Tag Archives: romance

One female comedian with dog wants to spread the love in coronavirus lockdown

I have received a cry-from-the-heart from comedy performer and social activist Samantha Pressdee.

I think it speaks for itself…


It’s Samantha (Photograph by Nic Harper)

I am trying to stay positive and have launched a new campaign #LoveinLockdown which will be documented in a reality show produced by my social enterprise Love Muffin Productions.

My heart bleeds for all the professionally homeless comedians, so I have decided I would like to adopt one. 

I need someone with a good sense of humour and am finally ready to get out there and date again. 

As well as the campaign and the reality show I have also launched a dating service called Plenty of Catfish. My profile video is here:

My dating profile video has already had nearly 4,000 views on Facebook. I am confident I will find ‘The One’ and inspire others to do the same. I have received some heartwarming love letters already:

“You might want to leave the mask on slightly longer for that extra erotic charge. As it emphasises your eyes.” – Mark

“I think someone who argues with their dog is pretty irresistible!!!” – Charles

And I have received some inspiring advice:

“Why were (sic) a mask in doors (sic)? It is about as much use as a cat flap on a submarine.” – Mike

I would like to invite potential male suitors to submit a dating profile video to sammie@lovemuffin.org.uk answering the same questions as Samantha.

I will assess submissions in the next episode of my reality show. Then, if I feel butterflies, I will meet the funny man on Skype and film it for the third episode so that we can spread the love in lockdown.

The show will be broadcast on my YouTube channel and my Facebook page as well as IGTV (Handle: SammiePressdee)


Guru Philippe Gaulier with Samantha in Paris this year

I have told Samantha that wanting to find a comedian as a soulmate is pointless – comics are barking and she already gets that from her dog. But she is determined.

She also tells me that, prior to the lockdown, she attended Philippe Gaulier‘s clown school in Paris…

“Sadly, I can’t return to Paris as planned in June, but he has captured my heart. Stiff competition!

“As well as my trip to France, I managed an adventure to Jamaica this year where the 1990’s band Hanson of Mmmbop fame were hosting a music retreat. I have a thing about hairy men it seems.”

Stiff competition indeed…

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Becky Fury on scam romance, a possible murder attempt and Moroccan police

JOHN: You told me you had recently come back from Morocco after an anti-holiday. What’s that?

BECKY: It’s based on an urban myth. There was a taxi driver from Notting Hill who was unhappy with his life driving a taxi, so he went on an anti-holiday. He went to Doncaster to work in a pig factory, wanking-off pigs for two weeks. And, when he came back, he absolutely loved working as a taxi driver. That’s the concept.

JOHN: You went to Morocco to wank-off pigs?

BECKY: No. I went on holiday with my friend…

JOHN: Female?

BECKY: Yes. I went to eat some nice Moroccan street food and pet some cats, because there are a lot of cats in Rabat. 

Becky Fury found cats backpacking in Rabat

JOHN: Is that a song? A Lot of Cats of Rabat?

BECKY: No, but the street cats of Rabat are plentiful because they killed all the dogs off.

JOHN: The cats did?

BECKY: No, the locals. They had a cull because they were trying to posh the place up; they couldn’t have crapping, rabid dogs running around the streets. And, now they’ve killed the dogs, it’s full of cats. Even if you go into a cafe, you have to clear the cats off your seats.

JOHN: So you had a stroke in Rabat.

BECKY: Several. But about a year ago I went to meet my friend’s new boyfriend. She wanted me to tell her he was absolutely amazing and that he was not involved in a romance scam. He was a Moroccan man she met on the internet and I thought: She’s attractive; she’s young; she’s got loads of money; surely this can’t be a romance scam? But that’s exactly what it was. Though I suppose all those things are a traditional element of real relationships anyway.

JOHN: Not in Doncaster…

BECKY: I’m sure they are in Doncaster…

JOHN: Anyway… About a year ago, you went out to Rabat with her and met her boyfriend.

BECKY: Yes. The guy was nice enough, but I spotted from the beginning that this wasn’t a traditional romance. What she’d got me there for was to tell her that, actually, it was great. But I was observing that maybe the relationship wasn’t quite as she had explained it to me.

When you’re closely involved with another person in a relationship, often it’s just that external eye that begins to show up the cracks and imperfections in the relationship.

JOHN: So you were dubious and told her…

BECKY: But she was obviously in love and didn’t want to hear that. So we went surfing.

JOHN: Because?

BECKY: He was a ‘surfing instructor’. I’m not that strong a swimmer and I had never surfed before in my life. I was on the surfboard and he said: “We’re just gonna go for a little ride,” so he jumped on the back and then suddenly I was in a riptide, which is a tide surfers use to pull themselves out to sea so they know where they are…

So I was in this riptide I had been told to avoid by my friend and I was being dragged out to sea and now the ‘surf instructor’ was nowhere to be seen.

So I had to manage to get myself out of the riptide and paddle back…

Basically, I managed to save my own life, got back to the beach and then my friend had a go at me. She said I had put her boyfriend in danger by going into the riptide.

About two days later, I woke up and realised it wasn’t me that had put myself into the riptide: it was the surf instructor who had been on the back of he surfboard. He had put me into the riptide…

Now, I don’t know if that was just to ‘teach me a lesson’ for my meddling or just to try and get rid of me cos I was interfering with his nefarious scheme… I have no idea.

Anyway, I spoke to my friend about it when we got back to Britain but she – obviously in love with him – didn’t want to hear it at all. So I didn’t hear from her for about six months after that: not after telling her that her boyfriend had maybe tried to murder me.

In those six months, she went back to Morocco three or four times, married him and he stole her money.

JOHN: How did he manage that?

BECKY: He was very charming and she was in love with him. She put it into his bank account so he could get a visa to leave the country and come with her on her globe-trotting adventures.

The only reason she married him was she wanted him to come surfing with her in Portugal and that was the only way she could get him out of Morocco.

JOHN: He could have surfed out…?

BECKY: No. People have tried that to get from Calais to the UK. It doesn’t work.

JOHN: So he took her money and did a runner. What did she do at this point?

BECKY: She and I made friends again and she asked me if I wanted to go back to Morocco with her.

JOHN: For why?

“So he took her money and did a runner. What did she do?”

BECKY: She wanted to go to the police station. I said I would go along with her because I wanted to see the conclusion of the story.

JOHN: Difficult to prove if she put the money into his bank account of her own volition…

BECKY: Yeah, but she had ‘lent’ it to him and this was all detailed in the text messages she had kept.

He had told my friend, who is an acupuncturist…

JOHN: Then maybe she should have been wiser about little pricks…

BECKY: She’s an expert now… He had basically told her: “Don’t come to Morocco because you are an acupuncturist and Moroccans are very religious and, if you go to the police, they will arrest you for witchcraft and cut off your hands.”

JOHN: So you went to Morocco anyway and went into the police station and…

BECKY: They were lovely. They did get out a knife… and we thought Are they going to cut off our hands?… But it was just to cut some fruit to give us while we were sitting there gossiping about this man.

They were absolutely the nicest police I have ever dealt with. In the UK, the police are quite judgmental and conservative. In Morocco, it’s the complete opposite. People who are rebels join the police because they’re secular. They are not religious.

If you are a sort-of rebellious character who doesn’t like the over-arcing hierarchy of Morocco, you join the police – because then you get to have some autonomy as citizens.

The police lady was absolutely lovely. She wasn’t wearing a hijab. Her hair was dyed, she had flowing locks and she loved us cos we were Western and she was very excited to talk to us. She shared stories with us about her awful Moroccan boyfriends and showed us pictures of them on her phone. 

The police station is not a normal tourist destination but it is absolutely one I would recommend if you want to find out what Morocco is really like.

JOHN: Did they go out and find the surfing boyfriend?

BECKY: No. But it became very exciting at that point. My friend arranged a double-cross. She messaged him and said she was in Morocco and they arranged to meet the next day.

She told the police and we flew out the night before and he was met by a policeman at the rendezvous.

JOHN: And the outcome was…

A prime example of lying seductively in the Saharan sand…

BECKY: It’s going to go to court. But my friend is not very interested in dealing with the court, because she’s unlikely to get her money back. I don’t think he has the money any more; I have seen pictures of him on his Facebook page, driving round the Sahara in a jeep and lying in the sand seductively.

JOHN: So what is she going to do?

BECKY: She has made a website to warn other women. It has pictures of him and his name.

JOHN: She will divorce him?

BECKY: I don’t think she will. That way, he can’t marry anyone else.

JOHN: Isn’t polygamy legal in Morocco?

BECKY: It is, but I think it’s very uncommon. very uncommon. There are financial restrictions and a husband must have written permission from his current wife before marrying a second wife.

JOHN: Is he still a surf instructor?

BECKY: Allegedly, but that’s actually how a lot of con artists pick up Western women.

JOHN: So, do you think if I go down to Bournemouth seafront and say I’m a surf instructor, I could pull a few aged widows?

BECKY: Yeah. Go on. What have you got to lose?

JOHN: My dignity.

BECKY: You have none.

JOHN: I am becoming strangely attracted to Doncaster as a holiday destination…

(Photograph by Ben Salter, via Wikipedia)

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Is comedian Lewis Schaffer’s comedy life-changing? For two people, yes it is.

Lewis Schaffer performs at the Source Below last night

Lewis Schaffer being intimate at the Source Below last night

This week, after his return to London from the Edinburgh Fringe, American comic Lewis Schaffer re-started his twice-a-week Free Until Famous shows at the Source Below in Soho.

About halfway through last night’s show, I started to realise I no longer have any idea what is funny or not for ordinary people watching his show. I really dread to think how many times I have seen Lewis Schaffer perform and all the shows tend to blend into one.

He probably has about 15 hours of material and every show is mostly drawn from the same well but each is totally different, totally shaped round each audience and full of good off-the-cuff gags which, in the past, he used to forget. Now one of his entourage writes them down and there is a chance he will remember them and add them to future shows.

“I don’t have an entourage,” Lewis Schaffer told me last night. “It’s a crew. I think it sounds better. Do you think it sounds better?”

“It sounds suitably street talk and American,” I said.

“I don’t want to be part of a crew,” Rose, one of his entourage, told me later.

I was laughing out loud throughout Lewis Schaffer’s show at the Source Below last night. So was Rose. So were comedians Matt Roper and Prince Abdi and comedian Pippa Evans’ dad, who were in the audience. People who had seen a lot of comedy were certainly enjoying the show. And I think the audience was mostly enjoying it. But I realised I had lost the ability to know. I watched two couples in the audience. In each couple, one was laughing throughout and the other was straight-faced. I have no idea if the straight-faced ones were enjoying the show or not. I think they were. Who knows? I don’t.

Rikki Fulton was not in the audience as he is dead

Rikki Fulton: comic with footsteps

Lewis had decided to zero-in on two Scots girls in the front row whose faces I could not see but one of whom should consider a career following in Rikki Fulton’s footsteps. And, in lieu of a ‘real’ black man in the audience, Lewis Schaffer decided that Somalian-born Prince Abdi would stand-in as “the black man in the audience”.

Lewis Schaffer’s comedy shows can be difficult to describe.

This one ended on time and he made a faster-than-normal exit, as he had to get to the Bloomsbury Theatre for a fundraising show in aid of Resonance FM Radio which comedian Stewart Lee had organised.

Each week, Lewis Schaffer performs two Free Until Famous shows at the Source Below, one American in London show at the Leicester Square Theatre and his Nunhead American Radio show on Resonance FM. You have to admire the fact he has avoided becoming famous.

So Lewis Schaffer and two of his entourage/crew and I got a taxi to the Bloomsbury Theatre.

He had been scheduled to be top of the bill at the gig solely because he could only arrive  just before the end of the show.

The watching Bloomsbury Theatre technician was laughing

The watching Bloomsbury Theatre technician was laughing

I think he went down well. The audience certainly laughed in all the right places. As did Stewart Lee and the sound technician in the wings – usually a very good sign. If the sound technician laughs, it’s good.

Stewart Lee called him back on stage for an encore.

Yesterday was the 12th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center. Lewis Schaffer has a very good story about it.

“Tell the story,” Rose and I said to him as he went back on stage. The perfect story to round-off the show that night.

Of course, he did not. He told a story about a blind man. It seemed to go down well with the audience.

After the show, in the foyer, I saw two people having their photo taken with Lewis Schaffer.

This is a big advance, I thought. People must be starting to think Lewis Schaffer is actually famous.

“Listen to this,” Lewis Schaffer told me. “This is Alex and Alicia. They went to see my show at the Source Below three-and-a-half years ago.”

Lewis Schaffer (centre) with Alicia and Alex

Matchmaking Lewis Schaffer (centre) with Alicia and Alex

“We had our very first date by going to see Lewis’ show,” Alex explained to me. “We’d read about this interesting comedy gig, but we didn’t know what to expect.

“When we arrived, we thought This is a very small place to have a comedy gig and we quickly realised we were two of five people in the entire audience. We sat at the back, but Lewis asked us to move to the front to fill out the crowd and, when he discovered that Alicia was half-Welsh and half-Indian, that became the focus of the next hour’s set.

“So this first date became a kind of trial by fire for Alicia to defend her heritage as an Indian and a Welsh person and, three-and-a-half years later, we’ve stayed together and we’re now engaged.”

“When are you getting married?” I asked.

“In a couple of year’s time,” said a broadly-smiling Alicia who then added the Lewis Schaffer like proviso. “Enough time for me to back out.”

Lewis Schaffer was beaming.

He had had an impact on two people’s lives.

(There is now a YouTube clip of the first section of Lewis Schaffer’s appearance at the Bloomsbury Theatre HERE)

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Mace & Burton – UK female comedy duo who sniff sandals & love rom coms

Mace & Burton in bed (Photo by Helena G Anderson)

Mace & Burton in bed in 2012 (Photo by Helena G Anderson)

Female comedy duo Lizzy Mace & Juliette Burton are at the Leicester Square Theatre in London  tomorrow night, performing their Edinburgh Fringe show Rom Com Con.

Then, next month, they perform it at the Brighton Fringe.

They first performed the show at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2011. They had no money that year and had to share a bed.

“I woke Lizzy up one night,” Juliette told me in London yesterday, “because I was ‘sleep flyering’…”

“And whispering…” added Lizzy

“I woke her and myself up,” explained Juliette, “because I was sleep-talking about flyering and I was really disappointed at waking up because, in my dream, my flyering for the show in the street was going really well and the people I was talking to said they would come and see the show. I love flyering. I absolutely adore it.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Because,” explained Juliette, “if you smile at someone and they say No and you don’t take it personally, that’s fine. They’ve got other stuff going on in their day. It’s not a personal attack on you. But, if they do engage with you in any way, then you can chat to them and brighten their day. Even if they don’t come to see the show, they might love your flyer and that experience of chatting to you.

“Thanks to the Cultural Enterprise Office up in Edinburgh, I have a couple of interns working for me on my new show and one of the potential interns I interviewed had a friend with her who remembered me flyering her on the Royal Mile and she kept the flyer for about three months after the Fringe because she remembered my flyering.”

Mace & Burton are performing as a duo in London and Brighton but, during the Edinburgh Fringe this year, Juliette Burton will be performing her first full-length solo show.

“Why won’t you be there at the Fringe?” I asked Lizzy Mace last night.

“I’ll be doing an intensive improv course at Second City in Chicago,” she told me. “We’ll still be working on things together after Edinburgh. At the moment, we’re writing a feature film version of our Rom Com Con show that will hopefully subvert all the conventions of the genre.”

“And,” I prompted, “you would describe the Rom Com Con stage show as…?”

“A true-life, documentary, stand-up performance,” Juliette replied for her. “It’s not really stand-up comedy.”

“We always call it comedy storytelling,” explained Lizzy, “because the comedy is not in gags. It’s in the truth of it and the situations we put ourselves in.”

Put ourselves in?” I echoed. “That sounds like doing something very consciously.”

Lizzy Mace (left) & Juliette Burton last night

Lizzy Mace (left) and Juliette Burton in London last night

“Yes,” said Lizzy. “Our shows are like Quest shows. With Rom Com Con the quest was trying to find true love by testing out the way people meet in movie romantic comedies. So we deliberately put ourselves in these ridiculous situations from the films.”

Juliette added: “We did lots of research.”

“Sounds like you just went on lots of dates and hoped it would make a show,” I said.

“Yes!” they both laughed.

“And hopefully, by doing the show,” said Juliette, “we would get more dates.”

“Which didn’t happen,” added Lizzy.

“A desperate search for love and affection,” I said. “Like all stand-up comedy.”

“Exactly,” laughed Lizzy. “We were just making that explicit.”

“Wearing our hearts on our sleeves,” said Juliette.

“So you’re basically both single and both desperate,” I suggested.

“Yes!” they both laughed.

“In fact,” said Juliette, “for Rom Com Con it was worse than that. Lizzy had been single for five years and I’d just broken up with my boyfriend of six years.”

“And,” added Lizzy, “just as Juliette’s boyfriend split up with her, three of her best friends asked her to be their bridesmaid. It was just like Uurghhh!…”

“So, for the movie version of this…?” I asked.

“We’re fictionalising things,” replied Lizzy. “We’re taking the emotional journeys we each went on but the events we’re putting the characters into are going to be more suited to film.

Mace & Burton’s Rom Com Con

Mace & Burton’s Rom Com Con stage show

“In our Rom Com Con stage show, each of us goes on our own journey and, as a result, we become closer friends towards the end of it. That’s what we’re trying to get across in the screenplay as well. The thing that’s most important at the end of it is the stronger friendship the two people have discovered through the whole journey.”

“Though not romantically,” added Juliette.

“It’s kind of a homage to rom coms,” explained Lizzy, “but also acknowledging that the traditional, standard kind of rom com might not be relevant any more. Maybe twenty years ago in a rom com, it was just accepted by the audience that the two leads would get together. You don’t have to prove why: the story was about how. But now you have to work a lot harder because there’s less of a belief in that idea of…”

“…two people being perfect for each other,” Juliette added.

“The writer has to work harder,” continued Lizzy, “to build-in those scenes that prove the couple are meant to be together and get the audience behind them. I guess we’re just looking at ideas of romance and how we can make a rom com that looks at romance but is more relevant.”

“Technically, it’s a buddy movie,” said Juliette.

“A female buddy movie,” I said.

“Yes,” said Lizzy.

“And your new solo show?” I asked Juliette.

“Is called When I Grow Up,” she told me. “I’m performing it at the Brighton Fringe and then the Edinburgh Fringe. It’s the first time I’ve done a whole hour of me standing stage alone, which is quite scary. It’s another true-life story like Rom Com Con. It’s a story about me trying to be all the things I wanted to be when I was a child… a ballerina, a baker, an artist, a princess, a pop star and a Muppet.”

“Which Muppet?” I asked.

“I didn’t want to be a specific Muppet. They were all misfits, but they belonged together and were stronger together. I just wanted to be part of that Muppet group and I wanted to marry Gonzo. He is my dream man – or thing or whatever he is. He’s awesome. He’s a risk-taker because he does exciting things like being shot out of a cannon. He ate a tyre to the tune of The Flight of the Bumblebee, showing he was cultured. He’s willing to try new things and he’s very romantic. I’m feeling quite passionate just talking about him. In all of the movies, he’s the one who sings the most poignant darkness-before-the-dawn songs. So he’s a poet. And he’s also very loyal. He was so in love with Miss Piggy, but she kept saying I’m in love with Kermit. And he just kept trying. I completely love him. And Jimmy Carr.”

“Jimmy Carr?” I asked.

“Yes,” confirmed Juliette. “If there were some way we could combine Gonzo and Jimmy Carr – someone with an appalling laugh and a very large nose – that would be excellent for me.”

“And When I Grow Up is going to be another true-life, documentary, stand-up performance?” I asked.

Juliette is torn between Gonzo and Jimmy Carr

Juliette is torn between Gonzo and Jimmy Carr

“Yes,” said Juliette. “I’ve done video interviews with the general public about what they wanted to grow up to be when they were a child… and what they do now. And what a job is and what a vocation is and whether what you do is who you are and what growing up is. And I’ve selected bits from those interviews to show universal stories. Some people have triumphed over redundancy by following their dreams. And there are people who have not followed their dreams but made active choices to do a job that allows them to have a life they love.

“But I don’t want it to be like some Edinburgh Fringe shows where they’re too much prepared-for-TV. I want it to be an interactive stage show. I will interact with what’s happening on the screen.

“I’ve interviewed Lizzy for When I Grow Up, so the show I take to the Gilded Balloon in Edinburgh in August will include Lizzy, she’ll just be on a video screen. It’s similar to Rom Com Con, where we did a two-hander presenting the story and have a screen with video interludes. But this time there will also be videos of the research I’ve done.”

“And you have something unexpected and dark in the show,” I said. “An unexpected twist.”

“Yes,” said Juliette, “but I’m not sure if we should talk about it. I think laughter is the only way to get through anything.”

“It makes things less scary if we can find a way to laugh at them,” Lizzy suggested.

“Comedy,” said Juliette, “is meant to tread the borders between what’s acceptable and what’s not and confronting the tragedies of life is a relief.”

“And,” I asked, “the highlight of your comedy career so far is…?”

“One of the highlights of my life,” said Juliette, “was when we sniffed the sandal that Graham Chapman wore in Life of Brian. We were at the BFI for the London Comedy Festival’s Kickstart Your Comedy Career course.”

“And they had an exhibition,” continued Lizzy, “for A Liar’s Autobiography, the film about Graham Chapman’s life. We were talking to one of the directors and there was this little glass case which had three things from the Monty Python films. There was a shield from The Holy Grail and there was this sandal from Life of Brian.”

“I think he saw how genuine my fandom was,” said Juliette.

“So he opened up the back of this glass display case,” continued Lizzy, “and he took out the sandal and we held it in our hands and I just said I really want to sniff it and so we both took this big sniff. It smelt surprisingly fresh.”

“It did,” agreed Juliette. “My favourite things in life so far have been holding that sandal, meeting Dawn French and meeting Michael Palin.”

“Was he amiable?” I asked.

“Of course he was,” replied Juliette. “He was Michael Palin. If I ever met Stephen Fry, I think I would go to pieces.”

“What about Jimmy Carr and Gonzo?” I asked.

“Oh my god!” said Juliette. “Gonzo!… Any Muppet, really… Any Muppet.”

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