Comedy Cinema

 

 

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The Peckham warehouse where edgy Royal Court productions alternate with club nights is also home to a regular evening of bite-sized comedy films, the brainchild of London-based short film-maker Adam McNicol, animator Tom Rourke and actor-cum-marketing man Zar Salih. The two-and-a-half-hour event starts with experimental pieces by new writers/directors (including  TV presenter Rick Edwards) before moving on to shorts from established film-makers, such as the Blaine Brothers (who edited Bad Education).

“We open submissions [via brainwrapcomedy.com] with a deadline a week ahead of each event and try to select films with that special something. But we also search out things we like that will fit the night,” says McNicol.

Acts such as Joe Wilkinson (Him & Her, Robert’s Webb) and Diane Morgan (Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe), who together add up to sketch group Two Episodes of Mash, have screened their shorts at past events. And comedians can often be spotted watching their films with the crowd, monitoring audience reactions before ideas are pitched for television.

Where? Bussey Building, SE15.

When? Next date is March 21; 8pm; £5 on the door (brainwrapcomedy.com).

What’s the joke? bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00y490d;youtube.com/IronFProductions

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There’s a great swathe of south-east London that is something of a decent comedy desert, but a a couple of new nights are trying to do something about that. Next week we’ll hear from the team who are bringing some fresh live comedy to Peckham, but first up we hear from comedy shorts night, Brain Wrap. Once a month at Peckham’s Bussey Building, the team (namecheck o’clock: Adam McNicol, Tom Rourke, Bryony Rumble, Stefan Jakubowski and Zardusht Salih) show works from people like 0507 makers the Blaine Brothers and young guns Turtle Canyon.

They’re many of the sort of things we include in our weekly video round-up (this week’s here) so you know what to expect.

We asked Adam a few questions about what the thinking was behind developing the night.

So, Adam, what was the thinking behind developing the night?
I used to be a projectionist and work at a comedy club so was drawn to comedy shorts and really wanted to create an atmosphere where everyone could enjoy them together either with beers or just tea and cake.
Are any of you film makers yourselves?
Me and Tom run a short film company called Invisible Man Films and we’ve just been shown in the London Short Film Festival 2013. Tom’s main thing is animation and he’s done some great work for the BBC. Bryony is a props designer and puppeteer so that comes in really handy for the films and she makes all the silicone brains for the event. Stefan dj’s the night but he’s also hilarious so we like to put him in as many films as possible. Zar our marketing man is also doing some comedy acting at the moment.
Describe how an average evening of Brain Wrap comedy happens.
We like to separate the night into different sections: starters, main courses and desserts. Starters are usually experiments or films with a special something. Main courses is made up of more established work, and for desserts we have a raffle and sometimes a Q&A with an actor or director or comedian who’s been involved in the night.
How is the Bussey’s art studenty audience taking to the films?
We’ve had great feedback and some really nice reviews. We got described as ”a little piece of Shoreditch hidden in Peckham” which I hope is a compliment. We’ve also had loads of submissions and everyone’s been really supportive. We’ve also had loads of support from local businesses who have been great in giving us prizes for our raffle.
What’s the film you’re most proud to have screened so far?
I wouldn’t say there’s been a particular one but we have shown amazing work from sketch group Two Episodes of Mash, director Sami Abusamra and the Blaine Brothers.
You get through a lot of films in one evening. How healthy is the supply of new material for you?
Very healthily indeed. We’re always on the lookout for new films and people have been so generous in letting us show their work. We also make quite a bit of stuff exclusively for the night to make sure that even hardcore comedy fans will see something new.
wygsyo

Last night I dragged my friend O to a comedy shorts night called Brainwrap Comedy Cinema in Peckham (Perfect location, eh, as you need a sense of humour if you’re going to live in Peckham ha ha ha…anyway.) Since being made redundant last month, I have been paying a lot more attention to my love of comedy. I started going to improv classes (Tina Fey started out doing improv, so…) and comedy nights and will be starting a course in comedy sketch writing in January because, at the ripe old age of 27 it’s time that I did something I enjoy: combining my love of writing and comedy. Plus, y’know, YOLO (Ugh, sorry I hate myself for writing that.)

Anyway, one night after a class, a dude called Stefan starting talking about this night he and his friends were putting together, and I took a flyer out of politeness. On closer inspection (looking it up on facebook) it seemed cool so I mentioned it to O and off we went.
The CLF Art Cafe is a tiny piece of Shoreditch slap bang in the middle of Peckham Rye High Street. You turn off the street into a little doorway next to closed down bookshops, walk through a walkway decorated with posters asking you to be quiet, into a courtyard with graffitid images of rats and snakes painted all around the walls. We went up one floor and were welcomed by smiley women into a dimly let, very atmospheric space with an cool eclectic mix of music playing (bravo DJ Stefan) and cakes and pastries displayed temptingly on the bar. We got our reasonably priced replenishments (a spinach pastry and bottle of Merlot. Classy) and sat ourselves down in wait to be entertained.
The programme, set out like a menu displayed the playlist – 16 videos as Starters, 14 videos for Main Course and a Q&A with creator of a few submissions, Damien Slash as Dessert.
The lights were dimmed, the music was lowered, and the first video, an advert for a cologne called ‘Slob’ – created by duo called Clarkson and Crouch – was played. A carefully constructed send up of any perfume advert you’ve ever seen, Slob is a scent created for men, by men, aimed at men, with its overweight muse staring meaningfully out of a window while thoughtfully rearranging his junk in off-white Y fronts. It was a great start with 20 minutes of animated videos advertising swingers clubs and recruiting for middle aged prostitutes; instructional warning videos by Invisible Man Films, during which a magician setting out to perform a card trick gets his phone stolen or gets shocked by exposed wires to illustrate thoughtful messages providing morals such as ‘Beware of exposed wires’ and ‘Thieves operate in this area’; and a dip into the digital age with a very intense game of Draw Something and a 5 minute argument between a man and Siri over how to correctly pronounce his name, Marek (which is, obviously, pronounced like ‘Marek’.) The first half galloped by and suddenly it was intermission.
The second half was just as random and just a brilliant, with stand out shorts from a group who call themselves Two Episodes of Mash whose comment on the best way to let someone know they’ve been made redundant “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with…’r'”, “Roof of my mouth?” resonated quite well with me; the creators of the Magic sketches, did a wonderful take on the Mike Leigh film ‘Nil By Mouth’ – ‘Cheese by Mouth’ – where we follow a man having a very careful breakdown where he lashed out while trying not to break anything, frustrated at the news that his wife had given the last Dairylea to their son (“ARGH! I WAS GOING TO EAT THAT WITH HALF A TOMATO ON A SLICE OF GRANARY!”). The AnR Guy by Damien Slash stood out (see below. No description necessary) and so I looked forward to learning more about him during the Q&A.
There was a final intermission before the creator of Damien Slash was called up to to the stage to share his thoughts on the night, what inspires his comedy and extensive detail on how he records his sketches – all of which I’d love to share with you, but I can’t find the bit of paper I took notes on so I’ll try to arrange some kind of interview with him and pop it up on here. He is a very funny man.All in all, it was a fun night. Although there was one VERY random video that stood out more for its strangeness than comic value, and the venue had some unfortunately placed columns which although great for impromptu games of hide and seek or if you want to hang a hammock up indoors, did not serve well for people wanting to see the entire screen. However the quality of the majority of submissions was superb, the atmosphere in the venue was light and unpretentious and I’m looking forward to the next offering from these Brainwrap Comedy dudes.

thanks guys!