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PULL THE OTHER ONE


P T O O C O M E DY - I S S U E O N E T H E J O U R N A L O F P U L L T H E OT H E R O N E C O M E DY C L U B


T ’ N O D D I VAD M OR F D R OW A

A WORD

“PTOO is very special, it’s about celebrating the eccentric, the life affirming, and the positive pleasure of fun. It is a team effort, unlike many comedy clubs where it’s about the individual performance, it belongs to the audience and is a whole that is bigger than the parts - it is supportive. The main act comes second to the evening as a whole and is often not the most memorable part of the night. The fact that a regular team takes part gives it a continuity and consistency, it’s like taking off a conversation from the last time it left off. It’s like one big extended family.”

-David Don’t (Magician)


E N O R E H TO E H T L L U P


P TO O F O U N D E R S

C O N T E N T S PA G E

FIVE.

P T O O C O M E DY

What is Pull The Other One Pulling? T W E N T Y- S E V E N .

T H E G R E AT E S T S H O W O N L E G S

Find out a bit about the past of the founders and their 30+ years experience of the comedy world. T H I R T Y- O N E .

S TA R P R O F I L E A C T

This issue we take a closer look at the indescribable Holly Burn.

* P TO O

FOUNDERS- MARTIN AND VIVIENNE SOAN


P U L L T H E OT H E R O N E

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NEVES


E C N A G AV A R T X E Y T E I R AV YD E M O C

PTOO COMEDY

A crowd sits awkwardly as one of its own is hoisted up onstage, clad in gold tights and made to sing along, somewhat uncomfortably to Queens ‘We Will Rock You’. While comedian Bob Slayer urges him to sing on, proclaiming the sound check needs to continue as the crowd’s empathy is shown the door and they burst into laughter. The gold tights are soon pulled off as his confidence dwindles and embarrassment takes hold of a man now regretting sitting in the front of another night at The Ivy House in Nunhead. For Pull The Other Ones (PTOO) monthly extravaganza of comedy, variety and outright outlandishness of the ridiculous and sublime. Created by comedians Martin and Vivienne Soan just over three years ago, PTOO has brought the likes of Stewart Lee, Boothby Graffoe and Jo Brand to Nunhead over the years, but it’s not just big names that sell out the 150 capacity venue, which will no longer play host to the PTOO team due to its temporary closer.

* CHARMIAN EIGHT

HUGHES


E N O R E H TO E H T L L U P

NINE


C O M E DY VA R I E T Y E X T R A VA G A N C E

* “This club died on its arse for two or three months, it was a really dark period but we all came down here and everyone carried on supporting us, I think the audience were a little concerned whether it was entertainment or not. But now they have been well educated,” explains Time Out Comedy Award winner Martin, “they like the surreal.” Most months sell out as people have grown to love the madness the PTOO team bring to Nunhead on the last Friday of every month. With an avid love of the comedy scene of the 80s, before Martin and Vivienne became parents, they wanted to create something that brought back the essence of alternative comedy and variety “Most stand up comedy shows are a compere and three stand ups, and to be honest as brilliant as they all are, I like to see a bit of madness and surrealism,” says Martin Soan, who learnt his craft alongside lifelong friend, the late Malcolm Hardee.

* DAVID NET

DON’T


P U L L T H E OT H E R O N E

“Me and Viv started off with the idea of wanting to create an evening that we would personally like to go to. It’s a very community based thing, you could go and see a show up the West End, but if you’re a Londoner, it’s just a nightmare, it’s very expensive and it’s a long way,” says Martin. Local resident Jay Carver was shocked to discover the closure of The Ivy House, “We have come to the Ivy before, we know that it’s always a great night. “We have got to try and maintain it for the community if that means we have got to get together and raise awareness and try and get investors in to help make it stay then that’s what we have got to do,” says Jay. Vivienne, who comperes the night under the alias Pierrette S’Cobaz explained the premise of the evening and what makes this night so unlike anything you’ll catch down at the Comedy Store in Soho: “It is a platform for talent, and it doesn’t have to be young. But it’s for talent that need to experiment but can’t in the normal stand up comedy gigs.”

NEVELE


E C N A G AV A R T X E Y T E I R AV YD E M O C

* * PIERRETTE T W E LV E

S’COBAZ


E N O R E H TO E H T L L U P

* THE

IVY HOUSE OUTSIDE


C O M E DY VA R I E T Y E X T R A VA G A N C E

* THE

IVY HOUSE INSIDE


* HANDMADE

* DOOR

GIRL

* STEFANO

LABONI

FOOD


* THE

* P TO O

AUDIENCE

ADVERTISING

* DJ

R AT S M I L K & GO DIDDLEY


E N O R E H TO E H T L L U P

With the rich history of the 80s experimental comedy scene still fresh in their minds, PTOO have created what they describe as a nurturing environment. “There’s a particular way of nurturing acts with, for example very short sets, we say no more than three minutes and it’s a good way for people to hone their acts,” says Vivienne. “Also so the audience are happy because they know they’re not going to be there for hours if they don’t like it.” One of these talents is the ridiculous and absolutely indescribable Holly Burn, who has developed her performance for over a year now on the PTOO stage. “It’s not easy for somebody like Holly who’s a very particular act, she’s very surreal, she’s magical really. A lot of venues are not set up to receive her and in this venue they are and they really love her,” says Vivienne. Jo Brand, who performed what was unfortunately the last night at The Ivy House was delighted to be there, “I think comedy is so commercial these days, you’ve got the big hitters like Michael McIntyre who just tour around these massive stadiums and do loads of telly and it’s nice to know there’s a bit of subversive old bollocks still going on on the ground, I’m very pleased by that,” she says. “I’ll come down in a tutu next time and do some opera so I fit in.”

SEVENTEEN


C O M E DY VA R I E T Y E X T R A VA G A N C E

*

*

*

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*

* * GEORGE NEETHGIE

K E E L E R , J O B R A N D & D O C TO R B R OW N


P U L L T H E OT H E R O N E

E N O -Y T N E W T


E C N A G AV A R T X E Y T E I R AV YD E M O C

“I’LL COME DOWN IN A TUTU NEXT TIME AND DO SOME OPERA SO I FIT IN!” Jo Brand

T W E N T Y- T W O


*


* AUDIENCE

M E M B E R , D O C TO R B R OW N & M A RT I N S OA N


E N O R E H TO E H T L L U P

Fellow comedian Dominic Holland still found himself intimidated on his second trip to the Ivy House solely down to what he described as the sheer weirdness of the room. “The audience here give you a broad licence. It’s a very experimental room and it’s a welcome addition to the circuit because the circuit is all the same, it’s just four comics, mostly blokes, one after another. Bang, bang, bang and this is slightly different. “I’ve known them for so long and I’m very affectionate about the old days of comedy. Comics have a massive affinity with each other, it’s a very hard thing to do for a living. But amongst comics, because we all know how hard it is, there’s a real sense of congeniality and if an old guy off the circuit like Martin Soan, who I used to introduce when I was a young comic asks me to do a gig I’m always likely to try and do it for him,” explains Dominic. T W E N T Y- T H R E E


C O M E DY VA R I E T Y E X T R A VA G A N C E

* * DOMINIC R U O F -Y T N E W T

HOLLAND


P U L L T H E OT H E R O N E

* EVIF- YTNEWT


E C N A G AV A R T X E Y T E I R AV YD E M O C

With support from some of the greatest comics on the circuit, the closure of The Ivy House doesn’t look to be stopping Martin and Vivienne. “We had to move out of here for a time so we went to other spaces and I built sets and what we have tried to do in these other spaces is re-create this atmosphere, which we have done two or three times now in other places and we have made that a success,” says Martin. Vivienne added: “We have created the blueprint of what we want and the aim is to take it around, we have already been up to Macclesfield twice and sold out their town hall and we’re setting up something down in Hampshire now as well with a festival.” With the determination and drive from the team and great support from the community it won’t be long until PTOO sets up shop and sells out more venues, where ever that may be.

* D O C TO R T W E N T Y- S I X

BROWN


* CONNOR

O’BRIEN INTERVIEWING MARTIN SOAN .


N E V E S -Y T N E W T

‘Excuse me sir, is this your car?’”

them. Malcolm then went over straight away, lent down and said

over onto its fucking bonnet, slid along the road and stopped in front of

side of the road. Then a police car came around the corner, lost it, turned

way system in Greenwich, really, really fast and went over onto the wrong

of Up the Creek and there was a car that came round the corner on the one

“Once there was this time when Malcolm and Simon Munnery came out

THE GREATEST SHOW ON LEGS

P U L L T H E OT H E R O N E


S G E L N O W O H S T S E TA E R G E H T

Martin Soan tells one of the countless mad and ridiculous stories that make up the life of Malcolm Hardee, the comedian, manager, club owner and altogether outrageous character that the comedy world will never forget. “The stories, there’s millions of them, I wouldn’t know where to start. We started off together, we learnt our craft together and we were really good mates, and I just couldn’t believe how surreal our lives got, it’s all true,” says Martin, who originally created The Greatest Show on Legs as a one man Punch and Judy act. As a comedian, Malcolm joined The Greatest Show on Legs which made a regular appearance at The Comedy Store in Soho when it opened in 1979. As well as performing with Martin, Malcolm also made regular appearances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where in 1982 he drove a tractor, completely naked, through a neighbouring stage after becoming annoyed at the amount of noise coming from it. Another famous story shared by Jo Brand from the Fringe was when Malcolm received a bad review from a journalist who he had spotted one evening at his show, he then called this journalist up on stage requesting a volunteer, and after kindly asking the gentlemen to hold a plank of wood, kicked him in the bollocks. One of the most documented tales formed the title of Hardee’s autobiography, written by John Flemming entitled ‘I Stole Freddie Mercury’s Birthday Cake’. This saga unfolded in 1986 when Malcolm and Martin stole the £4,000 birthday cake from Freddie Mercury’s 40th birthday which the duo then donated to a local nursing home, before the police had a chance to even find the crumbs of what made up one of the most famous anecdotes of Hardee’s career.

T W E N T Y- E I G H T


P U L L T H E OT H E R O N E

Malcolm was not just a comic, but a club owner who influenced and nurtured some of today’s most prominent comics. “Malcolm would allow anybody up on stage, absolutely anybody because there is a great enjoyment from the audience for failing,” remarks Martin. “To see someone die on their arse for a lot of audiences is not entertaining. It’s very, very interesting so Malcolm would let anybody on the stage and he was very brutal but honest.” Malcolm opened The Tunnel Club in South East London in 1984 which saw the likes of Alan Davies, Harry Enfield, Harry Hill, Paul Merton, Vic Reeves, Frank Skinner, Johnny Vegas and Jo Brand take to the stage. Acts were more often than not introduced onto stage with a few sharp words from Hardee. “This next act’s probably a bit shit,” he would declare to the audience in attendance. He and Martin grew up with the outlook that anybody could be a genius, and when these acts left the stage at The Tunnel Club they were always met with words of guidance from Malcolm. After The Tunnel Club closed in 1988 Malcolm opened Up The Creek in Greenwich, South East London in 1991. However, Malcolm sold his percentage of the club off in 2001 to open his own floating pub, The Wibbley Wobbley on the River Thames. And it was here that the comedy world lost a true character and legend. Sadly Malcolm was found drowned on February 2 2005 in Greenland Dock where the Wibbley Wobbley was moored, thought to have fallen in while trying to make his way home to his house boat located just fifteen yards away. Although he is no longer with us, the comedy world will never forget Malcolm.

E N I N -Y T N E W T


S G E L N O W O H S T S E TA E R G E H T

The last night at the Ivy House for Pull The Other One quite fittingly fell on the anniversary weekend of Malcolm’s passing and reflected the whole premise of his career, which after spending some time in prison – an experience he said was rather like mime or juggling; a complete waste of time - ironically was something people believed would keep him out of trouble. Martin Soan paved a way for him into show business where to this day their ideals live on, to give talent, young or old a chance to get up on stage, even if they are “shit”. “I think the effect Malcolm had on people was that they found him very funny and very generous in lots and lots of ways. If he came up and told you a story it would invariably be true, whereas most people elaborate. He just was out there in every possible sense of the word,” concludes Martin. The words of praise and admiration for this man don’t seem adequate enough to sum up his life. To read through the endless anecdotes or reminisce with people like Martin come somewhat closer to capturing his years. However, to be in the audience of Pull The Other One, which transports you back to an 80s scene of surrealist mayhem seems to capture the essence of what this man believed in. A man, whose legacy will live on within comedy clubs around the UK for many years to come.

THIRTY


O W T -Y T R I H T

and take to the stage with some of the UK’s biggest comedians.

glowing critical acclaim, as well as opportunities to perform at Edinburgh

family. Her erratic, whimsical and hilarious performances have led to

since 2009 and has firmly stamped her mark as a member of the PTOO

Comedienne Holly Burn has been performing at Pull The Other One

HOLLY BURN

P U L L T H E OT H E R O N E


T H I R T Y- T H R E E

curve. At that time I didn’t really know what I wanted or what sort of

Edinburgh festival, with her one woman show. ‘It was a steep learning

was her forte and in 2007 brought her first comedy performance to the

embarked on an acting career she soon realised that comedy

went onto study at drama school, but while she

moved to London to study English at Kings College. She then later

After leaving her home city of Newcastle at the age of 18, Holly

and completely unpredictable.

evident why the audience seemed shy. She’s erratic, impulsive

an audience member a packet of Skips crisps it’s

of a man who lived in a shoe from her perch on a table, while feeding

to avoid being the subject of Holly’s act. As she begins to tell the story

It’s at this point you realise the audience in attendance are trying

shift in their seats, avoiding eye contact with her.

Other One (PTOO) crowd seemed to

out onto the Ivy House stage, the Pull The

As comedienne and surrealist Holly Burn stepped

be on stage in some capacity.”

I’ve performed all my life, I’ve always wanted to perform and

and getting laughs from it.

exhibition of myself in front of lots of people

happen,” says Holly Burn. “I also like making an

“Comedy is about explosions and I love making explosions

E N O R E H TO E H T L L U P


R U O F -Y T R I H T

is being aired in April, in line with the royal wedding. This move in the

She has also just finished filming for a BBC Comedy online show which

performing on a new BBC Radio sketch show.

Mortimer, so now spends her time writing and

Holly recently won a place on a BBC scheme launched by Bob

that she planted in the audience before simply running away.

Ending in her wrestling an individual

kitchen to letting off fireworks in the shower.

audience went from throwing raw meat at her in the

ensued was a series of events played out in various rooms, where the

‘lodger’ outside and soon discovered Holly in bed asleep. What then

a flat she had rented in the city. Performers were met by her

Most notably because it was performed from inside

ambitious shows to date in Edinburgh.

‘At Home With Holly’ was one of her most

truthful and personal - discovering what is specifically funny about me.”

to do what I find funny and find my own ‘clown’, making it very

that Holly really developed her performance.“He taught me

L’ecole Philippe Gaulier clown school

studying with clown Philippe Gaulier of

to Edinburgh a further three times. It was after

act I wanted to be,” says Holly, who took her show back

H O L LY B U R N


P U L L T H E OT H E R O N E

direction of television and radio means she’ll be missing Edinburgh this year; however you can still catch her with the PTOO team every month. It was in 2009 when Holly joined Vivienne and Martin Soan at PTOO, after being recommended it by her friend and PTOO regular Dr Brown. “It has helped me enormously. Viv and Martin and the whole team are inspirations, wonderful mentors and supporters,” says Holly. “It has given me a home within the comedy world to which I feel happy to perform stuff that would be frowned upon in other clubs. There’s always a supportive, creative buzz and Viv and Martin are such generous, humble wonderful hosts.” When Holly disembarks from the table and makes her way backstage, with her packet of Skips empty and tall tale told, you can sense real warmth in the room from a crowd that have grown to love her performances each month. It’s this stage that offers her an opportunity to experiment and try out new material in front of a crowd that have been schooled in the art of surrealism. “What they have created with PTOO is magnificent and so different from anything else that exists. “They book acts I admire and I learn such a lot from everyone around me every time I’m here. Whenever I’ve doubted what I do or why I’m doing it Viv and Martin are always encouraging and remind me I’m doing the right thing. I’m very lucky they give me so many opportunities and have been very kind to me.” Like any performer, especially one who is so surreal, and a world away from your average stand up comedian, Holly has had her fair share of deaths up on the stage. Although unlike your typical performer she sees this as a positive. E V I F -Y T R I H T


N R U B YL L O H

“It helps you become a better performer. It strengthens your will, ability and gives you the tenacity to continue. “I love having fun and mucking about, and making other people laugh while doing this is the most exhilarating thing,” Holly concludes. “I love the freedom comedy gives you, you can go anywhere with it - it’s very liberating and so exciting to know you can create anything you want to - you are only limited by your imagination and this makes it thrilling.” When Holly finally disappears behind the curtain, the crowd are left to nudge their neighbour and acknowledge eachothers bewilderment. Pondering what they have just witnessed, they are unable to stop themselves from giggling at the man in the centre of the room who has just been fed a full pack of crisps. While he simply looks around in slight bemusement, very much unable to keep a straight face. www.hollyburn.org.uk

T H I R T Y- S I X


P T O O C O M E DY - I S S U E O N E T H E J O U R N A L O F P U L L T H E OT H E R O N E C O M E DY C L U B

WORDS

Connor O’Brien twitter.com/Connor_O_Brien connor.mg.obrien@gmail.com P H OTO G R A P H Y

Hayley Nia Thomas hayleyniathomas@hotmail.co.uk D E S I G N A N D A RT D I R E C T I O N

Sydney Soan www.sydneysoan.co.uk hello@sydneysoan.co.uk TYPOGRAPHY

Set in Gill Sans, and Georgia. PRINTING

R. Booths, Penryn THANKS

Stacy Kaur, Christopher Woods, Claire Ling, Clare Hardee, John Flemming, David Williams, Jenny Metcalfe, Sandra Mc Vann, Tony Green, Jody VandenBurg, Joshua J.J. Green, Ron Dunning, Chris & Ruth Knibbs.


comedyarts@gmail.com www.ptoocomedy.com All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means mechanical or otherwise, without prior permission. All texts and images copyright to the authors and artists.


ROY BROOKS - THE RELATI *

* Original Ad and illustration from the paperback ‘Brothel In Pimlico’.


ATIONSHIP WITH COMEDY The relationship between Roy Brooks Estate Agency and comedy is a long one. Established 75 years ago, Roy Brooks achieved national fame during the 1960’s and 70’s with hilariously witty and honest property advertisements:

WILL NO ONE BUY THIS POOR OLD HOUSE?

WE HAVE A RATHER REPULSIVE OLD MAN

Empty, miserable & racked by the district trains

who with his child wife, are looking for an

that pass at the end of its tiny, overgrown garden...

elegant Town res. pref Belgravia…Price not important but must be realistic as he has, at least, his head screwed on the right way.

Aired in The Sunday Times and The Observer, these ads so fueled sales of the papers, it is rumoured they gave him free copy. Today, you will still find Roy Brooks property write-ups top the bill. With only two lines and a single photo on a web listing to draw the browser in, words have never been so important and every detail counts! Staffed by a fine team of mature people who have around 130 years’ property market experience between them! They love working together and all have a passion for property, for sales and for service with a sense of humour.

PTOO Audience Offer! Call to get a Free Market appraisal 020 8299 3021 Appoint Roy Brooks to sell or let your home, and you will receive four free tickets to any performance of PTOO.


“Pull The Other One!” “No, Really!” “You mean you’ve got Roy Brooks estate agent selling tickets for you?” “That’s what I said!” “You mean one of those squalid little outfits that litters the pavements with their board graffiti, disgraces the streets with their loud car livery, pens some bunkum about peoples’ houses, slaps it on the net, then rips them off for thousands of pounds when they sell it having done absolutely nothing for their money is actually selling PTOO tickets for you? Why?” “Because as a matter of fact, they do what they say on the wrapper: write wickedly wonderful details, use wizard photographers, provide regular communication and achieve top prices, and still have the good grace and time to help a growing comic enterprise out!”

Show tickets for all performances available from Roy Brooks Estate Agent in East Dulwich *

For Property Sales or Lettings services phone 020 8299 3021 to get hold of that squalid little outfit! * Regrettably tickets cannot be reserved but must be paid for in cash in person.


Pull The Other One