The Shoe Leather Express

Writing and Comedy from James Harris

Tag: stand-up comedy

City snapshots


A friend wants to move to London.
‘Do you like talking about property?’
‘Well – it’s OK, I guess.’
‘No, but I mean – do you like it?’
‘I suppose.’
‘Do you love it though?’
‘I guess –‘
‘Do you love it above all things? Do you dream of it? Do you burn for it? Do you want to wake up in the night crying property, property, property? Do you want it to haunt your every waking move? Well?’
‘You’re scaring me man…’
‘Do you? Do you? Do you?’
‘Leave me alone!’
‘Come back here! You come back!’


Terry Robinson/Creative Commons/Geograph. Click images to access sources.


After the reading us writers were talking. The successful one spoke.
‘So I’ve been watching all the classics of the genre. Texas Chainsaw, Night of the…’
‘Human Centipede.’
‘Haven’t seen it. It’s the one where they sew people’s faces to each other’s bums, right? Sounds awful. What about you?’
They turned to me.
‘What about me?’
‘Well…’ I thought. ‘I guess my favourite horror film is a movie called Suspiria…’
‘Oh, is it? God, really?’
The successful writer literally arched an eyebrow.
‘Yeah – it is. It’s got my favourite scene in any horror film in it, where the heroine is fleeing an assailant and jumps through a window into a room of barbed wire. Heh.’
‘So,’ another writer said, ‘I’m really excited about the new Star Wars film…’


Nicobobinus/Creative Commons/Photoree.

Nicobobinus/Creative Commons/Photoree.

On the way home I tried to think why the successful writer had reacted like that to my favourite horror film. But I couldn’t, except for imagining that the writer had some idea that a writer had to be catty, had to belittle, to denigrate. But I was too old to be anything other than loving, and knew the only way to approach life was with a big smile and my arms wide open, ready to take it all on. My door had always to be open; I had less time.


Kamal Hamid/Creative Commons/Flickr.

Kamal Hamid/Creative Commons/Flickr.

Yeah, she was at the gig.
The girl?
The one I went on a date with.
Who ghosted you afterwards.
Who ghosted me afterwards, right.
And I think that’s what got into me. You know, I was just determined to be really funny, because she was watching. So I just really launched myself into it, you know; I think I might have overdone it a bit actually, I was a bit frenetic.
Anyway, she just won a competition. Well – she came second actually. So now I’m going to have to win a competition.
Because she did?
But you can’t dedicate your whole career to keeping up with her. I mean, just because she turned you down once.
Why not…
… I mean, just because she ghosted you.
Why not?
I mean it’s not as if you want marriage and children is it.
(A pause).
No, I don’t. Not really.
Then what are you making a fuss about? If you don’t want marriage and children, you’re just messing around.
Yeah. You are right.
I know I’m right.
But she’s really pretty –
So, when are you next performing?


I had a writing year. I leave 2014 with a finished full-length novel, a short screenplay, and a three-part radio play on my hard drive. Good Lord, I even managed to write a few things on this blog. Of course, I’d rather have a radio play awaiting production, a novel accepted by a publisher and a screenplay in the hands of David Gordon Green – but you can’t have everything. Or, frequently, much.

Nonetheless, what I do have is a raft of stand-up gigs booked for the new year. The full list is here with some highlights below.

Jan 13

TNT Comedy
The Vine

Feb 06

Work-in-progress show
Bar 1820, Berlin

Feb 14

The Anti-Slam Valentines Day Special
Hackney Picturehouse Attic

Feb 15

Angel Comedy
Camden Head

April 24

Rome’s Comedy Club
Rome, Italy

April 29

Strictly Stand-Up
Quatsch Comedy Club, Berlin

Further gigs will of course be added. I have a new fifteen minutes for London which I’ll be taking out and developing, and at the end of January/start of Feb I’ll be doing some of my German greatest-hits back in the Vaterland. I’m looking forward to getting on the comedy pony again.

See you on the road.

Various photos 1162

Interview about English comedy in Berlin

My posts on this blog have been non-existent, mainly due to an old-fashioned conventional need to keep the wolf from the door. But my good friend Alan Nothnage recently interviewed me about doing English comedy in Germany and its inherent absurdities, and I’m happy to link to it here.