COPSTICK
Then, under the arse, it was like a little heart-shaped pouch, a little heart-shaped furry pouch. And then, just under the little heart-shaped furry pouch, was another tiny little hole which I only noticed because, when I used to tickle his tummy, he used to get a tiny catty erection.

JOHN
Are we talking about a cat with two anuses here – two ani?

COPSTICK
No. It was just a little hole where his willy comes out. It retracts, John, when he’s not using it.

JOHN
He has a concave willy?

COPSTICK
No. There’s a little… It’s like… Oh, for God’s sake, I give up. Anyway, it was…

JOHN
I think you should continue the It’s like sentence.

COPSTICK
It was very cute.

JOHN
It’s like… Come on, I want you to carry on that sentence. It’s like

COPSTICK
Well, men’s penises retract. Most animals’ penises retract almost totally. You’ve seen a horse. Even a horse, with its massive penis, it retracts for the sake of safety.

JOHN
It doesn’t retract. It shrinks.

COPSTICK
It retracts, also. It kind of gets hooked up. Fish. Most male animals. It gets almost totally sucked back up into the body with a little bit poking out. And my little cat has a little tiny, kind of…

JOHN
My Little Cat. There could be a toy range to be had here.

COPSTICK
…little glabial tissue.

JOHN
What’s a glabial tissue?

COPSTICK
Or glabular. What’s it called? Globulus? Glabrous? Glabrous. It means tissue with no hair. Like…

JOHN
Bald. There’s nothing wrong with being bald.

COPSTICK
Yes. Like, like, like… the tissue on your willy.


It was around this point that the man sitting alone at the next table in the cafe moved away with his cup to another seat. It was by the window. I guess he wanted to look out at the traffic driving past Shepherd’s Bush Green. We continued talking. The full podcast is HERE.

The West 12 Shopping Centre

The West 12 Shopping Centre in Shepherd’s Bush, London

There will be a live Grouchy Club meeting/show this Tuesday at 6.30pm in the performance area at the back of the Mama Biashara shop in the West 12 Shopping Centre at the south east end of Shepherd’s Bush Green. Mama Biashara is in among the shops by the back end of Morrison’s supermarket. I mention this as the Mama Biashara website is down.

As with our Grouchy Club events at the Edinburgh Fringe, anyone can come. Entry is free.

Tuesday 13th October
Tuesday 10th November
Tuesday 8th December
Tuesday 22nd December

All at 6.30pm

These are not shows where the audience sits and watches. They are aimed at people in showbiz and the media who want to chat about the business and anything else that comes up. Or, as yesterday, talk bollocks. Anyone can come along. A real chat show meeting. A chance to interact with the doyenne of British comedy critics and some fat, slaphead comedy blogger. We are open to anything including occasional live comedy performances.

Luca Cupani (bottom left) at the Awards last night

Luca Cupani (bottom left) at the SYTYF Awards in Edinburgh

This Tuesday Luca Cupani, winner of this year’s So You Think You’re Funny? award at the Edinburgh Fringe will be performing new material for his Fringe show next year. But it’s mainly chat between the audience, Copstick and me. 

Or Copstick just talking bollocks.

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The difficulties of making prop genitalia for stage shows explained, by an expert

Poster for this month’s Pull The Other One

Poster for this month’s Pull The Other One

It will become obvious as this blog progresses why there are maybe fewer illustrations than normal.

Yesterday I was talking to Martin Soan of the Greatest Show on Legs, who also runs London’s monthly Pull The Other One comedy club.

The Greatest Show on Legs are performing two shows at London’s Comedy Cafe Theatre this month and also doing a special performance during the Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Show on the last Friday of the Edinburgh Fringe in August.

But Martin also makes props for other acts.

“Have you had any orders for anything at the Edinburgh Fringe this year?” I asked him.

Martin Soan, master maker of stage genitalia

Martin Soan, master maker of stage genitalia

“It’s a bit early,” he told me. “They usually start coming in panicking about a month before the Fringe starts. Then I get a flurry of requests. And I do a lot of consultation. People ring me up and want things and I tell them: This is the way you can do it cheaper. Have you thought about buying this or that? I talk people through how to make their own props. So I get a lot of consultation for which I get paid absolutely nothing.”

‘You’ll have to start charging this year,” I suggested.

“The thing is people approach me so late,” said Martin. “It’s usually so late I only have time to do things for a couple of people. This year, I can only do a couple cos I’ve got a lot of work on myself.”

“Last weekend,” I prompted, “you were in Omid Djalili’s two shows over two nights at the Hammersmith Apollo.”

“Yes, and the Watford Colosseum on the Thursday night. I got a couple of messages from Omid a couple of weeks before the shows, asking me if I could make some spinning testicles for him.”

“What size were they?”

“Slightly larger than normal. Malcolm Hardee sized bollocks.’

“Oh,” I said, “so they were not like 3ft wide bollocks? How did people see them in a vast theatre?”

“I made the colour of the trousers contrast with the colour of the testicles,” explained Martin. “It went down a storm, so presumably everyone could see it.

“In the show, Omid was sitting with his dad in front of the television and they have this ridiculous pastime – they stick their hands down their trousers and sort of wind each other up by seeing how many times they can twist their bollocks round. So they’ve got it up to five and Omid wanted someone to go on stage at the end of the show, get hold of their own bollocks, twist them round six times then let go and they go whirrr-whirrr-whirrr spinning round like that.

“It was a really difficult prop to make because, obviously, the testicles had to be right close to your own testicles and, obviously, he wanted not just testicles but an appendage to feature as well.

“So I had to research penises and stuff like that in the dark world of sexual applications and I eventually got a silicon penis. It was just really difficult to make it work. The testicles had to look fairly realistic immediately although presumably – once they started spinning round – everyone would realise they were not real.

“The silicon penis made it so difficult, because I had the spinning shaft and only had about 4 centimetres to play with – to motorise it or bungee-rubber-band it up. It was a really difficult prop to make. In the end, the only way to do it was with my own real penis.

“So I showed Omid a little video of it and he was really happy with the prop.

“First of all, he had a member of his family lined-up to do it and they thought it was fantastic up until the point when he described what happens. Then his father got really angry with him and refused to do it. Then he had two really famous people lined-up to do it. They thought it was very, very funny until he explained the actual end of the routine and they both refused to do it. So then he told me I had to do it.”

“And,” I asked, “did it work sensibly?”

“It worked,” laughed Martin. “Not sensibly!”

“How many genitalia props have you made?” I asked.

“Over the years for Edinburgh Fringe shows,” mused Martin. “I would say about ten. Some of them I might have forgotten. It might be a dozen. Over the last maybe five years, I’ve had two or three requests.

“The worst thing is having to do the research. To get the silicon penis for Omid, I had to go on all these sexual paraphernalia sites and you just get fed up with it and then you get loads of spam mail afterwards asking if you want all these weird dildos and things. It’s a pain in the arse.”

“Not what I would have thought,” I said,

“The worst one,” Martin told me, “was for Pete Jonas, who wanted a human-sized female genitalia.”

“How big?”

“About six or eight-feet tall.”

“That,” I said, “is bigger than the human ones I’ve seen.”

“I said human-sized,” explained Martin, “not life-sized.

“I had to do a bit of research – I wanted to get it anatomically correct – and, when I started looking, it was amazing. It really opened my eyes up about the wonderful array of female genitalia that is out there. Not any two are the same. I think most men’s penises are basically the same… or maybe two types – circumcised and non-circumcised – and then the other variation is the size, of course. But female genitalia? It’s a myriad of different styles.

‘Then, after doing the in-depth research, I had to build this giant vagina and it had to talk – the lips had to move – and it had to have eyes that blinked as well.

“Pete Jonas didn’t pick it up for about three weeks. So I had it in my front room with my two daughters in the house and, every time I came in, it was a huge shock. In the end, it got rather wearing.”

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Martin Soan: the tit-fancying surrealist comic who props up other comedians

Yesterday: Martin Soan in a quiet suburban setting

Yesterday, on his way back home to London from Leicestershire, where he had been writing scripts with comedian Boothby Graffoe, surrealist comic Martin Soan stopped off for a meal with me and my eternally-un-named friend at my home in Borehamwood.

“What was that kitchen set you built for Boothby at the Edinburgh Fringe a few years ago?” I asked.

“You know what it was,” Martin said.

“I never saw it,” I replied.

“That was my biggest prop ever!” Martin said. “The idea was that it was a whole kitchen including a Welsh dresser with plates, a washing machine, fridge, double freezer, table, pictures on the wall and bookshelves.

“Boothby did a load of sight gags around the kitchen and, at the penultimate moment of the show, he put some washing in the washing machine – a real one – and says, Look after it and he goes through the door and the washing machine is left alone on stage.

“The washing machine goes whiiiirrrr… Silence… Then whiiiirrrr… Silence… Just the washing machine on stage doing this… and I had programmed it so that, on the third one, it goes into this spin… Whiiiirrrrrrrrrr… and I had upset the balancing of the machine so it gets a lot of vibration and wobble on it and the whole kitchen set starts vibrating and, slowly, things start falling off: the oven walks out and explodes, the fridge falls down in bits, the Welsh dresser’s shelves all drop at a special angle so the plates run off like a pinball machine and it all falls apart in a spectacular and stylistic way.”

“And what were you writing with Boothby yesterday and today?” I asked.

“Basically, the return of The Greatest Show on Legs to the Edinburgh Fringe in August with their new show,” he replied, “which is a deconstruction of the Legs, basically.”

“What’s a deconstruction?” I asked.

Deconstruction means taking it apart and building it up again,” explained Martin.

“And how are you going to do that?”

“We don’t do it. It’s just what we tell people. Then we do the same old shit and everyone thinks we’ve re-invented ourselves.”

“You do other writing work with Boothby, don’t you?” I asked.

“Yup,” Martin said. “He’s a great gag/punchline man and I’m good at creating scenarios and situations. What a lot of people don’t realise about Boothby is he’s a great physical actor: a great clown, great at being stupid. Most people think of him as being a rather cerebral comic on the surreal/intellectual side of things. They don’t realise he’s a great prat-faller and he does that for me and I think he really enjoys it. When I’m writing with him, I’m falling about laughing, because he’s a genius.”

“And you’re a bird watcher,” I said.

“A lot of comedians are ‘twitchers’,” Martin replied. “When I was a kid, I studied my Observer Book of Birds every night before I went to bed. When I was eight years old, I became a member of the XYZ Club.”

“The XYZ Club?” I asked.

“Exceptional Young Zoologists,” Martin explained. “It involved taking a keen interest in animals and birds and their welfare and, when I was eight years old, I was involved in the ecological side of the balance of nature. For my efforts, I received a monthly periodical called Animals and twelve free tickets to the London Zoo which, even in those days, was well worth getting.”

“What’s your favourite bird?” I asked.

“Probably the mistletoe thrush.”

“Why would that be?”

“Because,” he said, “I have a great fondness of them, being a London EastEnder. It was probably the most exotic type bird that I regularly saw.”

“You saw it in Forest Gate?” I asked, genuinely surprised. “Surely it was all sparrows in the East End?”

“I was tremendously fond of sparrows and starlings and skylarks,” he said, “And thrushes, bullfinches and tits – They were all common in the East End at that time.

“Lots of tits in the East End?” I asked.

“Lots of tits in the East End, yeah. We used to get coal tits but no marsh tits and no long-tailed tits.”

“Cold tits?” I asked.

“There are about six tits,” said Martin. “There’s a blue tit, great tit, marsh tit, coal tit and long-tailed tit. I think there might be a bearded tit, too, but I might be getting mixed up with a circus act.”

“You were telling me that,” I said, “this time of year, you get depressed because you have to build all sorts of sexual props for other acts.”

“Yes,” he agreed, “stand-up comedians going up to the Edinburgh Fringe want to do a new show and sometimes they either think of slide shows or some sort of sexually-orientated genitalia props – usually mammoth-sized. In the past, I have had to make a woman’s genitalia six-feet high – all-talking, all-singing, all-dancing… it actually talked. I built it so it talked like a mouth. I looked at millions of women’s genitalia to get it anatomically correct, but I decided there were no two anywhere that were similar.”

“This was research you had to do?” my eternally-un-named friend asked, “on the internet? Or you actually had to go and find…”

“No I did not,” Martin interrupted. “I did not go round asking people like you: Can I have a look at your cervix for someone else’s comedy show?

“Which internet pages did you look at?” I asked. “I think we should see.”

“No,” said Martin, “I don’t want to look again because, in the end, they all start to look like aliens. You start having dreams about them.”

“I know,” I said. “Are you doing any of those sort of props this year?”

“Yes,” said Martin. “I’m doing one for an act that I really do like: Bridget Christie. I’m making a birth canal for her.”

“But you’re not using any for your own Greatest Show on Legs performances at the Fringe…”

“Oh, well,” he replied, “I’m using loads of proper ‘prop’ props. I’m going to have Bob Slayer come on with an enormous pair of maracas and, of course, one of them explodes.”

“Of course,” I said supportively.

“And I’m going to have a proper hospital drip,” Martin continued, “on wheels so we can move it around.”

“Why do people approach you to make props for them?” I asked.

“Because I’m so cheap!” said Martin. “And because I specialise in low-tech props.”

“Innovative,” my eternally-un-named friend interjected,” with materials that are easily acquired.”

“Yeah,” said Martin. “So, if it goes wrong, they can very easily…”

“Like the Red Sparrows on sticks,” my eternally-un-named friend interrupted.

“Yeah,” said Martin. “You got it. And I’m beginning to familiarise myself again with latex.”

Martin paused and looked at me.

“When you write this as a blog, John I expect you to use a little grace,” he said.

“Oh, come on,” I replied.

“At least modify my foul mouth,” he replied. “There was one blog you wrote about me where I was saying Oh, for fuck’s sake fucksake, John, don’t you fuckin… ‘ave you fucking ‘eard of… I mean,” he said, turning to my eternally-un-named friend, “I’m drunk and telling a mate a story and he copies it all down and leaves all the fucks in! He could have quoted me as saying, My goodness, my good man, why I do believe it once happened that... But some of your blogs are funny, John. That one about the mice and Lewis Schaffer…”

There was a suspiciously long pause and then Martin looked me in the eye and said: “You known I had a relationship with a mouse?”

“You see,” I told him. “Lines like that, Martin, are ideal for blogs.”

“It was driving me mad,” he continued, “and I was very cruel to this mouse.”

“You were?” I asked.

“I was,” he replied, “and then I felt sorry for it.”

“How were you cruel to the mouse?” I asked.

“It had made an actual mouse hole,” he explained, “like a Tom & Jerry mouse hole. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a hole and it was very Tom & Jerry and it was in the wainscoting.

“So I set up this very elaborate little crossbow pointing at the mouse hole, triggered by a hair. And, when the mouse came out to get this little bit of cheese, it set off this hair-triggered crossbow which was rubber band powered. The ‘arrow’ was a match with a little pin stuck in the end and it just shot it towards the mouse hole.

“I fucking pinned the mouse! I got it! I killed the fucking mouse! I was so shocked I was immediately full of remorse. But I skewered him. I pinned him. I got the mouse. I killed the bloody mouse. And it made me feel really guilty.”

“Imagine how the mouse felt,” I said.

“I killed a mouse!” said Martin, looking simultaneously glum and triumphant.

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Filed under Comedy, Humor, Humour, Inventions, Mice, Theatre