So I said I would do a blog chat with comic Karl Schultz about a charity gig which he is organising in London on Monday. Karl brought along Joz Norris, who is co-organising the gig. Somewhere along the way, the conversation went off course.
“What’s the show?” I asked them yesterday.
“It’s Karl & Joz’s Over The Top Christmas Love-In at the Bloomsbury Theatre,” said Karl.
“For Karl’s charity,” added Joz.
“You have a charity?” I asked Karl.
“Oasis. It’s the one I run in Barking and Dagenham. It basically gives somewhere to go in the week to homeless people, unemployed people, people trying to come off drugs – recreational, free meals and stuff.”
On YouTube, Karl tells a story about his charity.
Monday’s charity show at the Bloomsbury Theatre includes comics Bridget Christie, John Kearns, Tim Key, Josie Long and Sara Pascoe.
“When did you start the charity?” I asked Karl.
“Last December. About 75% of the money from the gig is going to that charity, but I’m also going out to South Africa with my dad for a couple of weeks and we know some projects out there which could do with money.
“When I told someone I was going out to South Africa, someone said: Oh, you’re going on ‘holiday’ are you? ‘Holiday’. Apparently South Africa where people go with sex addictions. There’s a clinic or something. But I’m going out with my dad, who’s a Salvation Army major.”
Joz said: “I had some kids from a South African township stay with me in 2007. My mum did the African premiere of Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man Mass for Peace. She had breakfast with Desmond Tutu twice and the choir came over here and stayed in my room and I had to stay in the shed all week. I taught them about iPods.”
“Did they have iPods?” I asked.
“No,” admitted Joz.
“I,” said Karl, “was seeing a girl from Sierra Leone a couple of months ago, but she got sectioned under the Mental Health Act. Three women I’ve seen have got sectioned.”
“It doesn’t surprise me,” said Joz. “That’s your taste. I think you’re drawn to eccentrics.”
“I get approached by depressed women,” said Karl.
“I’m always attracted to mad women,” said Joz, “and they’re always either very short or very tall. But Karl hates short women. He says their bottoms are too close to the ground.”
“I do have a thing for tall women,” admitted Karl.
“Why?” I asked.
“My mum is 5’1”, so there’s no Oedipal thing. But I was brought up in Ghana from the age of 11-14 – the most formative time – and all the Ghanaians hit puberty before me. So, when I went back after the summer holidays, I had grown an inch but, in Ghana, they had grown six inches. So all the girls I was in love with in my class were all tall.
“Earlier this year, I was trying to be a better person and took a short woman on a date – I thought If I can survive it, I will be a better person for it – so we were walking on the South Bank in London drinking our chai lattes and she burnt her tongue on her chai latte and started hopping on the spot and I was looking at her thinking: Is this what it is going to be like?”
“Karl’s got a thing about chai,” said Joz. “He loves taking women – usually tall ones – to drink chai.”
“Well,” said Karl, “you can always see women, but how often can you have a South Bank chai latte?”
“I’m not always seeing women,” said Joz.
“I joined Tinder,” said Karl, “mainly because I felt bad about not doing enough out-of-town gigs. I got into comedy to travel, but I don’t really travel much, other than Edinburgh and China.”
“China?” I said, surprised.
“I went to China a couple of years ago. Did a cabaret out there. In hindsight, I should not have been invited.”
“Anyway,” I said, “on Tinder…”
“I’ve been to Southampton and Penrith,” said Karl. “When I went to Southampton, I got to see where Craig David went to school. I had to do it at the weekend. You can’t do it in the week, because they will move you on.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Well you can’t,” said Karl, “just go snooping on Craig David’s former secondary school during the week. People will say: What’s he doing?”
“Fair point,” said Joz.
“What happened in Penrith?” I asked. “Did you get a booking at a local comedy club?”
“Free lodgings and a lovely breakfast,” said Karl. “I had curry for breakfast.”
“The other day,” said Joz, “I had left-over lamb biryani for breakfast.”
“So you got into comedy to travel?” I asked. “But there were other things you could have done. Like become a bus driver.”
“We went to Lake Windermere,” said Karl. “Dove Cottage: Wordsworth’s cottage. You know they always had tiny beds…”
“Yeah,” said Joz.
“Did you really?” I asked him.
“But,” continued Karl, “the part where your head would be was at 45 degrees. That’s why beds were shorter. They believed that demons or ghosts might visit you in the night and, if they saw you almost upright, they might think you were awake and go away.”
“It stops acid reflux too,” I said. “Sitting up in bed.”
“Yesterday,” said Karl, “I thought I was having a heart attack.”
“I had it for the first time about a year ago,” I said. “Acid reflux. It really is like you have acid inside your tubes.”
“Is that how you spontaneously combust?” asked Joz.
“No,” I said.
“Too many eggs,” said Karl.
“The Elephant Man had to sleep sitting up,” said Joz, “because of his huge head… Seriously. I was in the play in 2003; I played the man at the fair.”
“I was intending to do a fairly serious chat with you,” I said.
“We could do that,” said Karl. “Someone said watching me be happy as my Matthew Kelly character was like watching a crocodile. The character has a calm exterior, but my eyes were very violent. So it was like a crocodile smile.”
“You can hold a crocodile’s mouth shut,” said Joz. “The muscles that open its mouth are very weak, so you can touch the sides and hold the mouth shut.”
“Or use a rubber band,” said Karl.
“Aren’t you supposed to hit them on the nose?” I asked.
“That’s sharks,” said Joz.
“Lick its eyes,” said Karl. “That’s what a zebra does. I saw a video of a crocodile being licked by a zebra. A crocodile hasn’t evolved a natural defence against having its eyes licked.”
“Nor have I,” said Joz.
There is a video on YouTube of a zebra briefly licking a crocodile’s eyes then escaping.
“That’s how you can get away from Joz,” suggested Karl. “Lick his eyes.”
“No-one’s ever tried that,” said Joz. “Mostly, they just say No… I heard that the way to get away from a crocodile is to run in zig-zags, because they can’t move in zig-zags.”
“Or just keep out of Africa and away from the water,” I suggested.
“And Asia,” said Joz. “And America.”
“And zoos,” I suggested.
“London Zoo is so depressing,” said Karl. “They haven’t even got the grey animals now; they’ve moved them all up to Whipsnade Zoo.”
“Grey?” I asked.
“The elephants and rhinos,” said Karl.
“Do they only keep all the colourful ones in London?” I asked.
“They’ve still got the tiger,” said Karl.
“Earlier this year,” said Joz, “I went to London Zoo on a date and I made the girl film me doing an impression of Nelson Mandela all the way round the zoo.”
“Sounds questionable,” I said.
“It was for a sketch,” explained Joz.
“The first time I went back to London Zoo since I was a kid,” said Karl, “I went with my mate and bought some masks and took ketamine. It was a terrible afternoon. I was in a really bad place.”
“It’s terrible stuff,” agreed Joz.
“He was a giraffe and I was a lion,” said Karl. “Ketamine is the worst drug ever.”
“Well don’t take it,” I said.
“I don’t any more. Have you heard of K-holing? It describes the completely stark, cataclysmic trip of… It’s awful…”
“What’s your idea of heaven?” I asked.
“Taking a tall Ghanaian woman to Lake Windermere,” said Karl.
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