I can’t believe I didn’t win the Edinburgh Best Joke award

The Pina Colliders performing improv shrort form

‘I can’t wait to get back to London and write down all my Fringe recommendations,” I said to myself half way through our Fringe run.

Two, maybe even three weeks later, here we are and not a review in sight. To my fellow Fringe performers, I am sorry. Honestly, I did plan on telling everyone how amazing Alison Thea-Skot’s show was and how I nearly cried during Alice Fraser’s set but… Fringe fatigue, you understand.

Now the Fringe is over and my well intentioned blog post is about as useful as Cameron’s refugee comments. However, if there’s one thing the Fringe taught me, it’s that nothing in life can’t be solved with a good joke (and a large donation at the end of a show).

I won’t lie to you, I was pretty disappointed when I saw that my jokes had failed to pick up that shiny best joke award. I mean, what is this? A competition based on merit? Unbelievable.

As an improviser, not only was I creating new jokes every night but I was doing it on the spot too. Like some kind of joke robot, I had transcended the human body and reached a humour field beyond our mere mortal comprehension. Not that I’m bragging or anything.

How do you create jokes in improv comedy? Well, if you’ve seen Who’s Line is it Anyway, you’ll know that improv (specifcally short-form improv, don’t worry about the technical terms though. It’s all just pratting around) is made up of games. One of the hardest games known to improvisers is… 185. The rules to this challenge are simple, the audience shout out a word and you have the make a bar joke on the lines of: “185 (things) walk into a bar and…”

I don’t want to say I rocked this game but it’s essentially an excuse to use puns so… it was like butter and jam my friends. Here are the five top 185 jokes of mine that should have definitely gotten me the top crown (and again remember, that the subject of all these jokes was chosen by other people. Any offense is on their heads):

  • ” 185 chairs walk into a bar and one of them says: ‘sorry guys, just have to pop to the toilet. My doctor needs a STOOL SAMPLE!'”

By the way, yes I will be capitalizing all the puns. Please imagine the look of joy on my face as I yelled them at a room full of people. A cross between manically insane and smug.

Also, you’ll notice in that joke that chairs are talking. This is very meta (I don’t know what Meta means but I assume it can be applied to chairs talking) and therefore makes me ABSTRACT and COOL.

  • “185 Jack and Roses from the Titanic walk into a bar and they say: ‘I got a SINKING FEELING about this joke.'”

Oh wait, I just remembered what meta means. This is meta, not the talking chairs thing. My point on being cool still stands.

Also, the audience gave us a really long subject  here so the rhythm is kind off but I think you’ll all agree that by powering through that I am a comic hero.

  • “185 cowboys walk into a bar and one of them looks around and says: ‘hey has anyone seen Cowboy Jimmy?’ and another replies: ‘oh haven’t you heard? He was caught with Billy the Kid.”

Now the audience did not get this joke until a mouthed out ‘it’s a Savile joke’ – at which point they still didn’t laugh and just looked disgusted. But this just shows how daring I am or maybe that I’ve just become a bit of a twat. One of the two.

  • “185 policemen walk into a bar and one of them goes up to a girl and says: ‘hey, mind if I COP a feel?'”

Okay so most of my jokes were about sex but our show was at 1am. I was giving the people what they wanted!

And now finally, my best joke that (like the Savile one) might be a bit too inappropriate is…

  • “185 terrorists walk into a bar and one goes up to a lady and says: ‘hey gurl, you JIHAD ME at hello.'”

Now I know what you’re thinking. ‘Well it’s not politically correct but at least she didn’t do an illustration of it‘. And to you reader I say – you don’t know me at all!

What can I say? I love puns.

How to pack for The Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015

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Okay so there’s three days to Edinburgh, time to think about packing. Have I got enough socks? Underwear? Shit, I don’t have enough underwear. Why do I only have eight pairs of knickers? I bet the rest are at Jack’s – being in a relationship is a real knickers juggling act. Okay, I’ll just buy more knickers. And socks, I really don’t have enough socks and it would be nice to have a matching pair again. Maybe I’ll go to H&M or into town to the big Primark… actually, scratch that. Never Primark. And actually, I’m too tired to shop. But I’ll definitely get round to it. Tomorrow.

Okay, only two days to Edinburgh. Time for a BIG wash. Should I separate lights from darks? No, that’s too much of a faff. Just throw it all in together. That’ll do. Now I’ll just put in the washing stuff and… we’re out of powder. And conditioner. Great – off to the shop. Now do I buy a cheap powder and a nice fabric softner or do I go for one of those ‘all in one’ tablets. Hmm… I feel like the tablets are a rip off. OH! This washing gel is on offer, Jack uses this. But does it need softner too? I know Jack doesn’t use fabric softner but he’s hardly a domestic goddess, so how does he smell? Have I ever found his clothes lacking in flowery odour? Can’t actually remember the last time I smelt him. Does he even have a scent? God, what if I’m dating an odourless person? Fuck it, I’ll get the gel.

Right, the day before I set off to Edinburgh. I’m in H&M, things are getting done. OoOoooOooo those flares are nice! I’ve always thought I would look good in flares – fuck it, I’ll get them. Size 14, play it safe. I bet they won’t fit though, just because the universe is a knob like that. Might as well get some tops to go with them. Oh! I can get that feminist t-shirt I saw last time. Maybe this vaguely French one too? Oh and definitely this black top with moons on it. I like moons. Hmm… actually, maybe I shouldn’t get the French one. Am I a big enough spender for three new tops? No, I’m not. Put it back.

Now should I get a hoodie? They’re not really my style but I guess one would be useful. Hmm… £15, for something I’m not even fussed about. I bet Primark will have one cheaper. Yeah, never say never to Primark. I’ll go while I’m up there. Maybe… Oh shit! Socks and knickers! Just quickly shove them in my basket at the till. Great. Very productive. Excellent shopping trip.

Back home, I’ll pack once I try on these new flares. Hmm… a little hard to get them past the thigh. Have to suck it in a bit to get the zip done up. Christ, this is ridiculous. I am a slim(ish) person, how can I need a size 16? Maybe they’ll stretch. They look good but that is because they’re holding everything in. Maybe I’m just not used to fitted clothing; most of my other trousers do have elastic waists.

Fuck it, I’m sure they’ll wear in and I’ll only wear them when I don’t need to sit down. I’ll just go to all the standing shows.

Like this photo, my packing lacks focus.

Like this photo, my packing lacks focus.

Now time to pack. After dinner. Yeah, do it after dinner. After this episode of Him & Her. After two episodes. Three. Might as well finish the series if I’m this far gone. Okay, now time to pack! Although I am tired, could I get all this packing done in the morning? Is that too… rebellious? Am I a rebel?

No I’m not, can’t believe I’m even entertaining the thought. Best get all that washing off the clothes horse. What should I take and what should I leave behind? Obviously the tiger onesie is a yes but should I take a jacket? Hmm… I’ll leave that to the spur of the moment. Yes to that, yes to this, no to that, no, no, yes, yes, yes, fuck it yeah, no, yes, yes. I’ll grab that and just tuck this in the side. Should I pack a nice going out dress? No.

Bag looks pretty full now, that’s as good as the packing being done. I’ll leave the rest to morning Heather.

Morning of departure – nothing gets you in the mood for a long day of travel like waking up to the sound of foxes having sex. Why do foxes have sex like that? Why do they sound like babies crying? Hmm… maybe I should ponder these thoughts after I get the rest of my packing done. Thanks a lot, night Heather.

Okay, toiletries packed. Toothbrush packed (haha, screw you toothbrush I bet you thought I would forget you!). Laptop packed WITH charger – boom. Other electricals get shoved in with their chargers. Towel. Sleeping bag – though this doesn’t mean anything if I leave it on the train. Must not leave it on the train. Speaking of train, best pack a book. I am an intellectual.

Shoes are in there. I’ve got my tickets in my bag, the app downloaded on my phone. What else? Oh yes, a jacket! Big decision time, yey or ney to the jacket. I’m going to go with… YES! Shove it in, shove everything in!

And I’m done. The ordeal is complete. All I have to do now is board a train and write it all up in a blog post. Speaking of which, that too is now done. Cracking.

Glamour’s Trainwreck Screening and Amy Schumer Q&A (hosted by CAITLIN MORAN!)

amyschumerframe

There are some events that are so momentous that they get dubbed religious events. The last known one was the last supper, now we have the Amy Schumer Q&A.

I was lucky enough to win tickets to this amazing event. Was it sheer chance that I bagged this prize? Maybe. But I’d like to think telling Glamour that ‘Amy Schumer is like life itself’ really helped my chances. People in the office compared my screaming to cats in a bag when I found out I had the tickets.

Here’s what went down…

First of all, the evening started off with free drinks, so Glamour had really nailed the whole Schumer vibe of the evening. Second of all, it was in The Mayfair Hotel – which is as classy as balls. So classy that it even had rich business types at the bar, who could make you uncomfortable with their offers of ‘her ladies… take a seat guuurls…’ Mo’ money, mo’ sexism. Real classy stuff.

For the film itself, we were taken to a room that had walls COVERED IN CARPET! There were also NO ADVERTS! Just straight in and it was film time. Schumer fans will not be surprised to hear that the film itself was: magically/hilarious/lady-tastic/touching/life-affirming.

Like Tina Fey and Kristen Wiig before her, Amy Schumer is trailblazing a new path for female comedy. Up until this point, I feel I can’t be the only one who found comedies to be a little samey. The same, tried and tested bits of lad banter. Watching Trainwreck felt fresh, like I was laughing for the first time.

Spoiler alert: there’s a hilarious tampon joke in the film.

Not only was the film funny, but it had real heart in there. Not just between Amy and Bill Hader, but between a daughter and her father, two sisters, and (most importantly) between a woman and herself.

Overall, I think the film will be a classic. This will be the new Bridesmaids. Another example sent to Hollywood so we can say: ‘YOU SEE! Women can be more than just ass on a screen – WE ARE FUCKING HILARIOUS!’

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After the film came the meeting of the Gods – AKA Amy Schumer appeared and was interviewed by Caitlin Moran. Women are so lovely, the first thing these two giants did was gush about each other. Meanwhile I furiously tried to take a good picture of the pair and failed miserably – THANKS SMART PHONE!

 

Some key things I learned from the Amy Schumer interview:

  1. She works very closely with her sister (who was in the audience), with said sister having written some of those hilarious sketches and having produced the film itself. Good job Schumer genes on producing those funny bones.
  2. Judd Apatow sounds like the best. Just an amazing guy producing amazing stuff and not giving a fuck if a woman is creating it. He also sounds like a great husband and father.
  3. Nothing beats just doing the fucking work. It may shock some of you but writing a film sounds hard. When describing her work progress, Amy sugar coated none of it and basically just said she locked herself away for days at a time and just wrote the balls out of that script.
  4. Bill Hader sounds nice.
  5. The film is 55% autobiographical and based on a younger version of Schumer. Her sister is indeed called Kim and her father in the film shares the same illness as her father in real life.
  6. Apparently her Dad got a real kick about the Mum being dead in the film (in real life her Mum is alive).

 

The only downside to the entire night was that my VERY IMPORTANT question was never chosen. So Amy Schumer, if you’re reading this, keep doing you and please tell me what Ezra Miller’s nipple tastes like.

 

Things I have learnt from ‘growing-up’

Now that I am a successful grown-up person, I am often plagued by under privileged none grown-up people with questions on how they can emulate my maturity. After all, I have left university with a degree, set up home in London and landed myself on the career ladder of my choice. In the words of the M People, I am movin’ on up.

So what pearls of wisdom can I depart to the masses? I tell you it was hard to narrow it down to just this list but I’ve given it my best shot. Think of this not so much as a blog post/ Buzzfeed list rip off, but as a digital bible into twenty-something survival.

Come children; let me guide you through the joys of becoming a grown-up.

When you grow up your heart dies

1. You are an office foetus

When you enter your first job out of university, no doubt you will be filled with oodles of self-confidence about your abilities. I mean, you did all those internships, didn’t you? And you practically ran that student radio station. Oh, how those freshers marvelled at your authority. You can’t wait to step into your Don Draper style suit and reinvigorate your new office with your youth.

Don Draper smoking

However, I am here to tell you that you are not a person. You are a foetus. For the first few months every conversation you have with your new co-workers will involve them marvelling at the fact that you, someone born in the 90s, is allowed to drink. You’ll also be hit with weird abbreviations, like AOB… Since when did everyone start using AOB?

2. Money Disappears

Oh wow, look at that salary you’ve been offered. Doesn’t it seem huge? Imagine all that money a month. You’ll be loaded, nothing but parties, booze and Marks and Spenser’s shopping for you. Of course you’ll first have to pay national insurance. Then income tax. Oh, and have I mentioned you’re also part of the company’s pension?

And then there’s rent…

That zone 2 travel card…

Bills…

Holy shit, how much is council tax?

New girl: Your life is like gossip girl expect your all poor and old

3. Relationships are… different

Something strange happens to you out of uni – you’re expected to date. If you’re like me, you’ll find this very disconcerting. Isn’t dating something only the Sex and the City girls do? Whatever happened to awkwardly standing next to your crush at a party and drunkenly shagging later after a game of (ironic) spin-the-bottle gets out of hand? Sure the food in the restaurant is nice, and you feel very sexy ordering that glass of red wine, but it’s just not the same as a Lord of the Rings marathon in bed, basking in the sexual chemistry that is Frodo and Sam.

Frodo and Sam

4. People get on with their lives

Many of us have a nice illusion that our friendship circle acts like a solar system. You, of course, are the sun and the rest of the group happily orbits your little sphere of being. This egotistical and safe belief is bit by bit dismantled by real life. The people in our lives have lives of their own to lead. They have jobs to take up, places to move to, and partners to romance with. A good friendship will weather this and even grow, but not all relationships can last through the storm. It’s a natural part of life but that’s not to say it doesn’t suck.

I need you to text me and tell me everything will be okay - Parks and Recreation

5.  So where do I go from here?

Growing up I found that life had set itself out very neatly in front of me. I would go to primary school, then high school, college, university and then finally I would get a job. From the ages of 6 till 21, this plan sat very nicely with me. That was until I reached the ‘end’. Because all that bullshit about school being the greatest time of your life is just that…. bullshit. Once you step out into the real world you realise how little of your life you’ve really lived and that in front of you is this great expanse of possibilities just waiting for you to dive in. It’s fantastical and scary all at the same time. There are places to go, things to do, new people to meet – I don’t even think Buzzfeed could list all the things ahead of you.

Bugs life: Someday I'll be a beautiful butterfly

So my final piece advice is this – never wait to feel grown-up. Stop waiting for that end point. Don’t grow up, get up and live it. Quickly before you start reading another listicle.

 

I get all my images by typing random words into Google, followed by the word ‘.gif’. Therefore I own nothing and if you want things taken down or credited you can just ask, silly sausage. 

How to Survive The Stress of Finals

The Americans call it finals; the British simply referred to it as impending doom. Either way, thousands of third years, just like myself, are currently crumbling under the pressure of their final weeks of education. There are essay deadlines, dissertations due in, and exams to revise for. Many would assume this is a time for panic – after all, in a month or so we’re all going to be out of education and out in the real world of… like, grown-up things.

But really, the trick to managing all these over whelming emotions is not to panic.

Don’t panic.

Seriously.

Don’t.

You’re panicking aren’t you?

As I’m about to demonstrate, coming to the end of your degree is nothing to be scared about. In fact, with the right mind set, you might even find a silver lining to it. Such as all the alcohol you’re going to consume after that final exam is done.

You see it’s all about positive thinking.

Observe:

Start by getting ready everything you're going to need

Start your study days by getting ready everything you’re going to need

First things first, set up a base of attack.

Then set up a base of attack.

First try to get your head around the course material.

Now try to get your head around the course material. For the record I’m studying Freud.

Try not to get distracted by youtube or music

Try not to get distracted by youtube or music

Don’t go on the internet

Stay focused on what’s important

Beware the friends that encourage counter-productive behaviour

Beware the friends that encourage counter-productive behaviour

Keep an eye on those deadlines

Make sure the deadline doesn’t sneak up on you

When the deadline comes you're going to be prepared

When the deadline comes you’re going to be prepared

You’re going to keep up the momentum

You’re not going to panic

Panic is for people who don’t have faith in their work

Panic is for people who aren’t on top of their workload

You are fine

Just use those brilliant ideas you know you have

Try not to get too emotional when handing in your essays

Celebrate the end of your academic career in style

Like a lady…

and responsibly…

After all, now that university is over YOU’RE AN ADULT NOW!

This post should have really been called ‘Heather’s too tired from final year stress and just wants to waste time looking at .gifs
Also, I’m sorry about the lack of blog entries, I’m having a bit of a quarter life crisis and that’s taking up a lot of my time.