Seriekrock Festival Ume

Last Friday I was lucky enough to go to Umeå, half way up Sweden to perform two shows at the Seriekrock! festival on gender and gender related issues.

It was a great day, with me came Aron Flam, Evelyn Mok, Marja Nyberg, Emma Knyckare and Marcus Johansson. I was really proud to be performing with these comedians, I think they are some of the smartest, edgiest young comedians in Sweden and in a few years when their voices are heard much further, I think the country is going to be way better off for it.

We did two shows and I was the host: The first gig was wild, over 200 people and we had such fun, a wireless mic in a large group of people is my ideal territory. Maybe you heard something about a "controversy" they had at Umeå university in the last weeks, there was a student party held in a Student Union venue, organized by the girls of the Business facility which got a bit out of hand and there were girls dancing on poles and apparently chocolate sauce was licked off someone. Wild stuff huh? However this is PC Sweden and the university cant be seen to be condoning this stuff, never mind there was an equivalent party last year where the men organized the event and paraded around in the underwear and noone seemed to mind then. However when the girls do it, now that’s sexist. Read about it in English here.

The venue for our first performance was THE actual hall where the party happened and with over 200 fun loving students in front of me I went into the crowd to ask peoples opinions and make light of the situation. Gold was struck several minutes in when in my questioning I worked out I had found THE girls who were at the center of the controversy and indeed "chocolate sauce girl" herself. Oh pure gold! We had some very funny moments and while a little embarrassed the girls were all super cool and were into the spirit of the show. I got to speak to them in person after the show and it was interesting to hear their side of the issue and how some idiots in the media got hold of his issue and turned it into something huge when it really was nothing.

The second show was a more cosy intimate affair which suited the later in the evening vibe. I am very happy with how the trip went, that the 6 of us got to have a great adventure for the day and that the students of Umeå got a chance to hear some young fresh comedians who usually couldn’t make it so far north. Also the multi language nature of the event worked really well, I hosted in English and all the other comedians performed in Swedish and it worked totally fine, if nothing else it mixed things up a bit and can help to keep the audience’s attention. This gives me enthusiasm because this week I am doing 3 shows in Finland including hosting one event so we will see how the multi-language hosting thing continues.

What a top day, thanks to Niclas Ledin, Josefin Sundberg, Elisabeth Wallman and all the organizers of Seriekrock for their fantastic organization, we were so well looked after and for a day we felt like rock stars

First Promo Video for the Tartu Comedy Festival

Cultural Learnings Of… The Systembolaget – Older Wiser Perspective

When I first visited Sweden in 2007 I was pretty critical of the state run alcohol store, Systembolaget: a) they don’t have great opening hours and b) its a government monopoly and i hate the man telling me what to do, however in the past 3 years some things have changed a) I learnt to plan my weekends better and b) I came to embrace socialism with my comrades here.

Also, when you think of booze and Sweden the first thought goes to Absolut Vodka and if you are forced to drink a Swedish beer it will be Spendrups or Norrlands Guld. No thank you.

In the last month Ive come to completely embrace the love of SystemBolaget due to one website Beer Sweden run by a passionate beer loving Swedish brewer. If you think Swedish beer is crap this guy will open your eyes, there is a strong microbrewery scene in this country and along with lots of great beers from around the world, The Systembolaget stocks them all.

This is the love I have come to feel for this socialist government run alcohol monopoly. They have the most fabulous range of beers from Sweden and around the world Ive ever seen, available in good stocks and at a decent price. With these things in mind, I don’t care what political system you force me to live under, as long as I am drinking a good brew.

For example, 16 new beers were available at the Systembolaget, so I went down to one of the larger stores near me and picked up a few

A nice set of different beers which cost me 169 SEK which comes to around 25 AUD or 17 EUR

So tonight its a night in and I’ll be sampling these bad boys and writing a few jokes. Good times ahead.

Also, I saw this perennial favorite at the store

hahahahaha. no.

Comedy Tour Of Estonia Preparations

Ive been on a 3 day trip across Estonia to make plans for something really cool, a stand up comedy tour of Estonia we will do in the of April! I am pretty excited by it because as far as I know, this hasnt been done before, many Estonians I speak to are very curious because they have never seen this kind of performance before. Thats awesome and also scarey, will they laugh at what we have to say? Only one way to find out

4 years after 3 idiots in a big white Swedish Volvo accidently rolled into Tartu and discovered the amazing Student Days, we will be performing 2 nights at the festival this year, along with an hour on their main stage. Wow. If you had asked this fool 4 years ago if this would happen he would have laughed and bought you another A. Le. Coq

We will perform the 27th and 28th at Vilde Restaurant in Tartu, thats Tuesday and Wednesday of Student Days. Tickets for the show will be 50 EEK and not only will you see the likes of Joe Eagan from Canada, Phil Schwarzmann from American but we have new comedians Eric Seufert and Stewart Johnson (both USA) and even one Estonian, Andrei Tuch. On TOP of that we will be have a guest appearance by a group of Improvisers who perform in Estonian! Thats going to be wild, English standup and Estonian improv mixed together, that’s culture for you people.

We have also received great help from the organisers of the Student Days Festival, they have got behind us and we are an official festival event which really helps us.

Its the Oscar Wild place, you know with the state of his out front!

Inside the space in Vilde

In Tallinn we will be performing in the new home of comedy in the town, Drink Baar in the Old Town

For one night only on the 29th of April we will perform here this time including Aussie Andrew Meek and another special guest… ie I still have space in this show. Id really like to find another Estonian to perform. I am really keen to hear from Estonian comedians and include them in what we are doing, if you know one please contact me!

The owner of Drink Baar, James Ramsden has really gotten behind our cause and has been a huge help. I think we are going to pack out this bar on the Thursday night. Oh and they have the best Fish and Chips Ive had in years, a credit to get something this good so far from home.

So its all happening people! I am excited because I think Stand up is an important social tool, it gives people an unfiltered voice to speak about whats on their minds in a way radio, tv or print can not do. I really want to encourage Estonian stand up and for them to start to perform in Estonia, I think some dark, weird, very funny shit is going to come from these people.

With luck after the Estonian shows we will head over to Finland and do some night as well.

Its also nice to be back here and meet up with old friends, in Tallinn you will always bump into someone you know and they will probably be thirsty. Tomorrow is Helsinki via Viking Line. Get some, go again.

Come On And Ride The Baltic Queen

Im back on my 27th home, the ferry from Stockholm to Tallinn. This time I am on Tallinks new ferry, the Baltic Queen. It was introduced last year and its basically like the old ones but everything is a little bit different, its enough to keep me amused for one night at least. The couches are nicer, the wifi faster and the food… maybe even better than before. Not that it was on a lofty platform to begin with.

I’m off for a whirlwind tour of Estonia and Finland. We have comedy ideas. Big comedy ideas and I am working with some really talented guys in Tartu and Tallinn on a project for about a months time, its going to be good, more details once Ive worked them out!

Its been too long since Ive been over here, I miss my second home on the other side of the Baltic

Comedy Tour Rolls On

4 shows down and 2 to go on our tour of Sweden and Denmark and its turning into a reall good time, each show is different and the crowds are really interesting.

Standup Downstairs in Uppsala was one of the best gigs we have all the done. The room is one of the best in the country, small, full of good students, good lights and a strong lineup.

Kårhuset in Malmö was fun, it was the first time they had ever had standup in the room and the audience appreciated the show. This night I really started to talk to the audience and we got some great moments from it

The Dubliner in Copenhagen was the premier of English comedy in Denmark and it was a rowdy crowd. I went up first, first time in a new show in a new country to a crowd who were loaded with cheap irish beer. Something got to me that night and I went down in flames. It was fantastic.

Last night at Västgöta Nation in Lund was intimate and lots of fun for everyone. There was about 30 or 40 people there and we all went out there to had fun, Phil had some golden off the cuff moments and I somehow made 15 minutes from a few bits and the rest was talking to the crowd. That was a world of fun and its what I want to do more, its fantastic to connect with the audience and make fun of them.

Tonight is classy Fidels Cocktail bar in Copenhagen and Sunday is Fagans pub in Malmö. Also, the sun has returned. fuck yeah.