Tag Archives: Giant Leap

Lewis Schaffer knocks himself. Cocaine is a Nice Little Earner for Jason Cook.

After yesterday’s blog appeared, Lewis Schaffer – a man who knows a thing or two about effective promotion using ‘self-knocking copy’ – issued a double press release:


One Giant Leap for Lewis Schaffer

Giant Leap – one small step for Lewis Schaffer

In what has to be the most insane move of the year, Lewis Schaffer, the failed old New York Jewish comic now living in Nunhead, Southeast London, has been cast to co-star in a play making its debut at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

He will be co-starring with comics Tom Stade and Phil Nichol in the new play GIANT LEAP at The Pleasance. He is in every scene of the 70 page script, has lines on over 60 of the pages and is to be paid money and accommodation.

This is to be Lewis Schaffer’s first live acting gig since he appeared in The Odd Couple as a 17 year-old at Great Neck North Senior High School on Long Island, some 41 years ago.

Lewis Schaffer is to play a failed old New York Jewish comic.

*   *   *   *   *


Lewis Schaffer’s tour poster

Lewis Schaffer – the current national tour poster

In a shocking announcement, Lewis Schaffer star of the the Free until Famous brand, is to charge admission for his formerly free show, the first time in seven years at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015.

He will be interrupting his unique and amazing Free until Famous tour to ask for money in advance. His tour is at over 45 of the largest and most prestigious theatres and arts centres in the UK. Dates include 23rd July at Exmouth; 24 July in Guildford; and July 25th at Barnsley.

Jason Cook A Nice Little Earner

Jason Cook on to A Nice Little Earner

That is one way to promote a product. Another way is to take the Jason Cook route, which is to buy me breakfast at a cafe in Borehamwood.

Jason is heavily dyslexic yet has just published A Nice Little Earner, his third book in a gangster quadrilogy. Yesterday morning, over bacon & beans, he told me:

“We’re launching a competition for the new book. You have to answer a question about Vinny Jones – all the details are on the website – and you win copies of all three books, signed by me. And I’m going to be doing signings again at WH Smiths and Waterstones in August.

“Five months after that, we will publish the fourth book – Cocaine: The Devil’s Dandruff. And, in the meantime, we’re working on the film scripts.”

“There were,” I said, “only going to be three books?”

Jason - “Elements have been changed to protect ourselves"

Jason – “Elements have been changed to protect ourselves”

“Well,” Jason told me, “the editor looked at the third book and said: There’s two books in here. What do you want to do? So I said: Publish it as two books. So we cut the third one into two books. The four of them can be read separately or as one story.”

“How do I describe these books?” I asked. “Fictionalised reality?”

“They’re based,” said Jason Cook, “on a real-life story, but the elements have been changed to protect ourselves and other people.”

The central character running through the books is called The Cookster.

“Remind me what the four books are about,” I prompted.

Jason Cook’s first two semi-autobiographical crime books

Publicity for Jason’s first two semi-autobiographical books

“The first one,” said Jason, “There’s No Room for Jugglers in My Circus, is about a young boy who grew up in Borehamwood and how he gets involved in criminality – drugs and gun crime – and is used as a chess-piece in an international smuggling ring. It’s set in London, Borehamwood, Marbella, Colombia and Jamaica.

The Gangster’s Runner is about how organised crime works and who’s involved – the trappings – fast money, power, cocaine, guns.

One way to publicise yourself: your own money Jason Cook

One way to publicise yourself: print your own Cookster money

A Nice Little Earner is about the main characters in the drug smuggling, about Mr Niz, his smuggling of the cocaine and about the ‘firms’ in London.

Cocaine: The Devil’s Dandruff will bring it all to an end and how Mr Niz was involved. He was actually nicknamed ‘the milkman’ because he was able to deliver cocaine in any country.”

“So,” I said, “overall, the books are about…”

“They’ve got,” said Jason, “police, gangsters, villains, a grass, prison, plenty of powder and connections to the football and boxing underworlds.”

Say hello to Jason Cook's little friend

Wanna publish? Okay. Say hello to my little friend. 

“Connections?” I asked.

“Organisations,” Jason said, “with regard to boxing promoters and football ‘arrangements’ and bribery and the signing-over of a Premier football club… allegedly.”

I asked: “Not a player? A club.”

“A club,” said Jason. “And there’s a football player who gets blackmailed. The footballer’s being blackmailed by the footballer’s wife.”

“His own wife?”



Jason has plans to film his books

Jason – plans to turn his books into movies

“Because he’s fixing matches. Obviously, we have protected all the names. A lot of it has already been in the news, but you’ll read about it first hand in the book.

“The Sun newspaper sent a reporter down to talk to me and took pictures three months ago but, after talking to their solicitors, they decided not to do the article because, they said, they ‘didn’t want to open a can of worms’.”

“I would have thought,” I told Jason, “that you should be more worried about the consequences to you.”

“I talked to my solicitors about what I could put in the book and talked to a lot of of the people involved.”

Even so…

If true…

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Filed under Books, Boxing, Comedy, Crime, Drugs, Football

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

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

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.

What was the last play you were in?

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.

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

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.

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

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

It was a school play?

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…

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

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.

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

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

Who is Alexander Lass?

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

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

I think it is.

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

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.

And they’re paying you to do it…

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

… paying your way back.

Putting me up. They got a room, yeah.

Putting you up what?

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

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

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

It has to be French, surely – Petard

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

Or Oscar Wilde.

If you laugh, it’s Oscar Wilde.

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

Yes. It’s with Tom Stade, who is…


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

You think he’s better than that?

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.


Filed under Acting, Comedy