or recycling centre. it’s a groovy place to go…

so we’re down there about a week ago. and i’m sitting in the passenger seat of the car, literally minding my own business. indeed, i am metaphorically minding my own business as well, which is saying something. my g’friend is driving – this is her gig, after all she’s the one who booked the tip, and has the email on her smart phone to prove it. (yes you got to book the fuckin thing these days – what a drag).

anyway, as we approach the entrance i see the man, with a high viz jacket. it’s normal for them to have someone there on the cornerm checking the number plates as the cars enter.

but i notice this bloke is a bit more forward than usual – he’s making a point of talking to the car dwellers, gets them to open their window so he can lean in and chat. i think ‘ this guy is going slightly overboard ‘ but it’s really just a subtle difference with what i’ve seen there in the past.

But then bear in mind there is a contagious virus going around or, as the patronising woman in the Royal Mail counter said to me the other week: ‘we’re in the middle of a pandemic…?!’

Anyway, we get to the head of the queue. my passenger side window is wound all the way down, but i make a point of putting my head down and remain quiet. I let eleri do all the talking…

As this high viz vest man lurches forward and sticks his head into our car – as i sensed he would – it immediately, or as soon as he opens his mouth, becomes apparent ”e’s not from around ‘ere’..he’s a bleedin cockney ain ‘e”…well, i say cockney, perhaps his accent is from a hundred miles away from London, but his accent in Llansamlet cuts like Dick Van Dyke’s chimney sweep – which i know is a sweeping statement.

So he blabs to eleri about some admin crap – which he could easily have done from outside the vehicle – like has happened every time in the past….but THEN!!!!

I hear the words “cheer up mate, things can’t be that bad” ..or was it “it might never happen”…either way i fucking knew it ! Something told me he was one of them, one of those strange types who can’t leave someone else who is doing absolutely nothing wrong…alone. My gut told me this was going to happen; It went through my mind as i’d observed him from the queue a few moments before, greedily stuffing his mug into other unsuspecting saloons. -indeed none of that posturing was necessary as all he has to do was glance at his portable computer and tick the box with registration of the car going past and into the tip – easy!

But maybe it was the odd fact that he wasn’t sticking to the simple method that made my wary. I thought ‘ i know i’ll deliberately clam up, like a cocoon, and just sit here with my head down and say nothing. Just to see what happens.

And he went for it….but i didn’t give him any satisfaction. after his callous words i remained stoic, still with my head down, still glancing away, and to the right. So i caught eleri’s eye as she smiled at his vociferous critique of my dead pan persona.

I’ve encountered this before, where someone basically tells me to cheer up. i hate it. what right have they to tell anybody that ?? how do they know what i feel? what do they know about my day, where i’ve just come from, what’s just happened to me, whether i’m a depressed, bi-polar skitzophrenic AIDS sufferer or not? But more importantly, what have i done to them to deserve a comment like that? nothing that’s what…still, it makes you think.

I mean, i’m guessing there’s people out there who can’t stand quiet in a group, or silence in an individual. Maybe it reminds them of something painful. or maybe it a challenge to something inside them. But imagine that quality multiplied, imagine the mob taking that on ….fuckin hell it’d be like the Nazis, where all non happy looking individuals, all people with sad countenances, all of the quiet ones, get rounded up and used as the scape goats – and skateboards – of society, the doormats of the power in charge. Let the de-humanisation begin.

of course, from his POV it’s quite possible he wasn’t posturing, and that it wasn’t a conscious act. But social behaviour is a mixed up bag at the best of times, it’s a mixed up shook up Lola kaleidoscope. But let’s put it in a more realistic perspective: he’s doing his job; i didn’t do anything to obstruct him in his job. so why does he see the need to get some reaction from me? did he stick his head in my girlfriend’s car expecting a chat? did it give him a tremendous rush? Did he really need some feedback from the passenger as well as the driver ? Why though? it was nothing to do with anything.

Yet i knew he was going to do it – sometimes i can read people. But only people i don’t know it seems.

I like going to the tip.

Film list not sincere

check this out:

100 best comedy films of all time, according to critics – Flipboard

It’s a list of 100 best comedy films of all time as voted for by readers of Newsweek, some american rag.

who am i to complain? i am nothing but a child dripping in the residue of naivety, But just glance at the list and see if you think what i think….that the list is strange, weird; messed up@~”$%&£

It’s got film that aren’t comedy film on it, films that a million miles away from being comedies e.g. Three Billboards.

It’s got a few Woody Allen films, ok, a few Chaplin films, a Marx Bros film…but there’s not one Laurel and Hardy. Not one! i mean that team worked their bollocks off to make the world laugh in the thirties…even if you don’t think they’re nuanced or sophisticated or a satire on social morays come on ! They made people laugh FFS.

There’s not one Zuker bros film, or Farelly bros film present. But Knocked Up is on the list, a piece of shit.

Yes i know a comedy film doesn’t have to consist of belly laughs, and yes i know it can be clever and subtle. but it seems to me that’ funny’ is an essential ingredient.

To be honest i need to check the list again, but it made me so sad last time i looked. The contributors have twisted the meaning of the word comedy, or just forgotten it, and it reeks of middle class bourgeoisie pretentiousness. The saddest thing is that the magazine by publishing such a list mocks the idea of filmic comedy. By not acknowledging proper comedy films they have failed to take the art form seriously.


a few weeks ago i wrote some stuff about political comedy – whatever that is.

One thing i mentioned -or , rather, one person, was Ian Cognito. I said he never did ‘telly’.

Cognito was pround of that fact. I said that that was a political decision on his part even though Ian was never described as a political comedian.

In fact I wasn’t sure at the time if not doing comedy was in fact a political decision. But i recently read a great book: BBC , myth of a public service.

Having read that i can now categorically see and say that if you are a comedian who refuses to appear on TV – or at least the BBC – then yes it does involve a political consequence. Because, if you believe the book, the BBC is not neutral, – as a lot of us like to think – but is actually in cahoots with teh state, and always been since its inception.

So, in the same way, when my ideas for programmes are all rejected by BBC radio…I’m no longer depressed as i was, no longer upset in the same way…for there is an agenda. And if i don’t fit that agenda then GOOD! I’m glad.

Where’s the mic stand ?

The thing about comedy which i find a complete mystery is reflected in how different audiences and critics perceive my act.

and how diverse those perceptions are.

In recent years i have been described by one tweeter as a comedian “who reminds me of a 70s comedian”.

I have been complained about because of ‘racist’ gags.


A comedian who does ‘spaz’ jokes.

Then also i get told my stuff goes over people’s heads, on a regular basis.

At the same time i am a ‘lovely comic’, silly, Tommy Cooperesque.

Some just think i’m funny. They laugh when i do my act for them. Simple.

One lady once refused to book me after seeing a satirical song of mine on Youtube and concluded from it that I’m anti welsh language! Me???

But here’s the strangest thing i have come to realise – though i don’t know how i’ll ever prove this –

The strangest, weirdest phenomenon regarding stand up comedy is: if you put the same comedian in front of the same audience, but alter the physical aspects of the room, like maybe locate the audience in a different room or venue, and/or with different lighting and sound, get the talkers at the bar to shut up, close teh bar as oppsoed to have it open during the comedy, etc etc -…then the comedian will go down differently…maybe better, maybe worse.

I mean, i’ve become convinced of this after years of playing all sorts of different rooms, convinced that i can be ‘seen’ as an unfunny crap comedian by one group, say, in a badly set up rugby club in the midlands,


when you put the same crowd in, say, a nicely lit small theatre in Boston, Lincolnshire,’ll they watch my act, same act, and respond positively, thinking i’m fun, or even a comic genius.

(THE TWO GIGS COULD BE SPREAD OUT OVER A COUPLE OF YEARS so the audience in second gig wouldn’t remember the material)

I have actually experienced this…or close enough.

And i guess the mindset of the audience is a factor.

So the depressed, drunk group, the unruly crowd who have not paid to come in,

They probably won’t go for me as enthusiastically as a group who have paid to watch the comedy.

Most comedians would tell you that a wedding gig e.g is more difficult than a comedy club. and that is a simple example of what i’m saying. They have not paid to watch comedy, they are probably not the kind of people who would even attend a live comedy event – except for a TV comic’s show perhaps; they are drinking and eating, and there are kids present. Oh and there is no mic stand

But i have noticed that these differences in perception are on a spectrum that go along with subtle differences to lighting, sound, ambience of room, seating arrangement, etc

It brings to mind that idea from quantum mechanics, that you change something just by looking at it, partly because you need the energy of light to look at it.

In the same way an audience brings its own energy to a comedy gig….it could be good, bad, or anywhere in between.

yes live comedy is a 2 way thing.

In fact i think it is debatable whether a comedian should always blame him/herself if he goes down badly. That is, to say you blame the audience feels like a bad workman blaming the tools, and therefore you ‘mustn’t’ do that. And yes there have been plenty of occasions after gigs where i have shouldered the blame for not going down well, and felt terrible about it.

But i also know that i have done gigs where i was blameless, where i was shoved in a corner of a pub, with kids running around, a terrible sound system, no lighting, people talking, no mic stand (yes it is common to attend gigs where the comedian is expected to hold the microphone in their hand, though a musican would always be given one);…and at the end of doing my time i am blamed by the organisers for being crap….but i KNOW it’s not my bad. A comedian is often expected to crowd manage, to placate loud drunks, be nice to riotous small kids, to quieten a torrent of noise, to compete with TV screens and fruit machines. Miracle work in other words. Who do they think i am, Jesus?.

So in a way it all comes down to audience attention and attitude – and how that can be nurtured, via theatrical conditions, into one cohesive whole.

So, the best wedding gig i ever did was in a hotel near Taunton. where the organisers had singled out a separate function room where they set up lights, a proper sound system, and arranged the seats into intimate rows – so really it was like a comedy club.

With cruise ship audience – i really did try hard to please them. But the first night, they wander in from the rest of the ship, – so it’s kind of effectively free entry – it’s formal wear, so they’re in dinner suits and ball gowns – not conducive to my chaotic loose type of comedy (though i hasten to add i was wearing a suit too), and i think a lot of them there have a definite expectation of what a good comedian is, and are inflexible in that view.

   But hey maybe you are right when you say that i might be too ‘clever’ for the ‘mainstream’…That word mainstream is interesting. because the mainstream is constantly changing.

maybe i am not a good enough comedian – or maybe i’m rambling.

a little bit of politics.

People go on about political humour, some people have said to me over the years that i should do more politics. Back in the 80s there was a kind of left wing thing pervading the so called alternative circuit. but then they had Thatcher as a massive scape goat figure, a larger than life bogie who could absorb all the justifiable venom that so called satirists spouted. so back then the meaning of political stand up was fairly apparent. i guess Ben Elton kind of personified it. (to be fair Elton did other routines which had no mention of left wing politics, though those too often focussed on the absurd unfairness of every day British society e.g his endless line of traffic cones on the motorway routine – a little bit of politics?).

But you only have to live on this earth a few years and you start seeing that politics is not really left wing right wing debate…i mean it’s not that simple. – I say ‘right wing’ because as i write there are now comedians on today’s ‘alternative’ circuit who actually label themselves as right wing….and that’s probably a good thing, depending on your definitions. There are no comedians i know of who spout racism , but there are clever satirical ones who find loop holes in the left wing frame of reference – e.g. Andrew Lawrence.

anyway….according to the above simple definition of a political comedian i.e. someone who talks about political things in their set/act then i am not and never have been a political comedian. that’s not to say i haven’t done jokes which belong in this category e.g:

How many politicians does it take to change a light bulb ? well of course i can’t give a direct answer to that question, but what i can say is after it is changed it will spread its light not just to the area immediately under the bulb but also to the periphery.

That is a joke, like any joke. it has a set up, a punchline, and it also belongs to a genre of joke, – the lightbulb joke. And it’s a joke i tried a few times…

But i am seen generally as a ‘surreal’ comedian because i do jokes like: I’ve got a peech impediment; I used to live with a family of dolphins etc etc ; my mother was a hammerhead shark; I worked in a night packing plant: difficult work getting darkness into boxes.

I’m not sure why my jokes lead people to the term ‘surreal’, after all there is a logic to them all, and they are all about my various (fictitious) life experiences. But I’m guessing that people see this ‘rambling’ commentary about fantastic things i’ve done as outside a ‘norm’ of stand up comedy…the norm being perhaps: observational comedy, political satire (which is a from of observational comedy), sex jokes (which again is basically observation of human relations).

I could categorise my stand up as maybe a cross between poetry and something else.

But really, like most things, styles of stand up comedy are on a spectrum.

I had a friend, a german woman – and she had that Rainer Werner Fassbinder Baader Meinhof thing going on – who told me that she didn’t see the point to my comedy, or any comedy, if it didn’t make a political point. ‘what is the point of it?’ she asked.

Hmm, ok, well yes it does dig at my insecurities, i mean is there any point to my comedy? well of course it makes people laugh – hopefully, at least on a good day – and that cheers people up….so …isn’t that a point ? Point to me no?

More recently a friend challenged me to ‘come off my fence’ be it on the left or right, that my comedy as it is is too neutral.

she reckons that a lot of people in the UK are having a shit life, and are treated shittily by the govt. a lot of british people live with this, it brings them down, it goes through their minds on a daily basis and there’s not much they can do to escape. And so, she reckons, downtrodden people like hearing their opinions reinforced, these thoughts given voice by public speakers like comedians. In fact when people hear these comedians voice their thoughts it releases dopamine in the brain…Wow ! now that is a noble purpose indeed for stand up comedy.

but left and right are just words. There’ bad injustices in the world, and at the same time there’s some good justices.

I for some reason get more and more pained inside by the stories in the welsh press -and beyond- about people denigrating and insulting the welsh language, To me that is an issue. is it a political issue? it must be….i guess.

But how come i find it so difficult to imagine doing a stand up routine about this stuff? am i sitting in the fence? or am i avoiding being ridiculed by a non understanding audience.

To me Bill Hicks was the best ‘political’ comedian. Because he was charismatic, dramatic, and really funny. He was deep but not pretentious. He tried to be entertaining.

I liked Jeremy Hardee. He was also a funny political comedian. But when i saw him do a gig in Wales he did a one liner about not voting for any party with the words National and Socialist in the name….the joke being he was comparing Plaid Cymru to the Nazi party. his audience laughed. Of course they did, they were mainly made up of middle class incomers or holiday makers in Welsh Wales. And they are welcome but what the fuck did they care about the culture of England’s oldest colony? They don’t want to think about it other than in simple superficial shades.

Just recently an employee of a health organistaion working for schools in Wales critiscised the campaign for welsh language schools. In his personal web comments he compared the treatment of english medium school children to that of the blacks of apartite south Africa by the regime’s whites.

Really? is that a fair comparison? I mean, how stupid, blind and ignorant have people got to be to make such an extreme analogy? Ironically it was Mandela who said: if you talk to a man in a language he understand that goes to his head, if you talk to a man in his own langauge that goes to his heart.

Where’s the examination of history ? where’s the research? The welsh language was systematically dismantled by the Education act of the 1800s which forbade the speaking of welsh in schools, if any kids were heard speaking it their punishment was the Welsh Not: a piece of wood around their neck with the initials WN. And people wonder why it’s barely 20 percent of wales’ population left speaking their own language today… Why do some people, educated people, hate and malign the welsh culture so? are they scared of something? a growing fascist dictatorhip in their own backyard ? Bollocks, It seems that they’re the fascists. The historical process of linguistic decimation is ongoing.

Right, so i’m supposed to do a comedy set about this. Who’s gonna want to listen let alone laugh at that ? It’s not like i’d enjoy the challenge of writing and performing a set about this stuff…i’m just saying there’s a pain inside when i read about and meet these people. People who call anyone who speaks welsh a zealous nationalist or fanatic. I don’t want to think about it. i just feel it, will i ever talk about it onstage? Who knows… but i already talk onstage with a welsh accent..is that a political act? I perform often in the welsh language, is that a political act?

Circuit legend Ian Cognito used to brag -and probably rightly – that he’d never been on telly…was this a political act? I think so, but Cognito was not categorised as a political comedian. Politics with a small ‘p’ covers a lot: the politics of dancing, the politics of oooh feeling good…

That’s the thing, life is a mixture of left and right. Marxists have commited atrocities, so have fascists. Good deeds have been done by bad people…The Labour Party took the UK into a wasteful, unlawful war in Iraq that killed loads of people.

Maybe the vanity of politicians on all sides is becoming more apparent in the internet age, and that is one reason why ‘right wing stand up’ manifests as a thing. It used to be one could only be ironic from the POV of the downtrodden about the acts of the higher ups i.e. the ones who were doing the down treading: the rich, the upper classes. Irony came from a ‘left’ stance, because irony is funnier from the POV of the poor and the downtrodden lower classes, maybe because there’s more of them. But now irony works from a right stance it seems, perhaps because our leaders on the left are now also seen as vain, as warmongers, as pro this and that at the expense of life affirming things. They have become, like the leaders on the right, obscure as far as what they stand for. They don’t symbolise anything clear cut anymore like the poor or the working classes. They certainly don’t stand for the poor, not in their own backyard at any rate!

Those targets are moving, so the humour aimed at them shifts.

Entertainment is a good thing. Intelligent entertainment is a breath of fresh air. Human vanity of course will always be a worthy target. And i’d like to think that some my ‘silly, ‘surreal’ linguistic playful jokes, on being got by an audience, also release dopamine, also gives a good feeling, to the listener. In fact, doesn’t laughing generally do that ? Isn’t that why it cheers us up…?

Swift and Pope back in the were satirising, with heavy use of irony, riffing on the authority figures of the day. But at different times of history within comedy you also see other targets, different ones: the Irish were targets, blacks, the germans, the French, Jews, to name but five. This does not pass as irony today, and in fact does not pass as humour today. Or perhaps i should say it does not pass as humour to me.

Ethnicity, cultural roots, skin colour are things impossible to satirise, because today we get that these things are part of nature, part of life. But still people make fun of these traits, like bullies make fun of the odd one at school. It’s called taking the piss, name calling. In recent times tribal differences have caused wars, religious differences too. Nationhood it seems is a subject too, often misunderstood, often on the list of contemporary satirical comics, and yet also qualifying for being part of nature, part of something people have no control over. Thinking about it, maybe you can satirise this – or indeed any subject – in a good way, in a positive way, in a clever way.

But why, for example, do english comedians when making jokes about the welsh invariably reference either sheep; the consonants in the welsh language; or imitate a welsh accent as if it’s a moronic speech impediment? Ok, the consonants joke approaches clever satire, in that at least it acknowledges a culture distinct from English, but it’s a joke that’s been done to death. Why not try soemthing new? How about a joke about the influence of the Normans on the current electoral demographic in Wales? what about a joke about Anglesey being the ‘mother of Wales’? Or a joke about all the Brummie and Yorkshire accents in NewcastleEmlyn ?

I once saw Jasper Carrot at the Glee Club , Birmingham. His opening gag was Max Boyce’s old chestnut: Ogi Ogi Ogi Ogi (WAIT FOR AUDIENCE RESPONSE)…Oi Oi Oi etc…at the end of it he delivers the killer line :’Isn’t it easy to enteratin the Welsh?!’ Ok i get it ha ha, funny line, really clever, rousing the Midlands audience in a collective prejudice, at the expense of any welsh members of the audience, like me. And yet it wasn’t ‘the welsh’ who enthused vocal on the night to Jasper’s chant but the people of the Midlands of England, the ones there in the gig. So it was a snide, underhand, but brilliantly effective punchline immediately grabbing the audience’s undivided attention. And it was this double irony – as Gerry Sadowitz used to say – that gave me inspiration as to how to acknowledge his line when i went on later in the show, that is how to address it within my act without coming across as bitter. (which is never easy for me) ….When i opened my set i did exactly the the same chant: Ogi Ogi Ogi etc etc – it’s not like i was nicking a Jasper original after all – and then delivered my own killer line: ‘Isn’t it easy to entertain the English ?’ Touche…

The great thing about Bill Hicks was he did his act seemingly without any other motive other than the communication of something constructive, something enlightening for all people. and he was not afraid to do his thing in front of any audience, be they rednecks or liberals.

Ok, so to me Bill Hicks is political stand up at its best. I’m not saying he was perfect, but what comedian is ?

But call me a cynic,- today, when i see a so called political comedian i fear – or worry – that the he/she is targeting or making fun of someone or something without any justification other than his own desire to get a laugh, or pursuing a joke guided by his/her own ignorance. These two factors frequently combine of course.

Here’s a question: is political correctness left wing? And if it isn’t why is it so many detractors of PC seem to come from, or are daubed as, right wing ? Maybe there’s a right wing and a wrong wing.