Tuesday, 28 February 2012

WTF am I and where is my Orc?

I know I'm a magician and a clown and all that but when I am on stage in a comedy club making people laugh with my own original shtick I believe I am doing stand up comedy.
It has come to my attention that some people don't consider what I do to be stand-up due to these recent incidents:
  • A London comedian mentioned that I wasn't really a comedian I was a magician
I don't know if she was trying to be mean or just trying to categorise me in her head. Things is when I perform for magicians they are quick to tell me that I'm more a comedian than a magician. Although I do do magic in my stand up I only do a couple original takes on magic effects in between jokes, stories and very unmagical prop gags. I don't know why people need to put me in either category. Seamus Fox knows though: http://borntomorrow.blogspot.com/2011/08/dangerously-inquisitive.html
  • I've been listening to a lot of Marc Maron's podcasts who I kind of get is of the opinion that a true stand up act is a person and a microphone, telling truths and delving into their own angst and emotions for material.
I can see where he is coming from. Some of the greatest stand-ups have been/ are people who tell you the truth how they see it and how they feel about it. George Carlin, Bill Hicks, Billy Connolly, Louis CK, Richard Pryor.
I happen to be not very good at that style of comedy. So where does that leave me and everyone else who doesn't fit into that category? A lot of the greats are also gag tellers, character acts or even magicians. Steve Wright and Mitch Hedberg tells/told jokes. Yes, you get a strong sense of their character but they are not talking directly about themselves. Same with Harry Hill in the UK, he wrote some of the greatest gags to hit the circuit but I don't think he ever reveals him true self on-stage. And where would we be without Tommy Cooper?
  • Some folks after seeing my act at a juggling convention said they would be using my jokes and asked who wrote my material!!
Of course, they can't use my jokes and I wrote the material but I suppose one of the problems with not performing a standard comedy club act is that people will assume I have assembled my act like some classic performers have via pinching jokes and bits rather than writing them. Whereas in a comedy club it is assumed that you are performing your own material until it is proved otherwise in other situations it can be the other way around.

Anyhow, spose the point is I will carry on and be true to myself in my own way. By doing what I want to do and what I find funny. You can call it what you like but I still think I'm doing stand-up.

Anyhow, had a good month of gigs! Haven't properly died for ages, am awaiting a big kick in the particulars from the Gods of comedy. It's never far off as what I perceive as dieing seems to raise it's bar with me, so that's a comforting thought; no matter how good I get I'll always just be a few steps ahead of dieing on my hoop.

Played 3 nights in the International in Dublin and they all seemed to go well, cheers to Aiden Bishop for the gigs. Also was good to see my old bud Killian Sargent and his lovely lady Yvonne while I was down there. Thanks for the hostipality folks! Cheers to Eamojo for putting me up the other nights too.

Got knocked out of the laughing horse comedy competition :(. This was probably my worst gig of the month. I didn't die on my hoop but it was a pretty mediocre performance. For some reason my timing was completely off.. I fluffed my opener a little, sometimes this knocks my rhythm out for the whole thing (& sometimes I recover spectacularly so, who knows?). Good to see my old bud Gilbert again while I was there, also met Internet buddy James Munton who was even nicer in person.

Hosted a couple of passable to enjoyable nights at the Pav. The usual!

Had a good fun gig down at the Comedy Crunch thanks to Danny and Colm for the gigs.

Also had a lovely gig  with the even lovelier Ruaidhrí Ward (was gonna link to your blog but it's vanished! Do you want to be linked with anything? That sounded sinister.Folks,just google him then go out and see him be funny), Lauren Kerr and Eleanor Tiernan in the Black Box (and the lovelier part applies to everyone BTW not just Rua). Thanks to the Graeme Watson and his many minions.( Or vice-versa) (Does that even make sense?)

Had a nice but smallish gig at Queens PTQ week. Brought back the Spide story and the punchline got a round of applause which was nice because it has once or twice got absolutely nothing.(Which is never nice) I think putting it in later in the set has helped.

I also did a wee spot MCing for the Juggling convention which was a lot of fun. Probably should've dressed up more but hey, I made the acts look smarter and I got to do my T-shirt gag.

This was the gig that afterwards someone came up to me and said:
"I'd love to know who came up with that monkey of truth routine!"

I didn't get what he meant first of all, I assumed everyone would know it was obviously my silly bit but when I realised and told him that I wrote it he didn't seem to believe me!
Having said that I don't think "Hey, I even wrote the song" was the best convincer I could've used.

First of all it kind of puzzles me where on earth he thinks I could've resourced that idea from. It's pretty contrived I can't see anyone publishing that kind of nonsense

And secondly, it's just deflates me a little to think that people might lift the gag not knowing that the Monkey of Truth and I went on quite a long arduous journey before arriving at that routine.

What I tend to do nowadays when I am writing a new bit is come up with silly or surreal ideas and then shape them so they have gags and are actually going somewhere. (A true surrealist would probably just stay in the surreal but what can I say? I like gags). Anyhow the Monkey of Truth showed up before I had fully comprehended that this was probably the best way to do things.
I bought a gorilla mask on a whim, I was in Elliott's with Nicholas J Johnson . Who is also the kind of bloke who might pick up a gorilla mask on a whim with a vague gag in mind so I think he appreciated that.

And then I just started making people put it on, called them "The Monkey of Truth" and brought them onstage. I think Marcus went first. He was pretty funny.

What might've been funny would've been if I'd just given a big welcome to the Monkey of Truth he'd come on the stage bowed then sodded off again with no explanation. Unfortunately, probably due to my kid's show background, I would invariably try and milk the life out of the situation and the monkey would outstay his welcome on stage.

He also appeared as an adjudicator for an escape act, some form of security, and also maybe with Jesus. I dunno, that monkey did a lot of cr*p for a good year until one day I came up with the routine I have now. It requires me to find a new monkey that has never seen the routine every time I do it. Which is kind of fun and keeps it fresh.

We* also used to have an Orc of Indifference. Whose main roll was to go onstage if anyone had gone over their time  and put them off by acting indifferent.

Opinion was split on whether this was a good idea or not. I still maintain that it was. It was just a funny situation. Maybe it looked like we weren't taking things seriously, but hey, it's comedy! It could sometimes backfire as sometimes a new act might not be doing to well and would go overtime. The Orc would come on and shrug or shake it's head at punchlines which would get a laugh. The act wouldn't realise they where laughing at the Orc but think that their jokes had suddenly started hitting home and would be spurred on to do an extra couple of minutes.

And then the Orc would have to kill them.

I lost my Orc of Indifference mask. I never bought a new mask because around the same time I also lost my Orc. The monkey relishes being embodied by lots of personalitites but there is only one Orc. Nobody can act indifferent like Marcus Keeley.

In fact, sod the Orc, where's Marcus?

Get yourself on a stage fella!

Oh and before I go big thanks to Adam Laughlin for making me this for a bit I haven't quite finished putting together yet. It's got a theme tune now, so I've got my priorities sorted, at least:


Promise to talk about magic more next time. Not much for the magii here this time.


*I came up with the idea but I feel he belongs to Big Laughs in general.

See yous,


  1. Not read this for a while and it seems you haven't been here much either! Any plans for an update? Hope you're well, and it was great meeting you in Rostrevor quite some while back. Nick

  2. Not read this for a while and it seems you haven't been here much either! Any plans for an update? Hope you're well, and it was great meeting you in Rostrevor quite some while back. Nick