Are you RH Experienced?

rh experience

The RH Experience are a delightful bunch of comedy eejits (you can use that on your next Edinburgh poster, lads) who I was lucky enough to share a radio studio with recently.

Specifically:  I was the guest on their weekly radio show/podcast Played Up – in which they improvise the contents of ‘cassettes’  that their guests bring in for everyone to listen to. And suffice it to say, the results are delightfully silly and funny.

From the game show ‘Whose Dog Are You?’ to the classic jazz standard ‘You Can’t Scat This’, you can listen to the full show here or the iTunes podcast cut-down version here

Have I Got NewsRevue For You

newsrevue

The very first show which paid me for my very first bit of comedy writing was NewsRevue.

NewsRevue is the world’s longest-running live comedy show – #fact – and writer-performers like Rory Bremner, Alistair McGowan and Bill Bailey cut their teeth on it. It takes place every weekend at the Canal Café Theatre in London – the cast (of four) and director (of one) change every six weeks – and the show consists of comedy sketches, jokes and parody songs based around the latest news events.

As a budding comedy writer five years ago, their open door policy on submissions was exactly what I was looking for. And as a musician, the words ‘parody songs’ were, well, music to my ears.

So my very first bit of paid comedy writing was for a parody song about the US midterm elections, set to the tune of Stuck In The Middle With You. The chorus went “Clowns to the left of him/Jokers to the right/Obama/Just blew the midterms, it’s true” and you’ll have to take my word for it that it wasn’t as awfully shoehorned in as that sounds. Because it got performed in the show – and my day, nay week, nay year was made.

Since then, they’ve continued to perform sketches and songs (and the occasional joke) of mine in NewsRevue, and I’m forever indebted to them – not just because they provided me with my first break, but because they continue to provide Real Live Actual People Performing Your Stuff (AND Paying For It) for comedy writers both new and experienced. I also particularly love them because they’re one of the rare places that do perform parody songs, and those are, in some ways, my very favourite comedy things to write. I’ve written a song about the World Cup in Qatar set to the tune of Do They Know It’s Christmas? (chorus: “FIFA’s world/We’ll move it to Christmastime”), a song about Liz Kendall set to the tune of Alright by Supergrass (“She’s Blairite”) and countless other silly songs for NewsRevue, and they’re a labour of love.

So here are a few things I’ve written and had performed there over recent months. A spoof of the film Room (which I loved, by the way, and it’s a crime Jacob Tremblay didn’t get an Oscar nomination for it)…



A spoof of Adele’s ‘Hello’ (because the world needed more of those, right?)…



And a song about Obama trying to push through gun control…



If you’re ever in London, I highly recommend the show, which is always performed by ridiculously talented people (they’re usually learning scripts super-quickly AND can sing); and if you’re a comedy writer, I highly recommend submitting to them. Whether you want to see it or write for it, all the info you need is on their website.

A Bowie/Brits mash-up

If there’s one thing that gives me tingles – apart from that thing where you sit with one leg under the other and it goes dead – it’s great dancing set to great music.

So making this video with That Lot – to celebrate the Brit Awards and the music of David Bowie – was the very definition of a labour of love.

It’s a whole host of Brits winners dancing to ‘Let’s Dance’… And I hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed making it… 🙂

 

 

Terry Wogan and The Art of Being Yourself

He was twinkly, he was funny, he was loveable… and he was also one of my earliest schoolgirl crushes (well, can you blame me?!)

But above all these things, our beloved British broadcaster Terry Wogan was, quite simply, himself.

I say ‘quite simply’ – but being truly oneself isn’t as easy as it sounds. Which is why, perhaps, people who are their genuine selves – people without ego, people like Terry Wogan – stand out.

I wrote about all this for Standard Issue. Here’s to learning to be ourselves – and here’s to dear ol’ El Tel.

16 helpful reminders for 2016

Happy New Year, everyone! And don’t worry if you’ve broken all your resolutions already – because New Year’s resolutions are so last year. Or, more likely: last week.

Here’s a piece I wrote for Standard Issue about some helpful things to remember in 2016 – and, indeed, any year. I’ve been dipping my toe into positive psychology writing (see previous pieces for Standard Issue) but this time I’ve put in a whole, ooh, ankle. Which feels a little scary, I confess… but also good. After all, a ship in harbour is safe, but that’s not what ships were built for. As someone once quoted in some article about helpful reminders in 2016

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