Comedy Talks: Why I Enjoy Them So Much
And a request for technical help ...
POSTED BY DAVID PIBWORTH ON 30/08/2016 @ 8:00AM
My comedy talks started after I'd done some work with Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, who wrote scripts for Steptoe and Son, Hancock's Half Hour and many other well-loved shows ...
My comedy talks can be to any size of group and usually include a Q&A session at the end.
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I adapted some of the more well-known scripts to the stage, and it resulted in my company representing the scripts that Ray and Alan wrote; to this day that is still in place. If anyone wants to perform their scripts on stage, then they come through our offices in Olney.
I've written some great comedy in my time, and also adapted 'Ripping Yarns' (Michael Palin and Terry Jones) to the stage and produced the first stage show of that one.
I also study comedy, although I don't tend to dissect it. That way madness lies. Some things are funny to some of us and some things aren't, but I love looking at the timing and writing of pretty much all comedy.
So I was asked to go and do a comedy talk locally about the work I'd been involved in, plus what I'd picked up along the way from the many people I'd spoken to. As I collect funny stories anyway, and have been lucky enough to bump into many interesting people along the way, it wasn't too difficult.
I understand that people don't really want a load of facts and figures, what they want is fun, and insight into how shows are made, cast and produced through the eyes of those who were there. There are so many slightly outrageous, eccentric and interesting facts that it's a delight to pass the info on.
"If you're talking about light entertainment, you may as well make the talk light entertainment. A comedy talk needs a lot of humour."
And it's all done very well. I now go all over the country when I'm available. I've split the talks, as you can only cover so much in 45 minutes, which is the average time that people want to listen for. 45 minutes plus a Q and A session seems to work well.
My comedy talks cover the following subjects:
The Golden Age of British Situation Comedy (From Tony Hancock to Basil Fawlty).
The Golden Era of British Variety. (Covering from around Max Miller up to Morecambe and Wise/Tommy Cooper etc).
Laurel and Hardy - Masters of Comedy.
Laurel and Hardy are the only non-British comedians that I cover, and in that talk, Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton score highly too. The reason I include them is that it is they who sparked my interest in comedy in the days that the BBC used to broadcast their films on a Saturday morning in the winter.
"Much is there to be learned from all of those comedy masters and they still inspire young film-makers."
Now then, if you have read this far, then you may be able to help me. I do a powerpoint presentation and I'm looking for a small projector, as I'm just trying to cut down on what I have to carry around.
Many of the venues I attend have their own equipment, but I'm always ready for those places who just don't have those facilities. If there was a way I could just put a memory stick into a projector that would be even better.
I guess I will always have to carry around my laptop but if any of you technical bods can advise that would be good. My thing is comedy, not technology. I'm also pretty hopeless at going into shops and getting info, as I always see people I know and get chatting.
Yesterday I went to John Lewis, who as it turns out don't do projectors, and I ended up buying some socks, which I did need, but all my visits to shops just don't end up achieving the original aim, so I try to avoid them on the whole. So any advice appreciated.
But back to the comedy talks, I now charge £100 plus expenses (if they are out of the area). When I take a gig I always try to make sure that I'm not having to rush off as invariably I get chatting to people afterwards, and I enjoy that part of it.
Some people say that it's too much and others say it's too little, but in the end, I decided that I do it as a sideline and that's what I charge. The after dinner speaking business (a totally different game) is where the big money is if that's what you're after.
Oh, I also usually do some magic tricks at the end as well .... Tommy Cooper Bottles, swallowing a sword etc ... so if you want one of the talks, just contact me via email if possible.
Who knows I may have a new projector by then.
Until next time ...
David is the owner of David Pibworth Productions (DPP) which provide corporate entertainment and also actors for corporate training and development.
Having worked in the Light Entertainment field for many years and produced shows for Al Murray & Joe Pasquale amongst others, David is in a position to advise on well-known comedy and musical acts. DPP also represent Ray Galton and Alan Simpson's scripts which include Hancock's Half Hour and Steptoe and Son.
He is the director of MK Theatre of Comedy who are very well known locally for their stage adaptations of classic comedy scripts such as Fawlty Towers, The Vicar of Dibley, Allo Allo and many others.
He is a long-standing member of Equity and the Directors Guild of Great Britain and has acted in, and directed, many productions over the years, mainly in Light Entertainment, but with occasional forays into Shakespeare etc. Every Christmas he is contracted as an Ugly Sister in Cinderella, currently with 'That's Entertainment' who also use him as a director.
He teaches eccentric magic for The Pauline Quirke Academy and MKTOC also run a youth drama school in Olney from the DPP offices.
David maintains his busy lifestyle is a surefire way to avoid being on any committees. He is married to Julie, and they have one daughter, Esther and live in Clifton Reynes, surrounded by dogs, cats and horses. They live so close to the church that David has instructed his daughter - when he dies and not before - to fire him over the wall from a circus cannon.