Tag Archives: Noel Faulkner

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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Filed under Charity, Comedy, Nepal

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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Paying publications to review your show is like having paid-sex with a famous wit

The Chortle piece on pay-to-review

Chortle piece on pay-to-be-reviewed

Someone told me about this yesterday.

I said: “Are you sure it’s not an April Fool prank?”

“If it is, it’s a day late,” the person told me.

And this is no surreal joke.

Just like my Frank Sanazi blog yesterday – which included Jesus Christ flying in from Glasgow for Hitler’s birthday – this is true.

I was more than a little surprised to see on the Chortle comedy industry website these words:

“This year we make explicit what we’ve always tried to do anyway, and promise to review any show that spends at least £250 on advertising on Chortle. To avoid any Daily Telegraph-style conflicts of editorial interests, we won’t make any promises as to which reviewer will see a show, when it’ll appear – or most crucially whether we’ll like it! And you’ll have had to have settled your bill before the Fringe, so you can’t back out if you don’t like what we’ve written.”

Each to his own, but I think once you allow people outside the publication (the performers themselves) to dictate which shows will receive reviews (by, in effect, paying to be reviewed) you have lost editorial control.

There is a story which is told about George Bernard Shaw or Winston Churchill or a variety of other fairly witty people in various versions…

There is a dinner party. The conversation turns to the concept that ‘Everyone has their price’ and the famous man turns to a lady sitting at the table and says – purely as a matter of intellectual theory, in order to spur the debate along – “If I offered you £10 million to sleep with me for one night, would you accept?”

George Bernard Shaw in 1925, when he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature

George Bernard Shaw in 1925, when he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature

“I suppose,” the lady says, laughing, “for £10 million, I would.”

“In that case,” says the great man, “here’s ten shillings. Sleep with me tonight.”

“What kind of woman do you think I am?” the outraged lady replies.

“We have already established,” the great man says, “what type of woman you are. We are now merely haggling over the price.”

There is no actual moral or logical difference between saying: “If you pay me £250, I will guarantee to review you rather than another show which I could have chosen to review” and “If you pay me £500 I will allow you to veto what I say in my review” or “If you pay me £1,000 I will let you write your own review as a press release which I will print word-for-word.”

By receiving payment to get reviewed, we have already established what type of editorial judgment a publication has. We have established the principle. We are merely haggling over how much it might cost to influence the content.

If an act pays £250 (for whatever reason) to guarantee a review, the publication has relinquished editorial responsibility by letting an outsider decide which shows (among so many others) will be reviewed. If a publication had time and space to print 500 reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe and 500 acts were happy to pay £250 to get reviewed, then that publication would not be deciding to review any shows on the basis of merit or perceived interest. It would be merely selling space to acts to advertise their wares via reviews. Even if the act has no control over the content of the review, it has still turned an objective review into a paid-for advert.

Over the years, as reported in Chortle, some comedy venues have attempted to charge performers a fee to perform in their clubs or to have the act guarantee that a certain number of their friends will pay for tickets to their show – this has rather sniffily been described as ‘pay-to-play’.

There is no difference that I can see between ‘pay-to-play’ and ‘pay-to-get-reviewed’. In both cases, the result may backfire – the audience may hate the act or the reviewer may hate the act. But the principle of payment-to get-exposure is the same.

On Facebook, performer Richard Vranch has pointed out that the Chortle idea of being paid by acts to review their show is not new. In June 2012, Chortle ran a news item headlined:

Caimh McDonnell’s PR stunt became true

Caimh McDonnell’s jokey PR stunt has became true

COMIC TO PAY FOR REVIEWS
£100-a-Time ‘Bribe’ to Win Fringe Coverage

Comedian Caimh McDonnell was pulling a publicity stunt but interestingly called his scheme ‘undoubtedly a new low for British journalistic integrity’. In fact, to avoid actual bribery, Caimh said he would not pay the £100 to publications but – up to a maximum of £3,000 – he would pay the money to the Macmillan Cancer Support charity. Fair enough.

In May last year, Chortle ran this report:

He has been vehemently opposed to competitions in comedy, calling them a ‘malignant and destructive influence’ on the artform. Yet last night, The Stand comedy club owner Tommy Sheppard welcomed the Deuchars Beermat Fringe competition to his venue in Edinburgh, with heats in Glasgow and Newcastle to follow next week. And, unlike most competitions that keep the commercial side separate, this one insists that all acts must ‘weave’ the name of the sponsor into their set. But Sheppard told Chortle he saw no conflict as the Deuchars competition was across all performance genres: ‘We’re convinced it’s not a comedy competition,’ he said. ‘The majority of people taking part last year – and so far this year – are musicians.’ And the winner of last night’s heat? A comedian, Ross Leslie.

Paying £100 for a review… or paying £250 for the publicity of a review even though you don’t control content… or saying you don’t believe in competitions then hosting competitions which force acts to include brand names in their performances…

It all seems much of a muchness to me.

But, then, who am I to quibble? On my Facebook pages yesterday, I posted:

I am physically harassed yesterday

I am not one to take base bribes for publicity in my blog

If anyone would like to give me £251 in cash, I promise to print the name of your 2015 Edinburgh Fringe show in my increasingly prestigious daily blog.

For a further £251 in cash I will print the name of your venue.

And for a further £251 in cash I will print the days and time of the show. Only cash. Only sterling. Only current notes.

In the spirit of Kickstarter enticements, if you give me a further £53.96p in cash, I will also give you a free Mars Bar on the final day of the Fringe. And, as an extra gift from me to you, if you pay me an additional £2,373 in cash, you can also appear (naked) in the Increasingly Prestigious Malcolm Hardee Comedy Awards Show on Friday 28th August in Edinburgh.

I am awaiting offers.

Noel Faulkner: man with a calm persona

Noel Faulkner truly does not give a shit

Meanwhile, also on Facebook, iconic Noel Faulkner, the ever-outspoken owner of London’s Comedy Cafe Theatre, says:

There are a lot of talentless fucks worming their way into the business. When a comic sends me a list of credits and reviews and they list Broadway Baby, The List and all the other rags that send 20-year-old reviewers out to review, my first thought is You’re probably shit. I would pay these reviewers not to review my show.

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Sexism in comedy + a cripple, a lesbian, two ethnic minorities and a spaceman

Copstick and Faulkner podcast at the Comedy Cafe Theatre

Copstick & Faulkner podcast at Comedy Cafe

Yesterday, I blogged an extract from the latest weekly Grouchy Club Podcast, in which Comedy Cafe Theatre owner Noel Faulkner talked about smuggling 4 tons of marijuana into the US.

In another part of the podcast, this subject came up:

“… and it’s the same with female comics,” said critic Kate Copstick, “They go up on stage and you can see the whole room going: Oh, fuck! It’s going to be tampons and ‘my boyfriend’. And then the comic has got to pull the room back and that is just the way things are. There’s an awful lot of them sit around moaning because there is a type of Oh no! feeling in the room at some clubs at some times. If you’re good, you pull it back and people go: Fantastic!

“But you,” I told Copstick, “notoriously don’t like female comics… it is said.”

“I don’t like bad comics,” argued Copstick.

“I agree with you,” said Noel Faulkner.

“I don’t like obvious comics,” Copstick continued. “Tim Renkow, for example, could do eight hours straight on the cerebral palsy thing, but he doesn’t. He just talks about life, happening to have cerebral palsy.”

“If Zoe Lyons goes on stage,” agreed Noel, “bang!– 2 seconds – I’ve seen her destroy wankers, whereas some comics would say I’m not going on to these bastards. Zoe Lyons? Bang!

“You’re not looking at someone for their sexuality; you’re listening; we’re there to hear the gags. If it’s from a woman’s perspective or a minority’s perspective, that gives it a hook of some sort. It can be funny to hear their perspective. Good comics are good; bad comics are bad.

“The problem is that there’s a scarcity of good female comics, so a lot of weaker female comics get right through to television because they (TV producers) are afraid of being called sexist and, as a result, we see some very weak females on television and that does a lot of damage.”

“This,” I said, “is the Andrew Lawrence argument.”

“There is nothing more sexist,” continued Noel, “than booking someone because of their sex. If I’m booking you because you’re a female and you’re not up to it, then that’s being sexist. But tell that to a lot of people who hate me.”

Kate Copstick at the Comedy Cafe Theatre bar before recording the Grouchy Club podcast

Copstick, relaxing (?) before recording Grouchy Club podcast

“That is absolutely, absolutely right,” said Copstick. “Also, some women who are minorly funny in any way – and THIS is the Andrew Lawrence point – are being booked to go on panel shows now because panel shows are running shit-scared of not having at least one cripple, one lesbian, two ethnic minorities and a spaceman.”

“I am still,” said Noel, “waiting to get booked for the lesbian spot.”

“Well,” said Copstick, “you can play the Tourette’s card (Noel has Tourette’s syndrome) – Oh, mind you, they’d be terrified of that as well, in case you say Fuck in the wrong place.”

“That,” said Noel, “would only be when they tell me what they’re paying me.”

“But,” continued Copstick, “they say: This person of the female persuasion has once written something vaguely funny in a column somewhere. Let’s call her a female comic and we’ll get her on Have I Got The Buzzcocks For Eight Out of Ten Cats.”

“Yeah,” said Noel, “there’s a lot of good female comics… I’ve seen a lot of bitterness from comics on all sides, but I’ve had more run-ins with females than males. Because the males think: Well, I’ve got to let it go because, if I tell the guy where it’s at, then he’s never going to book me. Who is going to book someone who argues?

“And I’ve had people twist my words. I said to one girl: You should be more feminine. You’re an attractive woman. Be more feminine on stage. Of course, it was thrown back in my face later in an e-mail, when I wasn’t giving her a 20-minute booking, that I had told her she had to be ‘sexier’. Think I’m that fucking stupid? In the last three years, I’ve had three really rude females and I’ve only had one nutter guy who never even got to the club because his e-mail was so rude.”

“What is the difference,” I asked, “between being sexually attractive and being feminine?”

“Oh John!” gasped Copstick. “Wash your mouth out!… You’re just saying that to be provocative.”

“That’s a matter of taste,” answered Noel.

“What is?” I asked.

“Well,” said Noel, “you asked the question What’s the difference between sexually attractive and feminine?”

“You,” I said, “were saying Be more feminine. She was complaining about being told to be more sexually attractive.”

“Some girls,” explained Noel, “that are very attractive, dress down and say: Well, I don’t want men looking at me for my body; I want them to hear my voice.

“Well do radio,” suggested Copstick.

The successfully diversified yet slightly grumpy Noel Faulkner

The successfully diversified yet slightly grouchy Noel Faulkner

“But,” continued Noel, “I said the same thing to a guy. I said: You look like the guy who just delivered the ice! Could you, like, wear a clean shirt? It’s show-business, folks! The business of showing. When you’re on stage, it’s 90% show, 10% business. When you’re off-stage, it’s 90% business, 10% show. Get that into your thick skulls and, if you wonder why I haven’t asked you back when you come here in a dirty, smelly tee-shirt and greasy hair… Everybody in the audience has dressed themselves up for the night, they’re all looking beautiful and you put on this greasy guy. Are you charging me £15 to see this guy?

“Yes,” agreed Copstick, “because it also looks like they don’t give a shit. It’s the register of your attitude to the people you’re going to see. If you’re going to see prospective in-laws, you’d presumably smarten yourself up a bit. If you’re going to a business meeting, you’d wear…”

“If you’re from Liverpool,” Noel prompted., “and you’re going to court…”

“Exactly,” said Copstick. “What do you call a man in a shirt and tie?… The Accused… But the other thing that irritates me and you get it a lot – I don’t know why I’m on Facebook, because it just irritates me – is this thing of… Oh, somebody said (a venue said) they had two female comics on the bill and didn’t want a third. Well, if you’re doing a really mixed bill, if you already had two very heavily political comics, you probably wouldn’t book a third. If you had two guys who only do puns…”

“Yeah,” agreed Noel. “That’s why (as a booker) you always have to see the material. You mix it up. It’s like making a bloody salad. You say: How many colours have I got in this salad and…

“I’m not sure,” Copstick interrupted, “that you’re allowed to say ‘colour’ now..”

You can hear the full 36 minute podcast HERE.

And you can see the video  of a 3-minute conversation Copstick had with Noel AFTER the podcast recording ended, on YouTube HERE.

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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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Outspoken comedy club owner Noel Faulkner on Jongleurs, Yuppies, Jarvis Cocker and his new career as a rapper

Noel in Rivington Street, home to the Comedy Cafe

Noel Faulkner in Rivington Street, Shoreditch this week – home to his Comedy Cafe Theatre

Before I interrupted myself in yesterday’s blog, I was about to say that I had a chat over a meal with Noel Faulkner near his Comedy Cafe Theatre in Shoreditch. It becomes relevant, in a moment, that Noel is Irish, so bear this in mind.

“How is Shoreditch?” I asked him.

“More twats,” Noel told me. “More 5-star restaurants. How far can people go up their own asses? I don’t know. It’s not what it was 24 years ago when I started the Comedy Cafe.”

“What was it like then?”

“It was full of thieves and printers. One half stealing money; the other half printing money. It was all printing presses around here. I don’t know why. Before that, it was cabinet makers. I don’t know why.”

“So you are feeling pissed-off?” I said.

“No. I’m very happy.”

“You are???”

“I have three meals a day, my house is comfortable and it keeps going up £100,000 a week in value. I moved to Hackney 13 years ago because I liked the vibe and now all the Yuppies want to be in Hackney. I thought I could live in a neighbourhood where I wouldn’t see pompous assholes but now the only thing my neighbours talk about is the value of their property and how they’re doing an extension and ripping the whole house out.

“I told my neighbours: My house is worth more than yours.

“They said: Oh no no no. Ours has got a garage.

“I told them: Yes, but I don’t have any Irish people living next door to me.”

The successfully diversified yet slightly grumpy Noel Faulkner

The successfully diversified yet slightly grumpy Noel Faulkner

“Where did you live before Hackney?” I asked.

“I was sleeping above the Comedy Cafe with a gun that held blanks to keep the thieves out.”

“Seriously?”

“Yep. The police had a word: We know it’s not you, Noel, but somebody’s got a gun poppin’ off.

I blew my nose.

“What’s your blood group?” Noel asked me.

“O-Rhesus something,” I said. “A dead common one.”

“Stay off wheat,” advised Noel. “It’ll help your allergies.”

“I think it’s just a tiny bit of hay fever,” I said. “I think I got it in China.”

“You know what they say about dogs in China?” Noel asked. “A dog is not just for Christmas. If you’re lucky, there will still be some left over for Boxing Day.”

“So,” I asked, “at what point did you decide you didn’t care?”

“I never cared what people thought of me… If we can’t be racist, what can we be? The lovely thing about getting older is I really don’t give a fuck. Not one iota. I am thinking of writing my own blog.”

“Bastard,” I said.

“I am going to call it Angry Man On The Roof.”

“Why?”

Noel in his office last year

Noel in his Shoreditch office last year – a man who likes yachts

“I’ve always liked roofs because no-one can catch me there. As a kid, when there was snow, I would convince my mother I was sick and then I’d go up on top of the roof and make loads of snowballs and, when all the kids were getting off the bus, I would pelt them with snowballs.”

“And,” I said, “you’ve been pelting people with snowballs ever since.”

“Yep.”

“Why do you want to do a blog?”

“Because people are insisting I should get my wonderful calm persona out there like the Dalai Lama – just give people hope that there is peace on Earth and tell everybody who’s a cunt that they are a cunt, because nobody else seems to want to tell them. Have you heard Jarvis Cocker’s song Cunts Are Still Running The World?

“Yes,” I said. “Yes. It’s strangely gentle.”

It is on YouTube.

“Any new business plans?” I asked Noel.

“I’m taking on Jongleurs’ format for comedy,” he told me. “I’m going to open sixty clubs throughout Britain. Any cunt who drinks and pisses and shits can come into the club and make as much noise as they like. I’ll provide lots of work for lots of comics, but I’m not going to pay any of them. I think it’s a great business plan.

Noel this week, paying the bill for our meal

Noel this week, paying the bill for our meal

“If comics had any bottle, they would go on strike and say Nobody works for Jongleurs and, the next day, Jongleurs would pay every comic they owe money to. But each comic is thinking: Oh, I’ll keep my head down and I might get some more Christmas gigs off them. The comics are actually helping the dragon devour the babies.”

“But any real plans?” I asked.

“I’m working on a rap song.”

“Seriously?”

“Seriously. We’re just putting the music down. It will be a video. It’s called The Comfort Zone.”

Noel started rapping:

Got me a pad I call a home
I got a big TV, Twitter on ma phone
I watch the president killin’ people with his drone
But it don’t bother me
Cos I’m in the Comfort Zone

“So you’re going to re-invent yourself as a rap artist?” I asked.

Noel started rapping another song:

Fukushima Fukushima I wonder why
There is that great big cloud in the sky
No fish in the ocean but look at the glow
Radiation sure gives you a great light show

“Are you going to perform on stage?” I asked.

Jimmy James Jones performs at the Comedy Cafe last night

Jimmy James Jones performing at the Comedy Cafe Theatre

“I’ll be the oldest Irish rapper. I’m going to do a video with me and comedian Jimmy James Jones on YouTube. I’m in my suit; he’s in his hip hop gear. He’ll push me out of the way; I’ll push him out of the way and then, in the last scene, he’s in my suit and hat and I’m in his gear and baseball hat.”

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