A personal taste of Nelson de Gouveia

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comedy - page 9

Gee oh gee oh wow, was last night awkward

in Comedy by
last night awkward

Yo, was last night awkward. It is an alternative 1994, and Nelson is sitting in the school recruiter’s office, looking over his application.

“So Nelson, in school you’re going to learn Geography, Mathematics, Science, History, Art, Biology, Woodwork and Accounting.

“You will ensure that your homework is completed on time every day to the best of your ability and punctual, else you will fail. The cost of your failure? A point lost on your score, and our respect for you will drop to the point of you becoming someone else’s problem later in life before you wile your existence away using drink and drugs which, again, will not be our problem. Any questions?”

Nelson looks around the room. “Hi, yes, Nelson here, a human being, tiny bit shy on how to interact with people. Sometime in the future I may stand in front of a young crowd and make jokes, but may be perceived to be insincerely racist. How do I cope with that?”

The recruiter gives Nelson a incredulous stare. “That….will be someone else’s problem.”

“Ah.”

The Offspring said it best…Low self-esteem

in Comedy by
low self-esteem

The past two performances, involving me in a small speakeasy dungeon that helped little for my burgeoning claustrophobia, and the other in a themed comedy night about “love” where I spilled out a new joke at the beginning and was not helped by the competitiveness of winning £100, made me realise a fundamental flaw in my mental machinery.

I have low self-esteem.

There, I said it, I hate writing these where I sound like I’m looking for pity, and in reality it’s exactly what it sounds like. I’m actually yearning for a group of people to raise me up and say, “Don’t worry about your self-esteem, everyone has that, what we want is for you to continue trying, please, we want to see more.”

Cos, in my head, everyone else gets that.

I usually have phenomenally wonderful ideas about activities to partake in, including creating tiny little webisodes, radio podcasts that involve scripted events, even a sitcom within a sitcom, a photographic makeover involving friends together posing as the Avengers, or just a stand-up routine featuring me ironing a shirt to Queen’s “We are the champions”.

And inherently, I never do them as I think I’ll be crap.

Before I used comedy as a small step in self-therapy, getting out of my shell to do something spectacular that I believed I cold never do, and now with 15 minutes under the belt and a lot of experience with small tiny rooms of willing guinea-pigs eager to hear the ear-candy I spout from my verbal blow-hole I find comedy less theraputic and more of a job.

Which I don’t mind, getting paid to make people laugh is amazing…if I got paid.

It take something special now for me to get out of my shell, find a niche target that involves something other than trying to “tell jokes”, but I realise my support to go forth and experiment comes only from one source here in London…myself. Me, I, alone.

Don’t know how it will be in South Africa, la familia isn’t too concerned with how to entertain people and I’m fearful of becoming the younger reject that depends on them for food and shelter. But my instincts say that if I gamble on trying to do comedy there, I will have to REALLY work hard just to avoid the sight of me on the couch writing notes and the first reaction to hear would be, “When are you getting a job?”

Meeting two people I hadn’t seen for a while did help me out quite a lot. First, the lovely Sara, with her amazing partner in crime that looks different I see him, Alfred. She’s the purveyor of hard work, studying Greek and Latin at university while at the same time also entering the stand-up circuit with both verve and tenacity, and herself supporting stand-up so much she has a blog with recorded interviews and reviews, which you can find here, www.comedyblogedy.com

And Steve Allen, one of the sexiest voices on radio. Why he doesn’t have more work and we have to keep listening to Z-list celebrities churning out their babble on L’Oreal adverts is beyond me. His podcast about the news is, to be frank, spectacular, you have to listen. It’s so professionally well-edited and funny that I’m equally surprised iTunes hasn’t sent a team of engineers to his house to edit his recordings hourly, having breaks inbetween for tea and Jeremy Kyle. His amazing talent can be heard here, www.somenews.co.uk

My point is, is that even with writing a blog-post now in this current state, being brave to hear the ridicule and scorn from my peers about “oh Nelson, stop looking for sympathy.” well yes, yes I am, but I don’t need sympathy, I need a deadline. I need to be told to produce something different and then it will be scrutinised, reviewed and dissected for me to understand what both people want and what I wish to give, regardless of how sad and weak I feel most days.

So, I’ll pick myself up from the hole I’ve dug in slowly, carry on trying my absolute best, and one day remind the people that helped me out that there’s free milk and cookies in the French chalet I’m gifting them with (future fame assured).

FYI, this blog-post is emotionally sponsored by Mr Steve N Allen, www.mrstevenallen.co.uk

Discovering a forgotten email…

in Life by
forgotten email

Like Nazi gold, an undiscovered Da Vinci or a £5 note in your pocket, I get the same elation out of coming across an email I had either a. forgotten or b. totally missed out, or even c. discovering the details of a previous email account you hardly used, only to find dozens if not hundreds of messages from former acquaintences long forgotten trying to reach you.

Just the other day, I was clearing out my Facebook messages from people trying to reach me (yeah, cos I is so popular, psh) but it’s true, I was, honest, truth be told.

And what do you know? There’s a “other” section I had never noticed.

This small treasure trove contained a dozen or so little tiny pleas for attention from people I hardly remembered or forgotten about, some I hardly know or others that aren’t even on my Facebook friends list. It was quite sweet to even find someone famous emailing me in November about hooking up, and the feeling in my gut to hastely reply to let them know I’m pretty much alive, well and eager to meet for cake and ideas.

That makes me feel geniunely guilty of being obsessive with attention myself. I do enjoy communicating with others, but the thought of a small, tiny little message lost in the ether of the digital world waiting for me to find it, like lost treasure or a message in a bottle floating towards me from an island far, far away, inhabited by a lonely and pathetic man with a big beard (with exception, a Turkish woman with a beard), excites me somehow. I get put into action, having to respond as quickly as possible, writing a little note of acknowledgement that EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OK, I AM SORRY I DIDN’T RESPOND BEFORE BUT NOW HERE I AM, WE CAN CHAT, TALK TO ME, DON’T GIVE UP!!

So have a gander, people, check your “other” section under Messages (just click on the Message line and it will appear below it), you might find some gold you didn’t realise you had. 🙂

Stopped smoking, now I’m bored.

in Life by
stopped smoking

Throughout the start of my 30’s, I’ve begun to realise that I should cut down, if not end, my four vices. At the time of writing, I’ve ended two of them, haven’t had time to indulge in the third and the fourth…well, f*** that noise if you can a. figure out what it is and b. actually try to stop me.

Smoking, one of the two, came to its demise last month prior to Christmas when I took up going to the pharmacy and applying for the Stop-Smoking Programme.

I did quite enjoy gaining a new story to divulge to audiences as the lady behind the counter that dished out my patches like candy has no chin, but equally I am grateful to her for helping me break the habit, despite no real extra effort on her part (she didn’t tie me down and approach my naked gentilia with hot coals….for example), but she represents my desire to breathe easily.

Yes, ironically I like breathing.

But over the past few weeks I’ve realised that not actually smoking, for an introvert, is pretty much the death of “something to do”. Lighting up meant having to get off your butt, going outside and looking out at the people that walk past, the clouds in the sky, the birds that fly past.

Socialising has also been given the heave-ho. Traditionally I knew exactly where I was with a smoker, no matter what his or her background was. That person could’ve been a homicidal maniac with megalomanic tendencies towards ginger gerbals, but at least he had a lighter.

I worry now about how I smell, both my breath, body odour and clothes. Before I only had to kiss someone and feel very self-conscious if they choked on my Golden Virginia vibes, and the quickest and easiest solution was a stick of gum and that’s that. NOW, a miriad plethora of substances ranging from pasta, coffee, chocolate, underground congestion, and even second-hand smoke, threaten and bombard my mouth cavity that I even say to myself, “Bugger me, have I been throat-f***ed by pollution?”

My teeth look shinier. This is new.

My clothes used to range in the smell-O-meter between chimney and light forest fire. NOW I cater for the sweat-shop hustle everytime I run for the bus, meaning I carry a small can of “please don’t walk away from me” deodorant in my bag, meaning I ALWAYS have to carry a bag just for the damn thing in case a date or a gig oozes moisture out of my bits and infects my G-Star Raw jacket.

Before my morning routine consisted of a coffee, some cereal and a cigarette. Now, it’s 40 pushups and situps, a stronger coffee, BERRIES in my cereal and watching BBC Mornings News, and feeling good. What is this “feeling good” that has been so bloody alien to me it might as well asked me for my number and taken me on a date???”

So, here I am. Sitting here. Bored. During off-times I would roll cigarettes so they’d be ready for the times I didn’t have a free moment, or if it was windy. Now, I stare out into space as I twiddle with a piece of paper wishing I could set it on fire.

Before, I could look forward to my lunch hour when I could walk down the street, breathing in those happy carbon monxide fumes and be all “Steve McQueen” with my polo shirt and attitude. Now, I’m just a douchebag, a boring inundated douchebag.

I can now smell things more easily than before. This disturbs me.

It’s like, I’m trying to reinvent myself, a middle-aged personality in an adult’s body, but instead of buying a Ferrari and wearing a toupee, I’m swapping cool opacity for lung capacity.

No one will ask me, “Nelson, fancy going outside for a fag?” and I can’t retort, “No, but I’ll have a cigarette.”…that bullcrap amused me.

I cannot be approached by lovely French girls asking me for a light. Yes, this happened, and yes, I enjoy a good friendship with her to this day. But woe is me that I will never have this film noir moment ever occur EVER AGAIN.

Gone will be the days now where I could slouch on the couch watching re-runs of Star Trek while ripping up bits of Rizla paper and constructing my own map of the galaxy on the coffee table. Instead, all remaining cigarette wrappings have been donated to the walking charity outside our London Underground station, and I bet you in the future he will still ask me for a cigarette, raspy voice and all.

I miss putting something in my mouth…and not feeling homophobic about saying that.

To all the smokers still living your life as YOU SEE FIT! Don’t give up because it’s now sociably acceptable. Enjoy your time! Live your days smelling less of artichoke and more of James Dean or Audrey Hepburn.

Lean against a nearby wall with a loosey hanging from your mouth in defiance against health-mongerers!

Sit in a dark room with strangers and be the centre of attention when your Zippo goes off…everyone will notice you.

Enjoy it…while it lasts. And only give up when you want to…like I did.

*Disclaimer: this blog has been written after three cups of coffee in one hour and may be subject to scrutiny by many people, including my mother.*

Drop Dead Awesome – A Christmas Story

in Life by
drop dead awesome

Mark, a 39 year-old plumber from Essex, decides this Christmas he’s going to get his wife, Maddy, a wonderful present. The kids have already been sorted, a stack of fantasy Harry Potter DVDs and violent Call of Duty games, which would worry any Child Services Officer but, for him, it shuts them up.

He first goes into London town, to see what he can find in the big city itself. Surely, in the Big Smoke, he could be inspired to find something, if not anything, that would please his plump but loud life-partner of 12 years who has constantly berated him for not thinking about her feelings throughout their entire marriage, which has he has fervently denied and pleaded mercy for.

He walks into a fancy spa shop, and the lightly-tanned receptionist takes one look at his paunch, smirks and directs him to the service door for any deliveries. “No, love,” he says, shyly, “I want to treat my wife to a spa day. How much?”

Her smirk grows to the point of exasperation, grabs a nearby price-list and shoves it before him. “We do 1 hour, 1 hour 10 minutes, 2 hours or 2 hours 10 minutes, all based on competitive rates. You paying by card or blood?”

Mark, being the down-to-earth plumber he’s been since finishing his apprenticeship at 16, can’t make out the unusual dialogue he’s just been given. “Wait, what’s the 10 minutes for?”

“Listen, buddy,” her Notting Hill accent spewing deadly acid over his humble ego, “we ask if you would like that extra 10 minutes for one of our men to come over and ‘rub you down’, it’s a speciality we offer here at Drop Dead Awesome Spa Shop.”

Although afraid to ask, “And the blood?”

She looks left and right, leans forward and whispers, “It’s for our boss. He’s quite a herbalist, and uses fat boy blood to make potions he sells to our, more, ‘elite’ clientele.” The wink she gives and the emphasis on ‘elite’ with her two fingers in each hand unsettles him.

He looks down at the price-list, which by any standard could feed a third-world country in a single hour. Unsure of whether to proceed, he asks, “Do you do, say, Christmas specials for housewives who have to take care of kids all day?”

Suddenly, out of nowhere, 3 female assistants pop out from underneath the counter, all agasp at the request he had sent like a thunderbolt from Zeus himself, had he been on a bad hair day and wanted to smite someone. Like headless chickens, they flitted around the receptionist trying to understand what this monstrosity of a lower-class demon could walk into their church of Snoot, before collasping in a heap by the corner while a Phillipino boy stands nearby waving a palm fan.

He exclaims, “What the hell?”

She looks down at them, a dishevelled mess of bitchiness, and shrugs. “Oh, they’re just not used to ‘people’,” she makes the emphasis with her fingers yet again, “like you, that come in and asks such a thing. The most extreme we’ve ever had before was Donald Trump’s assistant who came in asking if Donald can buy a candy-bar for 99p. Personally, I know how you feel as I dated a lower-class boyfriend before I had an education, so I’m not so fazed.”

Her mobile rings and she answers. “Hello, Drop Dead Awesome Spa Shop, if you’re important how may I help?”

——

Days later and Christmas rolls by. Mark and his brood are sitting in the lounge after midnight, the kids ripping at their gifts like hyenas on an antelope, and Maddy walks in with a cake. “So Mark,” she sneers, “what you got me for this time?”

Mark looks up from his belly, all smiles as he hands her over an envelope and says, “My love, my dearest, here you go.”

Wide-eyed, she opens it up and finds a £20 gift voucher for Boots. “OH MARK, YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE!!!”

The End.

Marc Maron – WTF Podcast

in Comedy by
marc maron

Marc Maron, an American comic spanning over a decade or more, has been hosting a podcast interviewing entertainers now for a few years and has been quietly gaining popularity for his insightful and personable interviewing skills, getting some great acts like Chris Rock, Norm McDonald and Donald Glover into the “garage” for simply a good chat. You can catch his show weekly over at his website, WTFPod , via iTunes or even through his mobile/smartphone apps.

“*slurp* Pow! That’s justcoffee.coop!”

My Dirty Little 2011

in Life by
backstage laughing horse

Ok, I know, sorry, I haven’t posted for what seems like yonks, and the closest I’ve bothered is either some obscure advertisement for a gig or an opinion about videogames. But I’m a closet narcissist and hate myself for it, so don’t want to constantly berate the public with thoughts about shoes and food and some odd culture.

However, I can tell summarise my 2011 for you.

January and February culminated in a personal transition involving someone else which I won’t go into, although many people who know me are instantly aware. But what I can reveal is that my behaviour was bordering on abhorrent and I apologise profusely, and I hope that the rest of the year has been good for you as it has been educational for me.

March and April heralded a housemove with two brilliant comics, sharing a lounge, balcony (small bit of heaven for me) and being able to feel alone again to ponder my thoughts and progress through my development as an individually twat. Comically, I begun placing myself into weird gigs that threatened to derail my confidence, while at the same time feeling jubilant during the moments I make someone in a room full of strangers giggle at my own little stories. It’s nice to know I’ve achieved the basics of humour in an endeavour I never believed could succeed.

Rolling through May, I made a trip to South Africa for my mom’s 70th birthday and debuting on the stage in front of my adopted countrymen (yes, I grew up there but wasn’t born there), and it was so nice to be acknowledged for the jokes I’ve written about my growth in front of family who immediately praised me. Think what you think, but I was never acknowledged for the little achievements I made in my younger years by my family, so that night was VERY special and I love them even more than I did before.

June and July rolled by without incident apart from working with Aaron Truss on “Free Cuddles with 007”, a lovely project that taught me the value of working with someone on a creative level, writing a coherent script and performing to a lovely crowd in Clapham for our preview.

August was Edinburgh and the end of my role in the company I learnt to work in as a producer. But my time in Scotland was special purely for a lovely informal review and the hard work I placed in doing 4 shows a day. I was knackered and could’ve imploded in a self-important ball of “why me” had it not been for a healthier month-style of not drinking too much, strawberry smoothies and going to bed early.

Hanging out with Des and Masud together as one was amazing too, and adding Aaron to the 1.21 Jiggawatts Crew meant we had an awesome imrpov troupe that amazed a wonderful crowd of people, especially when I’ve taken years of abuse with domesticity and made the “World Championship of Ironing” into a spectacle worth remembering. Thanks boys.

September was layover till the next job role, and this meant chilling out, doing gigs, writing new material and performing. I understand that the comedy scene is diluted with stand-up acts who are out of jobs and just say the most banal things, but I cherish the opportunity to perform my material in front of strangers and be the expressive, confident man I always dreamed of being. I don’t put it to everyday use in my life as I should, always over-analysing my behaviour instead of letting go and just being me, but at least I’m working on that and I always will.

October was the saddest month of my life as one of my oldest friends in London succumbed to the big C, and I recall visiting him at the hospital on the day, seeing him lay there on a respirator. And as I played host to the London Ambulance Service’s Battle of the Bands, a charity event to raise funds for their Benevolent Fund, the brightest spark of my earliest memories in this big city blew out and he was no more. Feeling bummed out just doesn’t come close, and even though I don’t spend many evenings with the same crowd, I miss them and especially him all the same. Goodbye Homer, I will hopefully continue to make you proud of me (not like you’re my dad, but just someone I hope to impress from up there while you’re mooning God with a flaming piece of toilet paper sticking out of your bum) 😉

In November I retired from the small room in Camden I inherited from the wonderful Imran Yusuf, an inspiration in many respects, but I knew that had I kept working that room I would become this stale old man performing to two people a week and that would’ve destroyed my personality to the point of bitterness, and I will not allow that. So I’ve freed my Wednesday and sacrificed Thursday/Friday for you, the generous and beautiful public in the hope that you will enjoy what I do.

And December is still upon us, and at the time of writing I’m hosting the 3rd Annual Comedians Christmas Party, so hopefully I get to relax with people who are far more talented than me in a more social context. I do enjoy being sociable, honest xx

Connecting with Your Audience

in Comedy by
connecting

As a comic, one of our initial tasks as performers is to connect to you guys, the audience, to share both emotions and relative ideas and in this first piece of material I’d like to share with you my love for… breathing.

Yes we all need to breathe. Presumably all animals alike, the fish in the sea, the amoeba growing in the primordial soup, all of us require oxygen to live.

And yes, we all love to breathe. It’s so taken for granted considering that love doesn’t always factor into the equation, we all have to breathe or else we perspire, we fall and our life-force will leave our corporial shells to float away in some inter-dimensional existence, if those robe-wearing monks in Tibet are to be believed. But in my head, I do enjoy the art of intaking a lung-full of oxygen and exhaling explosive carbon dioxide into the clear and present atmosphere, that same atmosphere that provides all life on earth with the ozone (I still cringe at the fact that mathematically I have or will breathe in a remnant of Hitler’s farts).

I even love the moments when I hestitate, the times when I need to hold my breath in anticipation of that big reveal that eventually comes, or the shock that you get when you realize that what you were hoping…actually happens.

Like that last episode of Friends when Ross listens to the message Rachel left on the answering machine when she’s trying to leave the plane, “I’m sorry, I’m really sorry, but I need to get off the plane, ok? I need to tell someone I love them!”

The stewardess says, “Miss, I can’t let you off the plane.”

And Ross screams at his machine, “Let her off the plane!”

Rachel responds, “Oh please miss, you don’t understand!”

And when the message cuts off, Ross leaps to his feet, yells at the top of his voice, “No! No! Oh my God! Did she get off the plane? Did she get off the plane?”

And at that moment, you wait, hoping that with the power of your own mind you change the outcome so positively that nothing else matters. Eventually then, you hear this little voice, stage right, that fulfills that wish, and that line is:

“I got off the plane.”

So, who likes farting?

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