When we type “LOL” as in “laughing out loud”, I suspect most of us are lying, I rarely laugh when I’m alone at the keyboard. I laugh a lot when I see some good stand up comedy with an audience, laughing for adults is I think quite a social activity. Children have less trouble laughing, less inhibitions.

Watching comedy alone, I rarely laugh out loud, but I did find myself laughing at one scene in Big Bang Theory, where Kripke sabotages Sheldon’s radio broadcast by pumping helium into the room.

Helium: The Big Bang Theory (click on the link to see the scene)

I love watching Big Bang Theory, there is a lot of very clever funny dialogue, but it is the above scene that actually made me laugh. I think the trigger for my laughter mechanism is very juvenile, it is triggered in this case by Sheldon’s increasing embarrassment, I’m not sure what this says about me. Am I empathising with Sheldon or Kripke or is it some kind of schadenfreunde, delighting in another’s misfortunes?

What makes you laugh out loud when you are alone?



Richard III and Elizabeth II

As Richard III’s reburial starts….

jim holroyd 365

Back in February , the bones of Richard III were unearthed beneath a car park in Leicester. Here is a comic sketch I wrote at the time.

Scene: Opening the mail in Buckingham Palace.

Queen: Philip, one has a letter here from Leicester City Council.

Philip: Leicester? You still have some English subjects there? I thought they were all..

Queen: (cutting Philip off): Behave Philip you know how you upset the Chinese with your “slitty eyed” comment.

Philip: What do the blighters want?

Queen: Apparently, they’ve found the bones of Richard III and want to know whether we want them.

Philip: Richard the third? That’s rhyming slang for

Queen: … disinterred

Philip: Why would we want them? ( Corgis yapping)

Well, the dogs might like them.

Queen: One doesn’t feed ROYAL bones to the corgis.

Philip: Where’d…

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Comic Strip, Cartoon

Reading “The Diary of the Wimpy Kid” and about its creator Jeff Kinney, has given me an itch to have a go at drawing some cartoons or comic strips again. In the book the protagonist Greg Heffley tries out for the post of cartoonist on the school magazine. He got to work with his buddy Rowley…

We banged out a bunch of characters real quick, but that turned out to be the easy part. When we tried to think up some jokes we kind of hit a wall.

Back in 1997 I drew a comic strip called “Betty Zapat and Yorrick“, it was to amuse  my wife who was ill at the time, I had a cast of characters and eventually drew 127 episodes. I don’t have them today, maybe I can find a few on a memory stick somewhere. I also drew a strip for a football fanzine the “Leyton Orientear” called “Leyton’s O”, a surreal strip imagining a letter signing up for a football team, about eight or nine of them were published.

I’ve found a few early episodes of Betty Zapat that I scanned and put on a memory stick:

800dpi colour

I seem to have a problem uploading them….this one is upside down…maybe it will be okay for Australian audiences. I think the problem is the files are .bmp files which aren’t allowed for adding. Just looked at WikiHow…to convert .bmp to .jpg… through the paint program….I think I might be getting somewhere…

Betty Zapat and Yorrick Episode 8. Rugbyman is critical of women's rugby and gets no sympathy when he trips and falls.

Betty Zapat and Yorrick Episode 8. Rugbyman is critical of women’s rugby and gets no sympathy when he trips and falls.

I want a new strip, I’m not sure what yet. One idea is “ენოტი და ანა” (Enoti and Ana) based on my granddaughter Ana and her toy raccoon.

ენოტი და ანა

ენოტი და ანა

My favourite comic strips are Calvin and Hobbes, Footrot Flats, Peanuts, Lucky Luke and The Far Side.

It has been dangerous for cartoonists lately with the Charlie Hebdo Massacre. I don’t think I will create a strip around the Prophet Mohammed, it wouldn’t be a sensible idea, and Jesus had better jokes…”did you hear the one about the camel passing through the eye of the needle?” (Mark 10:25)…although it is probably a whole lot funnier in the original Aramaic.

ენოტი და ანა

ენოტი და ანა

Stand up comedy

Standing on a stage and trying to make people laugh is not easy. Comedy is a serious business.

During my last year in England, I thought I would have a go at Stand Up Comedy, to see if I had what it takes. I took a course run by Logan Murray in London (I’d highly recommend the course to any comedy wannabes)  at the end of which was a showcase, where we had around 5 minutes in front of a live paying audience.

I cringe every time I watch the video of my performance, I was nervous and halfway through my set I forgot my routine.

I got a few precious laughs but not a lot. I followed on from the showcase with six more “gigs”, before I left UK for Georgia. I am glad I had a go, but I don’t think I would have made it in the competitive world of stand up, as there are some very funny people out there.

I saw Jimmy Carr perform back in 2000, when he was starting and I was underwhelmed by his performance, a few years after he was a household name (at least in England), he had worked his socks off honing his craft, looking to get a gig every night.

Doing the comedy course I met a lot of fascinating and funny people, many of whom I am still in contact with through Facebook, on Twitter I follow some comedians like Ricky Gervais and Dara O’ Briain. My favourite stand ups tend to be the Irish comedians like Dara, Ed Byrne, Aidan O’Hanlon and Dave Allen. Also on the circuit there are many very funny female comedians like Sarah Millican, Janey Godley, Gemma Goggin, Susan Murray and Karen Bayley…repudiating the myth that women can’t be funny.

I have no aspirations now to do any further stand up, but I might have a go at comedy writing. One of the reasons for starting this blog was to practise writing (not comedy writing per se), as any skill you wish to gain requires an investment in effort (Jimmy Carr being a prime example).

Details of the comedy course I attended

Click to access 14t-04-09_abc98_evs_v2.pdf