Monday, 29 March 2010

lewis schaffer


lewis schaffer

This is an entirely fictional account. Any similarities to a real life comedian also called Lewis Schaffer are purely coincidental.

The gig

“Hey I’m Lewis Schaffer, I’m a Jew y'know, yeah look hey I’m doing this for free so I don't have to be good, but I am cos I’m Lewis Schaffer. Hey, French girl, where are you from, Paris? Hey black chick, I can call you that cos I call myself a Jew and y'know I can say stuff about women loving concentration camps cos there's so many spare shoes around, cos they were gassed, right? Cos I’m Lewis Schaffer the greatest comedian living in Nunhead. Aren't I? Am I? I wrote it on my website.

“Cough, shuffle, clink”

No really I’m Lewis Schaffer. Just cos I've been doing this for 20 years in comedy clubs in New York, NEW YORK CITY doesn't make me great, it makes me the best, they just don't know it yet. I'm Lewis Schaffer, I’m doing this till I’m famous, that's what I call my show, I’m doing this till I’m famous, you get it? Hey what about them Scotts huh? I went to ‘Edinbro’ for a show, my own show, y'know, Lewis Schaffer’s show and there's ginger haired, skirt wearing men up there, all over the streets. I asked one " Hey, I’m Lewis Schaffer is this what Scots look like buddy?" He said " Scots, no where all from America.” You get it, yeah. Cos America is the greatest country in the world”


So after the show we got to meet The Lewis Schaffer, the same Lewis Schaffer that'd been standing three feet away from us the whole performance and the same Lewis Schaffer we had to listen to talk about the "set up" then squeeze by him on the way into the place. Did I not tell you about the set up? All great comedians have a set up, Rosanne Barr, y'know Rosanne she had a set up, you gotta have a set up. Well Lewis' set up was this; it’s free to get in, once you’re in, you buy vastly overpriced drinks and when you leave you have to provide an explanation of why you left, to Lewis Schaffer himself OR if you’re not the type of person to openly criticise someone you barely know, that has "entertained " you for the last 30 minutes, you put some money in a bucket and defeat the whole set up of it been a free gig.

You see, I’ve never met Mandela, David Tennant or Gandhi even but standing in that cramped doorway on a wet Soho street next to Lewis Schaffer made me feel like they could all go fuck themselves because I’m in the presence of a biblical giant. This giant was not to scale at least vertically speaking but he was defiantly speaking biblically, like they do, in tongues, babbling. “ Why, why? Why don’t you think I was funny, what? So you don’t think that was great? Jewish Stereotype? How? What? I lived in England for eight years how can you say I don’t know the Brits? Huh? I um? Well, come back again!”

Career cull?

You see Lewis Schaffer isn’t a comedian. To say he is, demotes the whole of comedy which would thusly relegate comedy to the light entertainment league losing all the great comedians who will transfer to the big screen clubs like ‘Romantic Comedy’ and ‘Fun for all the Family’ never to make us laugh again.

The wonder why years

" Whaaaaaaat would you do, if I laaaaughed off cue, da dum dum, would stand down n lemme walk out for free..."

As a child he suffered from obnoxious syndrome and was bedridden with only a black and white TV and a bedpan. While dribbling one day he watched Annie Hall. As Woody Allen streamed his witty observations, he thought to himself “Hey, I can do that, I’m a Jew and I have glasses.” So at family bar mitzvahs he would stand up and say his three and a half minutes of rehearsed observations to family and friend’s sympathetic claps and disingenuous encouragement, all secretly hoping he would grow out of it and into a proper, well any profession.

Swayed on by this, he did various open mike nights. Because his fellow stand ups were largely; unrehearsed, stoned, quiet, mumbling nonsense, his comedic tones worked well, the drunks even chuckled and his mind was made up, He was now to be known as Lewis Schaffer “THE COMEDIAN.”

So after Blockbuster ripped his rental card up due to a court order imposed preventing him from renting the film King of Comedy due to it’s familiar charactisation and potential risk of lunacy. Lewis Schaffer’s story goes a little hazy so I’ve had to reconstruct what occurs from my own imaginings.

On a thunder laden summer night in Dubbya’s bar, grill and strip club a young tourist called Sandra Dur is sat nursing a Coors light wishing she hadn’t ever asked for such a great beer. When out of the dark mouldy curtains appeared Lewis Schaffer, like a man appearing through curtains. The moment she heard the immortal words. “ Hi, I’m Lewis Schaffer, I’m a Jew” she new she was going to marry or at least have sex with, fall pregnant and end up having to support a baby, with this man.

"...leeeend me your mike, and i maaake them laugh more, da dum dum, i'll try not to make them looove me. Oh lewis, I need a little comedy in your show, your gonna keep trying, I need a little comedy in your show, oh baby please now, I need a little comedy in your show."

The Now

So Why? why do I know and make up all this? Why did I go to a gig that was so bad, with a comedian that’s as deplorable as Lewis Schaffer.

· Because it was recommended by Time out, I’m not someone who goes to a film cos Bo Jangles from the News of the World gave it three pencils and said it was a “ rip roaring action stuffed chicken drizzled with philosophy gravy.” But recommended does imply a human has seen it and thought it was good before been given more free drinks and fivers and fed thoughts of recommendedness.

·We were lazy, could have looked him up, could have searched you bloody tube got some grainy handy cam shot of a shadow shouting into the inadequate pin prick of a microphone distorting the very fabric of audio. Could have said “no.” But I chose it so it so that would’ve looked stupid and crazy.

· It was free, I know, I know you can’t expect blah, blah, blah, but he could at least made the audience laugh, he was called a comedian regardless of price. If I went to see the fireworks in London on New Years Eve and when 12 midnight bonged a boy on a boat lit a sparkler and waved it about a bit, I’d be fucked off and like many others probably try to sink him.

Really? Really.

Favourite Lewis Schaffer quotes by other people:

“He isn't here as an asylum seeker or on business. He's a hostage... He was once one of the top comics in the home of stand up comedy, New York City, having extended runs as house MC at the Comedy Cellar, Caroline's and the Boston Comedy Club in Greenwich Village.”

Or as I prefer it

“He once dreamed he was one of the top comics and settled as a house MC at the Comedy Cellar, Caroline's and the Boston Comedy Club.”

And there’s…

“Now Lewis Schaffer’s goal is to make the best of a bad situation – the British Way. “The British aren’t very friendly. It takes 10 years to make a friend in the UK. I‘ve been here nine years: My friend is coming.”

Or as I prefer it

“Lewis Schaffer has no friends”


“…a tour-de-force performance from a comic who’s been on the ropes but definitely come back bigger and bolder, connecting bang on the funnybone.”


“on the ropes.”


I shouldn’t bad mouth someone I barely know and only watched for 30 mins but I kinda feel like I know Lewis Schaffer, I think there’s a bit of Lewis Schaffer in all of us. Whenever we’re not funny in a group of people, that’s Lewis. Whenever we say inappropriate stereotypes and find out they’re not true but still say them, that’s Lewis. Whenever we believe in something so much and so hard that however loud and opposing everybody around is to the idea, you charge on through and do it anyway, well, that’s Lewis.

It doesn’t matter that he’s some tired overweight American doing at best mediocrity at worst banality to a duped audience who asked for steak and got diahorea. He’s ours and we wouldn’t change it. Unless you’ve got anything?

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