Archive | RSS feed for this section

Beloved comedian kidnapped by Harry Potter villains

5 May

Fans of comedian popular left wing comedian Eddie Izzard were stunned yesterday as he appeared to be willingly out in public with a self-confessed neo-Conservative[1]. (more…)

How to pretend you’ve seen Sex and the City

4 Aug

Mere mention of the phrase “Manolo Blahnik” make you want to want to hide the Chardonnay out of spite? Here’s how to fake it.

If you think you’ve found your perfect woman, who shares your every passion, only to discover she’s faking Star Wars, don’t be disheartened. She’s doing it out of love and means well.

And the good news is that faking TV and film culture, unlike some things, is something that men and women can both do equally well.

The Sex and the City Movies

The whole Sex and the City extravaganza comprises six series and two films. To avoid even having to think about the films though (which most people would really rather do), here’s a simple line to practice at home:

“You know, I was going to see the film, but first it was sold out, and then I heard it just isn’t as good, and kind of ruins the series – particularly what they do with Charlotte.”

The response will likely comprise half an hour of agreement and deconstruction, which you can happily ignore whilst you think about beer.

“Which One Do You Think I Am?”

If your lady asks you this, there is only one answer: Miranda. She may disagree with you. Her friends may give a different answer, which she accepts. But you are not one of her “girlfriends.” You are a (potential) lover.

To break this down:

Samantha is a strong, independent older woman. She also spends a lot of time naked. If your girl’s friends tell her she’s just like Samantha, they’re telling her she’s feisty and likes to speak her mind. If you tell her that, you’re telling her she’s easy.

Charlotte is a gorgeous, butter-wouldn’t melt nurturer who tries to see the best in everything. Again, if the best friends tell her she’s like Charlotte, they’re telling her she is sweet and lovely. You would be basically telling her you’d expect your supper at six and your shirt had better be ironed.

Carrie: Nobody likes Carrie.

Whereas Miranda is a beautiful, independent woman who holds down a successful career, has her own home and child and eventually marries the doting father. Telling her she’s like Miranda is telling her you know your place.

“Which One Do You Think You Are?”

For the boys, this is a minefield. As the show is about how great women are, most of the men are weak, duplicitous and/or gay.

Never say you’re Big. He may appear, to you, to be the strong one with the money who eventually gets the girl, but you are Wrong. Big is a bad man who does things like smoking and speaking his mind.

Harry, Steve and Smith are all lovely men, but are very much under the thumb. Claiming a similarity might make her smell a rat.

A good bet is probably Aidan. Aidan is sweet and devoted, but also knows how to chop wood, meaning you are not completely emasculating yourself.

If all else fails, just buy the darn Manolos.

How to pretend you’ve seen Star Wars

3 Aug

Star Wars. Staple of buffs, geeks and both. If you are neither, here’s how to cheat.

Trying to impress a Star Wars geek? Can’t be bothered watching hours of very boring sci-fi? Your best bet is not to mention you haven’t seen it, and just follow these simple hints.

Star Wars Episodes I-III

Great news first off – you don’t even need to pretend you’ve seen these three episodes. For the true beginner: Star Wars Episodes 1-3 are not the first three. They are the last three. They are generally accepted to be the bad three. You can quite easily explain not having seen these by adopting a look of disgust:

“I can’t believe you sat through those. I couldn’t face it.”

No one will know you couldn’t face the first three either.

A New Hope

This refers to Episode IV – ie the first film (hope you’re keeping up). However, true fans will never use that phrase. The first film is Star Wars. The subsequent films are Star Wars sequels. Star Wars was renamed A New Hope by director George Lucas, who claimed that was always supposed to be the title. Refer to it only as Star Wars, never A New Hope.

This brings up the next, rather confusing point. George Lucas conceived of the whole idea, and directed and wrote quite a lot of it. You’d think that would make him popular. The interesting thing though, is that most Star Wars fans don’t actually like George Lucas. Throw it a wistful “Ah, George Lucas. If only he actually had talent” and your geek will be cosying up in blissful agreement.

Quotes From Star Wars

Some great quotes to litter in conversation:

“These are not the droids you are looking for.”

Easily adapted to any day-to-day event. For “droids,” substitute crisps, socks, cans of beer.

“You watch your language!”

This one is to be used specifically in response to a series of beeps from any random machine (it refers to R2D2, who “speaks” only in beeps – he is genuinely quite sweet).

“Help me, Obi Wan Kenobi [/Sam/Ashley], you’re my only hope” Combine with a girlish request for help opening a jam jar.

Girl It Up

For a touch of authenticity, you don’t have to pretend you loved the light sabres and fighting. Pick out other things that you enjoyed. You’ll be mocked for it, but no one will guess you haven’t really seen it. Try the following lines:

“My favourite is R2D2, he’s so cute.”


“You know, the feminist credentials really go down as you go through the films. Princess Leia starts off as this, strong independent woman and by the end they’ve got her in a gold bikini.”

Don’t try and pretend you fancy Luke Skywalker (the main character, played by Mark Hamill). They’ll smell a rat – he’s not an attractive man. If you have to go down that route, you could feign a crush on Han Solo (Harrison Ford, the early years). There’s a real dearth of attractive men in those films, though, so you might be flogging a dead horse here.

Princess Leia in a Gold Bikini

The above rule does not apply to attractive women. Dress like Princess Leia in a gold bikini and your intended won’t care if you’ve never even set foot in a cinema.

First published online for Suite 101

Laugh them into Bed

27 Jan

Lizzie Cass-Maran explains why the comedy club is the perfect place for a first date.

First dates are crucial. You want to get to know each other in a relaxed atmosphere, without the pressure to be romantic. You want to have fun together and avoid awkward silences. You want a few drinks to settle your nerves, but not so many you forget your date’s name. You want to have plenty to talk about, but time to talk about it. Most of all, you want to get laid. Dinner and a movie? Passé. Follow my simple guide and find out why a night of comedy is the perfect plan.

So what’s so great about comedy?

The general format of a comedy gig is: ‘drinking, comedy, more drinking, more comedy, drinking, more comedy, drinking.’ This is the perfect format for a date. The entertainment comes in short bursts and gets you laughing right away, which instantly calms you down and lowers your defences. Drinking is expected, but rounds at the bar are nicely spaced to avoid paralysis. During the break, you find instantly that you have plenty to talk about – discuss who you found funnier and why, and let the acts’ material sneakily segue you into talking about your own life. And you know what comedians talk about a lot? Sex. Perfect way to bring up the subject. Once you’ve laughed about it, doing it will be so much more relaxed.

What if they pick on me?

Contrary to popular belief, the main objective of your average comedian is not to make the audience members feel bad about themselves. The point of talking to the audience is to bond with them, personalise material and create a unique experience. Studies show that sharing laughter speeds up the bonding process as well as sending feel-good hormones careening through your body. This isn’t just good for the comedian, it’s good for you too. You’re bonding as a room, but you’re also bonding as a couple. If the act does mock your dodgy glasses, go with it. Being able to laugh at yourself is very sexy. And as you’ve been bonding so well, this mockery will stir up defensive feelings in your date and leave them quietly thinking about how actually, those glasses make you look kinda cute. The only time comedians are likely to be genuinely vicious is to silence someone who is behaving like a cock. If you behave like a cock, you may be made to look like a cock. So don’t behave like a cock (see above re: not drinking too much). This advice is pretty much good for all first dates, all comedy club experiences and also anything else ever.

What if it isn’t funny? What if we have different ideas of what is funny?

The problem with comedy is that the only way to practise is to do it. My advice for a delicate situation like this is to stay away from new act nights and go to an established gig with experienced comedians (normally the weekend shows). You’ll see an array of quality acts and there’ll be something for everyone. If you do discover that the two of you have radically different senses of humour, then I’m afraid the relationship is pretty much doomed to failure. If the relationship is doomed to failure, knowing this on the first date can save a lot of time.

And the getting laid?

You’ve shared laughter and maybe a little light humiliation and are feeling like you’ve known each other for years. You feel relaxed, happy, and just the right amount of drunk. Do you really need to ask?

First published online for The Skinny