A podcast for the many, not the few

 Greetings, electorate! This is just a quick blog post to say that I’ve been part of the writing team on a BRAND NEW (yes THAT NEW) election podcast called Strong And Stable.

It’s funnier than a pre-rehearsed joke at Prime Minister’s Question Time, it’s hosted by the wonderful David Schneider, and the guests on episode one are James O’Brien, Josie Long and Bob Mills. Oh, and it features special appearances from Jonathan Pie and Rory Bremner. I know!

You can listen & download it here in the iTunes store. Please listen, enjoy, subscribe, leave feedback… and then, of course, vote Labour. 😉

Hope you like it!

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)…

ANDREA-MANN-SET-1


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

SONG-ADELE-HELLO-SPOOF-ANDREA-MANN


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

ANDREA-MANN-SONG-GUNS-GUNS-GUNS


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.

New-look website status: Imminent

Andrea Mann website main pic - smaller

Yes, as Bob Dylan said: my website, it is a-changin’. That was after he went electric, of course.

As I am doing far more writing and far less music-making these days, I thought it was about time I updated this site to reflect that.

So OUT: will be pictures of me that are several years old (I’m not a newspaper columnist – I just can’t get away with it any more), white-text-on-black, and lots of pages about music stuff. IN: will be a more recent picture or two (as blurry as I can get away with), black-text-on-white, and lots of pages about writing stuff.

I will also be updating this here blog section far more frequently.

Watch this space. Literally. Well, not this one exactly. But this general area. #ExcitingTimes

 

It’s never too late to be what you might have been

What a difference a year makes, as the old  jazz standard goes.

In November 2010, I decided to try and make a go of it as a comedy writer. I wrote my first parody song (one about the American midterm elections, to the tune of ‘Stuck In The Middle With You’ – some things just write themselves) and submitted it to Newsrevue – and much to my delight and excitement, they used it in the show.

But it wouldn’t have really mattered too much to me if they hadn’t – because I knew that what was important was merely the step of going for it, to use modern parlance. And there has followed a year of going for it – writing every day (around gigs and my freelance day job), learning how to craft jokes, learning how to write sketches, picking comedy writers’ brains, trying to improve, submitting and submitting and submitting and not being disheartened when it didn’t always lead to my work being used and being used and being used, going to the London Comedy Writers’ Festival, saying ‘yes’ to every opportunity that came my way even if it was a bit scary, changing my Twitter bio to read ‘comedy writer’, and – most importantly – quieting the small, self-doubting voice inside me whenever it popped up to say I couldn’t do this, or wasn’t entitled to it.

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