Dangerous comedy, how I have gotten in trouble trying to make others laugh.

I write this post as I got into trouble again last night whilst filming my latest video. After last weeks recognition of my evolution as an artist. This week I was to consider how I am evolving as a comedian. What started out as a vlog contained to in my flat spontaneously became a road trip to haunted locations at midnight. We got pulled over by the police and I decided it was for the best to not risk being out any longer.

It is not the first time I have been in trouble whilst making comic work. I was stopped midway through this video too. Which I again decided to work into the final piece.

And I was also stopped by security in a library whilst dressed as a mime and was shushing people in there. This was unfortunately not filmed.

But it got me to thinking that I think that there is something in me that strives for danger. Being near the precipice and being creative. I think that one day when I am more successful I will create a lot of headaches for my publicist.

I think that that is what attracts me to clowning. That it is anarchic. I think it speaks to something deep within me. And I think as I learn more of the world around me and my understanding of myself and my place in it this anarchic edge will continue to grow. I have often mused as to how many comics actually find their own creations funny and laugh at them as I often do when editing. But now I ponder whether or not other comics find their output as exciting as I do. I feel like I have unlocked through clowning a side of myself which is unexplored and dangerous which I think artists should strive for.

Evolving as an artist over time and right now.

Since last weeks blog and video I had been ill and not felt up to creating a new video this week. However one of my goals for 2020 was to upload a new comedy video each week and my experiments with gaming streaming on my PS4 had not worked quite in the way I had wished.

(However I do intend on doing another experiment tomorrow, which I am hopeful about.)

So I was left on Thursday with no video recorded and not able to record a new one. Or at least felt unable to output a work to a standard I was happy with. I looked through an old hard drive as I do have a few videos that I have recorded in advance that have not yet been put out. These were all filmed before the lockdown however I feel my output should be informed by the lockdown to be properly effective at the moment.

On the hard drive not only did I find the old files but a fully edited video that I hadn’t published online. Result! But upon watching it I felt that it FELT old. In all stages of production it was 2 years old. In terms of content it was fine but I just did not feel like I could put it out. So I made the decision to re-edit the whole video from the ground up.

screen shot 1interview with Mike milling as I thought I was Conan O'Brien at the time

credits
These are some of the bits that did not make the final cut that I just felt did not feel had a place in a video I was making in 2020.

 

It was really nice to be able to see how far I’d come comedically and also in terms of my online output and style. It also made me think about how I feel that I am evolving as an artist and it is a constant slow march. I also think that it is good to allow yourself to evolve slowly but also to allow change that is informed by the real world and your relation to it. Which is something I would encourage all comics and artists to do.

I hope to never stop evolving as an artist and keep on striving to be better.

 

 

 

The reason for my absence and my comedy metamorphasis.

It occurred to me that this website exists after paying actual money to keep it maintained and alive over the past 2 years when I have barely used it.

So what news is there from the last few years? Well I am a runner up chortle student comedian of the year for 2019 and finalist in the Leicester square new comedian of the year 2019. I had what was considered a successful Edinburgh debut show ‘Tom Short’s wheel of misfortune’ playing at the prestigious Three sisters venue which was simultaneously reviewed as ‘The most fun show in the whole venue’ and ‘The worst 5 minutes of my life’ by someone who identified as Fiona.

There is a couple of reasons for my break from the website: Firstly I changed up what I do and spent a while finding my voice rebranding myself as an improviser solo comic clown act which has been equally freeing and constricting. It is freeing in it allows me to be much more creative than I feel i was in my previous output. But restricting in terms of clear direction in an industry that wants to pigeon hole you in order to market you in a stand up dominated industry.

Myself in clown makeup
Part of my experiments with clowning and street theatre and busking.

Secondly I went to university to do a masters in contemporary performance practice at Salford university which partly inspired my change of direction. Learning of the craft of performance in more specific and investigatory ways has allowed me to create work in exciting ways which I am excited about.

A further thing that I would say is that as part of my research I found links between comic performance and my own mental health. This has set me to approach comedy in a much different way as I think that it is no coincidence that the trope of the sad clown is so prevalent in pop culture especially after the suicide of Robin Williams proclaimed by some to be the funniest man to have ever lived. I feel I am still on this journey and am hoping to eventually study a PhD that investigates this link and hopefully will go on to inform mental health in the comic arts and in parallel comic arts in mental health.*

A further thing that came from my study of contemporary theatre allowed me to more effectively collaborate and create collaborative work. Something which I think my previous direction as a stand up comic made my mindset much harder to overcome creative logistical blocks. My latest thing I have been working on is an online travel series called ‘Tom visits…’ on youtube.

 

*if you are interested in reading any of the research from my masters I have published lots of articles and portfolios on macpptomshort.wordpress.com and have some upcoming articles to be published for the academic journal ‘Comedy studies’ in association with my academic collaborator and mentor Dr Ian Wilkie.

Creme Caramel

If I had a drug of choice, I’d have to say Creme caramel is a top runner, after heroin and self loathing. No other item on my shopping list rarely makes it past the door more than a 6 pack of creme caramels, they come in 6 pack presumably because if it was less no ones house would ever know what a creme caramel looks like beyond the empty packaging. I’m fully aware of how I look eating them too. It’s like if a fish could use a spoon. You’d think I’d buy the best ones given how much i like them but no! The crapper the quality the better. Sure I could buy them for over a pound but why would i when I can get them and on the ingredients list I’m sure one of them is diabetes.

Just looking at that makes me want to inject it
Theres an episode of Sabrina the teenage witch where its claimed everybody likes them. I’ve never met a single other person who likes them. I’m surprised that places bother selling them. They don’t look sexy as foods go. They’re no Cheese cake. They look like brain parasites. Maybe thats what they are.. Oh god I’ve found out their terrible secret. Theyve taken over my body. No one else make my mista… EVERYTHING IS FINE.
CREME CARAMELS ARE NOT TRYING TO TAKE OVER YOUR BRAIN. BUY CREME CARAMELS.

Writers block

In continuing from yesterdays blog, I know, I updated it for once! That’s the power of procrastination for you. And like yesterday, I’m struggling with writers block, and yet here I am typing away my thoughts. I worry that it is that i have too much on, no schedule and a need to constantly be fabulous. On the flip side for the first time in ages I’ve felt able to pay off a little of my credit card, meaning that my credit score will go from ‘kill it with fire’ to ‘at least put it out of it’s misery’. I feel like I’m putting out a lot of content which I think is high quality and I’ve just had a gig at the comedy store. A new idea I’ve had to turn my gigs into vlogs got off to a clunky start last night when I wasnt allowed to, So I’ll have to do it at other venues that want the free advertising of my mum watching a video I have improv’d. I’ve had a cold today and had to take a day off, which was a hard decision to make given that i work my dream of working in a call centre. I feel an immense pressure to always be productive, so i could either do admin or ring 400 people. It sounds like my priveledge coming out when I decry how hard it is but I have a pressure to keep up with the admin and the public front of making up brand new dick jokes.

procrastination

It’s really hard to actually do all the things that go along with being a stand up, I think the junior doctors have got it easy really. They dont have to be on call to make a works do laugh in December time. I think we both rank up there for tiredness and probably being underpaid in 2018. It’s particularly at the beginning, well say beginning more like the middle, I’m at the custard stage of this trifle of a comedy career. I can only hope to eventually get to the cream rather than slip down to the vodka soaked jelly bottom. I have to juggle a day job with the stand up, until recently it was 2 jobs i was doing this with until I was fired, that quiz company will not be the same without me! On my days off I try to keep up with my admin, and by that I don’t mean its all work at home wanking. But lately, it may be the workload but the procrastination has set it, once again not wanking, well maybe some but not enough to get in the way. I’m finding it hard to keep focused through all the emails, no one tells you stand up is like an office job with 20 fun minutes at the end when you start doing it. Although with everyone on the circuit claiming that stand up is over populated with new comedians and gigs drying up maybe a job role quota is a good way of scaring newbies off. And January hasn’t help, it being a quiet month anyway. It’s like a month long version of that week between Christmas and new year.
I have a gig tonight at the world famous comedy store but I’ve not gotten into gig mode. Before i can even do the gig I need to get all my stage gear together. along with the camera to record it for my videos. I want this all to pay off. I can die from a heart attack at 40 from over eating rather than putting out youtube videos and emails if I’m given the go ahead.

Mersey Toll Bridge

I went across the toll bridge, the Mersey toll, I paid £2 for the privilege of driving to Widnes.
I didn’t realise we were charging to go across water these days like it’s 14th century France.
As i passed over and paid £2 I had driven around new roads and road works and was getting frustrated and angry because all I had in my head was this little scouser going: "£2 is a fucking bargain to get to Liverpool, because liverpools fucking boss. I’d pay £2 a day just to live in Liverpool. I won’t pay me council tax though, that’s mine"

Fitness

I’ve been trying to get a little fitter lately. I don’t mind exercising, it’s the dietary changes I don’t like. My love of chicken will constantly be the reason why I am a jiggly mountain. I know when I’m getting fatter because when I’ve got a shaved face the Peter Kay comparisons come in. Not because of my comedy style either. More because we both like garlic bread.
It used to be that my facial hair would stop these comparisons but now I’ve started getting compared to Sam from Game of Thrones. AKA The fat one from Game of Thrones, AKA Literally the only fat one on a show otherwise filled with beautiful specimens of humanity. AKA The only one who once winter comes in Westeros he will be fine as he has a layer of blubber and has the character arc of eventually evolving into a sperm whale.
So I have been going on some jogs, I always get a little bit nervous before a jog, I shower before the jog. I wear a jogging bottoms, and a sports T shirt which even though I feel very uncomfortable I feel like it’s the only time I feel like I’m wearing attire befitting of living in and being from Salford. If only it wasn’t for the constant fear of looking, hot, sweaty, smelly & a constant fear of falling over like a baby I might actually have some street cred.
But then eating fried chicken in the same attire would also achieve that same feeling of fitting in, all I would be missing is 4 kids, an ankle tag and a desire to kick in a bus stop. Achievable goals I’m sure we can all agree.

Angel of The North

Angel of the north. It’s nothing like how I would imagine a northern angel. Well maybe the rust would stay.
Ive not read a passage in the bible about one of gods parthenon that really likes gravy. Not taking shit from the devil. And When she saw Mary she said I’ll put the kettle on, you’d best sit down love.
Satan was an angel, a fallen angel but I doubt it was because of his cloth cap and love of Greggs. Upon being cast down from heaven he said "bloody eck as like" and conspired to take god to tribunal through the union.

Market Research

Yesterday I took part in some market research in the promise of £55. I was sat in a room with 10 other white people talking about white and muslim relations. I had gone along thinking that I was going to be answering questions about soft drinks. It turns out there are only so many race relations questions you can answer with ‘Well, I suppose its a lot like Coke vs. Pepsi’
I’ve done market research before, the last time I did it, I was answering questions about deodorants. I wasn’t planning on doing it. I just got dragged in off the street as if the rep looked at me and thought I looked like I stunk and could use the 45 minute hint.
It was weird as it went on I felt like divisions came in the group as the session went on talking about such a controversial topic. There was one girl who claimed to be an expert on muslim relations because she was friends with one (maybe this will be the new ‘I’ve got a Black/gay/whatever friend’ for the millennials). Another person who said that she worked with a muslim lady and would regularly email her at work.
There was one man who claimed to have a great relations with the muslim community as one of his tenants was a muslim and one woman who claimed that she would love to live next door to a muslim as she has always wanted to get a good curry recipe and Eid would mean free food. So I think we can all move forward so long as it makes caucasians fat in some way
There was also a woman who made eloquent points event though she sounded like the broken squeaky penguin from Toy Story 2 which made me nostalgic for the 90s even though back then racial relations were worse back then, which may have defeated the purpose of her intentions.
The phrase ‘they’ was bandied around a lot, as if the muslim community was another entity which is sad to think about. Maybe the propaganda machine truly works. Who knows, all I know is that I should read things a bit closer as my £55 was on a gift card.