Tag Archives: Killer Bitch

Comedy’s future in London and what is happening in Canada, Japan and Kenya

PTOO last night - Zuma Puma as ‘The Colonel’

PTOO last night – Zuma Puma as ‘The Colonel’

Last night, I got three interesting e-mails and saw the best potential TV series not yet on TV – Vivienne & Martin Soan’s monthly live comedy show Pull The Other One in South East London.

The PTOO format is bizarre acts plus one token stand-up comedian, which I think might be the next step in the future of comedy in the UK.

Call me obsessed but, with the apparent decline of straight comedy clubs and the rise of the Cabaret Section at the Edinburgh Fringe, something feels likely to change.

Lindsay Sharman compered last night

Lindsay Sharman did it by the book last night

Last night at PTOO, the ever-TV-friendly-faced Lindsay Sharman hosted Cheekykita, who harassed the audience in a crash-helmet, then turned into a black hole… wonderfully acerbic (OK – viciously bitter) musical comedian Kate Lucas (who, last month, was crowned Mercury Comedian of the Year at the Leicester Comedy Festival)… the always wonderfully intense Zuma Puma aka Nelly Scott as a wildly OTT Russian colonel… the Greatest Show on Legs with Martin Soan as a psychotic gay sergeant major… Simon Munnery being superbly funny as the token stand-up (You know, when Simon Munnery is the token normal comedian, everything else has to be SERIOUSLY weird!)… and Darren Walsh being extraordinarily punny (last month he won the first UK Pun Championhips) with lots of surreal visual and audio gags meaning he kept well to the bizarre variety act side of normal stand-up.

Peter Morey drawing as Simon Munnery performed

Peter Morey drew; Simon Munnery performed

While all this went on, artist Peter Morey was drawing his live visual interpretation of the show on the door of the venue as he listened to the acts perform.

The audience included Comedy Store improviser Stephen Frost and new comedy entrepreneur and showman Adam Taffler.

For once in my life, I felt trendy.

Then I went home.

I have no idea who this man is

This man is in Vancouver. I do not know him.

There was an unexplained e-mail from this blog’s occasional Canadian correspondent Anna Smith. She is currently working in a bookshop in Vancouver. There was no text in the e-mail, just an attached picture. The e-mail was titled Finns and Doukabors have visited the shop. I have no idea what this means.

According to Wikipedia, the Doukabors were a Russian religious sect who emigrated to Canada in the 19th century to escape persecution by the Tsarist authorities. And, according to the 2001 census, over 131,040 Canadians claim Finnish ancestry.

I have no idea what relevance either of these facts may or may not actually have to anything else.

Then I opened an e-mail from British comedian Bob Slayer who, among many other things, used to be a horse jockey (unlikely but true) and managed Japanese rock band Electric Eel Shock (who are descending on Britain next month).

They provided some of the music for the movie Killer Bitch, in which one of them got killed by having a fish rammed down his throat. One of the movie’s online samplers uses their music. (Do not view this adult material if you can ever be offended by anything and – really – NB do not buy from the website named at the end, only from reputable retailers.)

A week ago, Bob Slayer flew to Japan. I had no idea why. Last night’s e-mail explained:

The reason why we are here is our friends Kaori and Jamie are getting married. Kaori was in a London-based Japanese two-piece band called Yumi Yumi. They both helped me out lots in the early days of managing Electric Eel Shock. After that band, Kaori joined Mercury Award nominated The Go Team as guitarist, keyboardist and occasional vocalist. Jamie was the bass player.

DAY 1 – We arrive in Kumamoto after 24 hours travelling. We took a flight from London to Tokyo then several bullet trains. Some of them were even the right ones. The highlight of the wedding food is a plate of raw horse meat, a local delicacy. I will never watch the Grand National in the same way again.

Day 3 – Where did day 2 disappear? A booze and a jetlag fug?

Day 5 – Today we are in Settsu-shi, near Osaka, at the house of Aki Morimoto otherwise known as front man of Electric Eel Shock. He has produced a little boy since I saw him last and Taira (3 years old) and I bond over sword fighting and cartoons of Anpanman, Japan’s most popular anime for kids, where all the characters have heads made out of different flavoured breads. I also build a 7 foot Lego tower.

Day 6 – Osaka’s speciality food is takoyaki and okonimaki – octopus batter balls and a savoury pancake made with chopped cabbage. Both are covered in mayonnaise and Worcestershire sauce. It seems that, although Japan spent a lot of its history closed off from the outside world, some imports had a big influence 150 years ago. Barbershop poles are red and white and the Japanese word for suit is ‘Savillrow’.

After this, I opened an e-mail from comedy critic Kate Copstick, currently in Kenya. She told me:

Hoping to be boarding a plane to Britain this time next week, barring any intervening ghastliness.

I am on one crutch and reasonably mobile.

All in all it could be worse.

I think – unusually – she may be under-stating the case.

But that is another story.

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What I thought of the poem by The Sun newspaper’s transvestite this morning

Front page of today’s Sun newspaper

Front page of today’s Sun newspaper

This blog is entirely true. I have not made it up.

I woke up in the early hours of this morning thinking that I would blog today about the Sun’s equality initiative. The British tabloid newspaper has started to take on interns for weekly periods. In particular, I was going to write about the transvestite intern whom the Sun has employed to write a poem in the last week.

Then I thought: Did I dream this? Am I awake?

I never remember my dreams. Well, almost never. Perhaps once every six or eight months. Only when I have been woken out of a deep sleep by something very specific. That had not happened in this case. I actually was awake. And I hadn’t dreamt it.

Then I went back to sleep.

I woke up a few hours later and thought I had dreamed it. But I was not sure.

Then I went back to sleep.

Now I think I dreamt it.

Two nights ago, I was at the National Film Theatre for a screening of the 1982 film Koyaanisqatsi.

The film has no words, no narrative and is purely a collection of images cut to music by Philip Glass, a composer whose agent once sent me an e-mail saying he might be interested in writing music for the film Killer Bitch.

That is true.

Grayson Perry not wearing a pink dress

Grayson Perry wearing neither a pink dress nor boots

Koyaanisqatsi was introduced at the NFT by the artist Grayson Perry.

He wore a sticky-outy starched pink dress and medium-length pink boots. That is true.

Reality is a strange thing.

I have always wished I could remember my dreams more often.

There is a trailer for Koyaanisqatsi on YouTube.

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Comedy duo Ellis & Rose: beefing-up Jimmy Savile, looking for other work

Worth a punt? Saturday’s Big Comedy Conference in London

Worth a punt? Saturday’s Big Comedy Conference in London

On Saturday, I am on one of the panels at the Big Comedy Conference in London.

Yesterday night, I got a message from a starting-out stand-up comedian based outside South East England:

Hi john,

Do you think I would benefit from the Comedy Conference?

My answer was:

No idea. It’s a bit pricey – £149 – but good value for money. It runs 09.00am to 11.00pm and there are over 40 top names giving advice, from Big Name comedians to BBC bosses, writers, agents and the whole gamut down to the likes of me.

But, if you have free accommodation in London, I say go for it. The only way to get on in anything is to be in the right place at the right time. There is no way of knowing where or when that is, so you just have to put yourself about a bit as much as possible. If you don’t go, you can be 100% certain nothing will come of it. If you do go, there is at least a chance something might.

I think you should go not expecting to LEARN anything specific as such, but it would give you a wider, non-local, professional view of the business and I suspect you can schmooze well (something I’m shit at).

It is a financial decision really. If you can afford to go, look on it as a weekend holiday with potential benefits; expect nothing; hope for the best. It is a bit like the Edinburgh Fringe. Toss money away and pray.

I think the comedy-going public assume when they see a comedian on stage that he/she is a full-time comedian. The truth, of course, is that for maybe the first five or six or more years of their professional lives, comedians tend to have ‘day jobs’ because they cannot survive financially on their comedy work.

Coincidentally, I had a chat on Friday with award-winning comedians Ellis & Rose.

I say “award-winning” because they won a Malcolm Hardee Comedy Award at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, when Rose repeatedly punched Ellis in the face so they could – as a publicity stunt – claim he had been beaten up in the street by an irate punter who was offended by their show Jimmy Savile: The Punch & Judy Show.

That is REAL dedication to your art. They videoed the punching and it is on YouTube.

I met them on Friday in a pub in London’s Soho.

I paid for the single round of drinks. After all, let us not go mad on spending money. I am a Scot brought up among Jews.

“So,” I said, “you performed Jimmy Savile: The Punch & Judy Show in Norwich, while I was safely out of the country in Nuremberg. How did it go?”

“It was the first time we’ve done the beefed-up Jimmy Savile show,” replied Ellis.

The Norwich poster

Ellis & Rose – beefed-up show in Norwich

“Beefed-up?” I asked.

“Now with real puppets,” explained Rose.

“Glove puppets or string puppets?” I asked.

“Muppet-sized puppets,” said Ellis.

“Foam and felt,” said Rose.

“With people in them?” I asked.

“Well, me,” said Rose.

“The audience in Norwich really liked it,” said Ellis. “I think because we’ve added more stuff. It’s become something.”

“What have you added?” I asked. “A plot?”

“Not necessarily a plot,” admitted Rose.

“It started off as nothing in Edinburgh,” said Ellis, “but, by the end of the Fringe, it was consistently hitting… erm… the hour mark. So we’ve added in extra nonsense like Rolf Harris.”

“That was what it was lacking,” said Rose.

“They all really enjoyed it in Norwich,” said Ellis. “Not one of them really hated it,” he added with a hint of surprise in his voice.

“I think you should tour old people’s homes,” I suggested. “You need to find people who will be really offended.”

“You didn’t help us,” said Rose, “with your Raoul Moat headline (Jimmy Savile comedy duo banned from Norwich pub. Now they plan a musical based on a murder maniac rampage). I’m never gonna get a job now.”

“Excuse me,” I said, “am I the person who beat up his comedy partner in Edinburgh just to get a couple of lines of publicity in The Scotsman newspaper?”

“One line,” said Rose.

“Anyway,” I added, “What did I say about Raoul Moat, the infamous murderer?”

Police photo of Raoul Moat

Police photo Raoul Moat

“You said it was a musical,” Ellis told me, “but it’s an opera.”

“And I’m not involved in it,” added Rose warily.

“You made it seem like a frivolous entertainment,” complained Ellis. “It’s going to be a real work of art. It’s going to be a departure from what we normally do.”

“I didn’t think you actually intended to do an opera,” I explained. “I assumed it was a cheap publicity stunt.”

“I’m meeting up with Jorik Mol,” said Ellis, “and we’re going to write material for it… It’s going to be a genuine opera. It’s going to be a serious tragedy.”

“I believe that,” I said. “I have seen your previous work.”

“John Kearns has agreed to play a sniper lens,” said Rose.

“Karl Schultz has agreed to be a fishing rod,” said Ellis, “and Adam Larter is going to play a startled deer.”

“So when is this seriously tragic opera going to be staged?” I asked.

“2016,” said Ellis. “It’s only an idea so far.”

“What gave you the idea?” I asked.

“The story,” explained Ellis, “is just incredible… unprecedented in terms of the media interaction: the week-long narrative that developed around it.”

“The problem now,” said Rose, “is that partly due to you, John, if you type my name into Google followed by the words Raoul Moat or Jimmy Savile… well there goes any chance I have of getting a job.”

Seeking any employment: Gareth Ellis (left) and Richard Rose

Seeking any employment: Ellis (left) and Rose

“That’s why we’re unemployed,” said Ellis.

“Yeah thanks, John,” said Rose.

“I’d like to say in your blog,” emphasised Ellis, “that I’m looking for a job.”

“As what?” I asked.

“Well, I’m good at organising gigs,” replied Ellis.

“That’s not a job,” said Rose.

“Surely you could earn a good living as a gigolo?” I asked.

“I’ve got a licence for bar management,” continued Ellis. “I can manage a venue.”

“There must be money in being a gigolo,” I said. “Women were throwing themselves at you in Edinburgh.”

“I want a job and a girlfriend,” insisted Ellis.

“You’re asking too much from life,” Rose told him.

“I’d just like some money,” said Ellis.

“Have you never seen The Producers?” I asked. “You just find some old women, get them to finance your shows, leech onto them and get loads of money.”

“But we’ve already produced one of the worst shows of all time,” said Rose, “and it didn’t make us loads of money.”

“Tell me about it,” I said. “I financed Killer Bitch, the movie… I think Raoul Moat: The Opera could be equal to Springtime For Hitler.

“What I like about your blogs with us,” said Rose, “is that they manage to be even less coherent than the ones with Chris Dangerfield.”

“So plug something,” I said.

Jimmy Savile: The Punch & Judy Show

Ghost of Jimmy Savile pursues comedy duo

“We’re doing our Ellis & Rose show on Tuesday and Jimmy Savile on Thursday,” said Rose.

“Is there a point to the Jimmy Savile show?” I asked.

“It wasn’t satire in Edinburgh,” said Rose, “but now it is.”

“It’s a satire on the nature of performers,” said Ellis.

“No, don’t give it away,” said Rose. “It’s not that.”

“Is it a post-modern comedy?” I asked, trying to help.

“It’s not even comedy,” said Ellis.

“It’s definitely not comedy,” agreed Rose.

“It’s genuinely a work of art,” said Ellis. “I don’t think it’s classifiable. It’s funny, but it’s not a comedy. It’s a kind of tragedy.”

“It’s poignant,” suggested Rose. “Actually, Ellis did have a kind of revelation…”

“…during the show in Norwich,” explained Ellis. “I just stopped.”

“The whole show stopped,” said Rose.

“We had this beautiful moment with the audience,” said Ellis.

“The audience stopped laughing,” said Rose.

“And we actually realised why we were all there,” said Ellis, “watching this show about Jimmy Savile.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Well,” said Rose, “we’re not going to give it away.”

“You’re going to have to come along and see it,” said Ellis.

“And we’ll cynically try to recreate that revelation,” said Rose.

Potential Edinburgh Fringe legends Ellis & Rose

Is it original art? Is it comedy? Is it a post-modern revelation?

“I was talking to someone the other week,” I said, “and he suggested we should have an annual beating-up of Ellis at the Edinburgh Fringe.”

“I’d be happy with that,” said Rose.

“It could become a Fringe tradition,” I suggested.

“I think someone every year has to get punched in the face,” agreed Ellis.

“It could make you a star,” I suggested.

A sparkle appeared in Ellis’ eyes, but I am not sure what caused it.

Maybe it was a tear.

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Comedy tours, hanging actors’ hangers-on and a London underground shooting

Lou and his little friend last night

Ah! The power of the blogosphere!

Yesterday, I wrote about comedy writer Mark Kelly’s latest work-in-progress Stuart Leigh – The Stewart Lee Tribute Act andjust four hours after I posted the blog – Mark got an e-mail from someone who says they are interested in booking it into various venues, when it is ready to tour.

As Stuart Leigh – The Stewart Lee Tribute Act is not yet fully written and Mark currently only has thoughts of getting it ready for the 2013 (not the 2012) Edinburgh Fringe, this may be a slow-burning triumph.

Still, to look on the bright side, if the guy does arrange some bookings for the show, Mark says he will buy me an apple crumble at the Stockpot in Soho’s Old Compton Street.

Touring shows nowadays is slightly more respectable than it used to be.

I was round at Uncle Lou’s last night. He is not my uncle, but he has the affable air of a kindly uncle; in fact, he is a movie armourer who, as Londoners foolish enough to live South of the Thames might say, ‘tooled-up’ the unique movie experience that was/is Killer Bitch.

Lou, an armourer, goldsmith, silversmith, consigliere and history buff, told me:

“In the 1700s, if a ‘touring company’ – a bunch of entertainers – turned up and started performing in the streets and you started hanging round with ‘em, you might get executed. If the local people went to the beadle and grassed you up by saying Look at ‘im – He’s hanging round with a right bunch of thespian arseholes! you might get reported to the law and considered to be a real lowlife. If you hung around with these entertainers for a week or more, you could get arrested and the maximum sentence was hanging. People were hung for it. So the rule of thumb was Don’t hang around with actors and vagabonds or you could get killed because you are considered scum… Oh, and musicians too – The law thought they were a bunch of arseholes as well.”

Plus ça change.

I had gone round to Lou’s with the creative tornado that is Jason Cook, whom I blogged about recently. He is getting closer to funding The Devil’s Dandruff, a movie based on the first of his three novels ‘based on’ his life which ‘might have’ involved London gangsters and the international drug trade.

He told me last night that one of the real-life Mr Bigs who ‘might have been’ involved had him ‘brought in’ for a chat after he had published the first two books. The chap said he had heard Jason had been ‘telling stories’ and he was unhappy about it… This did not sound good for Jason… But it turned out the chap was only unhappy about one thing… that Jason had not used the chap’s real name in the books.

Ah! The lure of immortality in print!

Jason – who is very determined and very persuasive – has had the offer of a free 747 jet to film in. A while ago, he produced a short film titled Tunnel Visions which was set in a tube train. Last night, he told me:

“We went to London Transport and said We want to shoot on the Underground in a real train and they said Yup, that’s fine. If you bring all your things down, it’ll cost you £3,000. 

So we thought Ah!

“Then they said to us: If you bring a skeleton crew, we’ll reduce it down to £2,000.

So we thought Ah!

“But then they asked us Have you got a student on the crew? If you’ve got a student, you can do it for £50.

“So we went to a university and got ourselves a student.

“London Underground said: OK. Pay for your permit – £50. 

“We went on the train, commandeered half a carriage, got everyone on there and shot the film all day. There were five people in the crew – including the student – and all the extras in the scenes helped us too.”

Jason Cook is a man who gets things done.

So is Uncle Lou, but examples of that are mostly unprintable.

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Filed under Acting, Comedy, Crime, Legal system, Movies, Theatre

From comedians to murderers – Janey Godley, Bob Slayer and Myra Hindley

Janey Godley - not a woman to annoy

Last night, I go to see my chum Janey Godley compère in the spectacularly-designed Jongleurs comedy club at Oceana in Watford.

After the show, when we leave the first floor nightclub, we have to descend the stairs slowly, preceded by bent-over girls on stilts, gingerly picking their way down the steps like new-born foals. When we eventually get out of the building, we find the pedestrianised section of the long, wide high street outside has been hit by some sort of drink-and-drug fuelled cluster bomb and/or has fallen through a wormhole of time-and-space into an alternative universe in which Hieronymus Bosch has designed a fuzzily-lit surreal dream of a slow-motion Ibiza night. It is like the rush hour in dreamland.

There is a group of girls on stilts in Venetian Carnival style red costumes talking to tall men on stilts in formal black suits. Further along, multiple queues stretch in swaying straight lines out from buildings’ entrances into the street, police vehicles are parked higgledy-piggledy, as if dropped from on high, drunken men and short-skirted girls on mobile phones sway in and out of huddles of testosterone-drenched lads and a girl in a bikini dances to indistinct music in slow motion inside a slightly misty giant plastic bubble.

When I get home, the surrealism continues from the other side of the world with an e-mail from comedian Bob Slayer in Australia.

It reads:

__________

Last night, I was walking home across an Adelaide park at 4.00am and I just could not walk any more, so I crashed under a tree and went to sleep. I woke at 8.00 or 9.00am to the sound of monkeys. It turned out I was next to Adelaide zoo.

The sun was starting to roast and I was so hot all I could manage was to roll into deeper shade. It only got hotter and I finally managed to stagger out of the park at midday and get to the nearest air conditioning to cool down which, appropriately enough, was at the hospital. They do the cheapest breakfast in town.

The man whose house I should have been staying at – Matthew – is coming to my gig tonight with a blind date. That is very brave I think, especially as he has told me a great story that I will repeat to the audience.

A couple of Christmases ago, he is wandering up to the bottle shop and he meets two girls. He gets chatting and invites them back to his house. He has intimate relations with one of these girls and then, the next day, they tell him that they live in a care home.

He drops them off and foolishly gives them some cash. The next he hears about them is in the local paper.

It seems, with cash in their pocket, they do not go back to the home. They go out on the lash. And one of them is found dead. Murdered. (Not the one he got intimate with.) The next thing is the police turn up to question him. They ask him to let them know if he hears from the other girl, as they are worried about her.

A couple of days later, he is driving along and sees her in the street. He stops, picks her up and takes her home. He chats to her and she agrees that he should ring the police. They come around almost instantly, which surprises Matthew, but not when they handcuff the girl and tell him that she did the murder.

So I am living with a guy who fiddled a murderer.

I met a murderer once at the premiere for the movie Killer Bitch, which I introduced at the Curzon Mayfair cinema in London. The so-called Black Widow did 28 years for murdering three husbands and claiming on the insurance. While inside, she was Moors Murderer Myra Hindley‘s hairdresser.

On the week she got out of jail, she married a man that she met on day release.

The Killer Bitch premiere was full of assorted hoodlums and fighters including Stormin Norman Buckland – bare knuckle boxing champion of England – and, taking up the entire back row, a motorcycle gang that kills Hells Angels for fun. In-between was the football hooligan that Donal McIntyre put away, fighters, gangsters and assorted criminals.

My opening line on stage was “You are all a bunch of poofs!”

I have never raced to the punchline so fast… which was that they were poofs compared to the lovely old man who had married the Black Widow on the week of her release from prison.

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Filed under Australia, Comedy, Crime, Drink, Movies, Surreal

“The Room” – The best bad movie?… And how to heckle cult movies properly.

Tommy Wiseau at the Prince Charles Cinema last night

There are a lot of films labelled “the best worst movie ever made” – for example, Killer Bitch – and where better is there to screen those movies than at the admirable Prince Charles Cinema off Leicester Square in London?

This cinema does not just organise sing-alonga Sound of Music and swear-alonga Team America screenings. Oh no.

Upcoming treats include The Charlies – their alternative Academy Awards held on Oscar night – plus a Friday The 13th all-night marathon screening of Parts I-VIII and a Troma Films triple bill of The Toxic AvengerClass of Nuke ‘Em High and their new film Father’s Day – introduced by Troma boss Lloyd Kaufman.

It has taken me some time to catch up with The Room – not a Troma film but an independent movie made in 2003.

British writer and social commentator Charlie Brooker said after its London premiere (at the Prince Charles) in 2009: “I don’t think there is a word that can describe that experience… Possibly the most unique movie-going experience of my life”

Other cinema-goers that night called it “Like a tumour” and “Absolutely blissfully indulgent in the most peculiar and perverted way”.

The Room’s writer/director/producer/star Tommy Wiseau’s message to the audience at that London premiere was: “You can laugh, you can cry, you can express yourselves but please don’t hurt each other.”

Last night, I went to the Prince Charles’ first midnight screening of The Room introduced by Tommy Wiseau and co-star Greg Sestero.

You know you may be in for a treat when there is a stall in the foyer selling T-shirts, £10 posters, DVDs and other knick-knacks and people are having their photo taken with the director…. It is also unusual, in my fairly extensive experience, to find your feet crunching on dozens of plastic spoons as you walk into your row of seats – spoons provided by the cinema. It has become a tradition to throw plastic spoons at the screen… A reference to an unexplained shot of a spoon in the movie – in a framed photograph standing on a table.

Basically, The Room is a seriously-intended soft-hearted movie about relationships which almost unbelievably cost $6 million to make. In Los Angeles, it was promoted using a single expensive billboard in Hollywood showing an extreme close-up of Wiseau’s face, with one of his eyelids in mid-blink. The ad ran on this expensive billboard for over four years.

Wiseau also reportedly paid for a small TV and print campaign saying The Room was “a film with the passion of Tennessee Williams”.

Where the alleged $6 million budget for the movie or the money for the billboard came from are just two of many apparently inexplicable mysteries surrounding the film.

In truth, last night’s screening of The Room disappointed me, because the constant heckling by the audience has not yet settled down into ritual.

I once attended a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the World Science Fiction Convention which was almost a brand new work of art in itself. Not only were audience members dressed-up as characters, but the heckling involved shouted responses and set-ups to what was being said on screen, to create whole new surreal conversations.

Last night’s screening of The Room – inevitably billed as The Best Worst Film Ever Made – was simply a licence to be rowdy, with people laughing (in often random places) for the sake of laughing, random heckling, random throwing of plastic spoons and wannabe hecklers yelling out mostly failed attempts at post-modernist humour. The heckling was mostly over the on-screen dialogue. To work effectively, movie heckling has to be in-between the dialogue.

The film, though, has a lot of potential for would-be creative hecklers.

There is much to be developed from an early heckle of “What does it mean?” and a later one of “This is a pointless scene!”

I loved and laughed heartily at an utterly irrelevant shot of an ugly dog in a flower shop (you had to be there) and almost laughed as much at the completely pointless picking-up by the central character of a newspaper lying on the sidewalk.

The pointlessness of certain specifics is what, it could be argued, makes The Room one of the truly great bad movies.

I thought it admirably odd that the male characters are often tossing a baseball between each other – in one noted scene in an alleyway, four of them wear unexplained tuxedos while throwing the ball and talking… until one of them trips over in carefully-framed giant close-up for no plot or artistic reason at all.

It is also rare for one of the female central characters in a film to say she has breast cancer and is going to die… and to be greeted with loud laughter and enthusiastic cheers from the audience. The cancer is never referred to again in the movie and, every time the woman touched her daughter’s face (which she does a lot), the audience shouted out “Cancer!”

The audience and the screening was at its best with recurring heckles. Throughout the film, there were justified yells of “Shut the door!” and, during repeated and unnecessary lengthy pans along the width of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the audience would chant: “Go! – Go! – Go! – Go! – Go! – Go! – Go! – Go! – Go! – Go!” until the pan finished.

Quite what it must be like for Tommy Wiseau to know his seriously-intended film about relationships is being laughed-at and abused I can barely imagine. But he seems happy to take the money. He did, after all, make the film as a serious drama but now markets it as a ‘dark’ comedy.

I particularly recommend that irrelevant shot of the ugly dog in a flower shop. I would seriously consider seeing the film again simply just for that one shot.

But – and this is important – one piece of advice to you if you do see it.

See it in the cinema.

And do not sit in the second row.

Dozens of thrown plastic spoons fall short and it is like being in the French army during the English archers’ onslaught of arrows at Agincourt.

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Why I was dragged into a cellar in Essex and a gun shoved into my mouth

The first time I met Comedy Cafe owner Noel Faulkner was shortly before I got dragged down into a basement in north east London and had a gun shoved in my mouth while former boxer, hairdresser, comedian and now EastEnders actor and film director Ricky Grover shouted at me, “You’re a fucking cunt! You’re a fucking cunt! I’m gonna fuckin’ blow yer fuckin’ head off!”

He was not a happy man.

In fact, he had ‘lost it’ – his eyes were blazing at me, his voice had gone up in pitch, he was sweating and shaking with uncontrollable anger.

Noel Faulkner was supposed to be directing a documentary at the time, though I think he and the crew were left upstairs when I was dragged downstairs.

Your memory strangely forgets some details when you are being threatened with a bloody death by a large man who knows from professional experience how to hurt people.

In the sadly largely-reviled movie Killer Bitch, I played the part of a charity collector who was, I felt, unfairly gunned-down in the street while collecting money on the pavement for Help For Heroes. I was shot in the face by a rather grumpy character played by Big Joe Egan (although, off-screen Big Joe was extremely charming and I am sure will go far on Irish charm alone).

I am, alas, not in Ricky Grover’s new movie Big Fat Gypsy Gangster – a major casting blunder by the normally spot-on Ricky – but I was in a showreel version he shot several years ago to raise money for the project. At that time and, indeed, until very recently the movie project was called Bulla: The Movie and I played the part of a bank manager who was, I felt, unfairly brutalised by Ricky’s character Bulla.

“Can’t I play a more sexy role?” I asked Ricky at the time. “Is there no dashing romantic role for me?”

Ricky replied with, I felt, unnecessary honesty: “I’ve always thought you looked like a bank manager, John.”

I tried to take it as a compliment.

So that was how I ended up in the basement of a disused bank on some suburban Essex high road in north east London with a gun being stuck in my mouth – I think it might have been Woodford Green.

I have never seen the footage, but I think I carried it off with the style for which I am known.

The character I played is not in the actually-shot version of the film, although there is a brief similar scene in a bank vault towards the end. Perhaps Ricky is saving me for a romantic role in his next film.

But there is the thought lingering in dark recesses at the back of my mind that perhaps he cast me because he had always wanted to degrade me and stick the barrel of a gun in my mouth.

There are worse things which can happen to you in the wonderful world of film making.

Noel Faulkner has been replaced by an American.

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