COMEDY WORKSHOPS RETURN TO BLACKPOOLDuring the 1990s, Blackpool Comedian “A.J” Marriot hosted seventeen Comedy Workshops, at which he trained and advised over one hundred comedians. And it’s not just beginners who have benefitted from A.J’s skills, as he has written for such stars as Brian Conley, Gary Wilmot, Russ Abbott, and Bobby Davro.
“A.J” MARRIOT – the oldest ‘new’ comic on the London Comedy Circuit
Now, after an eighteen year break, during which Marriot published five major show business biographies, he is bringing the Comedy Workshops back to Blackpool, to help advise the present-day crop of aspiring comedians, plus experienced ones whose act needs refreshing.
The 18th Blackpool Comedy Workshop is being hosted over three days at the West Coast Rock Café – itself no stranger to comedians and celebrities. The aims of the Comedy Workshops are to attract comedy performers who have, so far, been frustrated that there is nowhere they can go to be taught the skills necessary to get into, and maintain a career as a comedy performer. A.J told us:
I did my apprenticeship in comedy as a Butlins Redcoat. After just two seasons of getting on stage any time of day or night, I left Butlins in November 1974 with over three hours of working material; and, just seven months later, turned full-time professional. Within seven weeks, I was support act to Lulu – doing the whole first half, while Lulu did the second.
These days, a comedian can spend two years and more going around doing open mic’ spots, while just polishing the same 5-12 minute act. So we firmly believe that the knowledge comedians gain from our tuition, will considerably fast-track them. I’m thinking of using the slogan: “We went through the pain – so you don’t have to.”
The Workshops cover all aspects of comedy, at ALL levels. They teach would-be performers how to devise an act and then take their first steps into performing. Amateurs will learn the skills needed to become professionals; and professionals will be taught how to break through the brick wall which most hit a few years into their career. Marriot believes that: “Observing, and mixing with acts of all standards is guaranteed to benefit ANY act, whether first-time beginner or old time pro’.” The whole atmosphere is kept positive, and directed towards motivating those who need to change, re-invent, and/or improve their current act.
One notable success of the earlier Blackpool Workshops is Terry Cotta, who is well-regarded as being one of the top comedians on the Blackpool circuit. His many appearances at the Talk of the Coast are legendary, with his own 1-hour-plus comedy spot, being followed by a further hour of hilarious improv’ with Resident Compere Buddy Lee.
TERRY COTTA – great success story from the Blackpool Comedy Workshops
Terry told us:
When I first approached “A.J” about becoming a comedian, I was a lorry driver, working up to fourteen hours a day. Within a few months of being taken under his wing he had fixed me up with a comedy partner; written us a 30-minute comedy sketch; and booked us into six different theatres. He also got us two radio interviews, and three TV appearances. A short time later, when my partner retired, and after a quick refresher course at one of A.J’s Workshops, I became a full-time professional comedian, and have done nothing but climb the show business ladder ever since.
To acknowledge his gratitude for the early training, Terry Cotta will be doing a Guest Spot at the Comedy Showcase on the last night, just to let the current batch of comedians know that it is possible to go from zero-to-skywards in a very short time.
To book YOUR place on the 18th Blackpool Comedy Workshops (Tue-Thu 10-12th November) go to the website www.comedyworkshops.co.uk OR the Facebook page “Comedy Workshops.” There is currently an “Early Bird” offer of just £150. This covers six themed Workshops; two open mic’ evenings; and a Comedy Showcase featuring past and present comedians from the Workshops. Places are limited.
WHAT THEY SAID
These are typical Testimonials from the wannabees who attended previous Comedy Workshops.
PHIL EVANS (Ammanford)
Just a short note to once again thank you for a very educational, entertaining and rewarding workshop seminar. This is something I would highly recommend for any performer to attend. My only regret is that I did not find out about it sooner. You have a wealth of experience to share, and I only hope that you do a follow up to this course in the near future.
RICHARD D. CROWE (Ottershaw)
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for the Summer Seminar. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but above all it has given me the scope to pursue an entertainment career, which is what I’ve always wanted to do. I feel I’ve learnt a lot in such a small number of days.
You’ve given me some great ideas, and told me things I didn’t know, and I will thoroughly recommend you to anyone else wanting to pursue showbusiness.
JONATHAN SCOTT (Bognor Regis)
I am writing to thank you for your hard work and help during the Summer Seminar. The few short days were very informative and provided plenty for me to think about. Many of the points covered made sense straight away, but some of the detail takes time to soak in and is of use later on, as I am finding out.
It is always difficult to see ourselves as others see us, but rather than giving us strict guidelines to follow, you set the train of thought in motion, so that we could go away and develop our own ideas about the type of act we want to present.
Your observations on comedy are remarkably accurate, and anyone attending your courses can only add to their abilities. I might also mention that I admire your very sensitive approach to your students.
JIMMY STIRLING (Glenrothes)
Thank you for the benefits I received from your very instructive and entertaining comedy workshop, which I attended. The “comedy tips” I picked up during that particular three days have been invaluable in advancing my career to date.
BOBBY DAZZLER (Retford)
Hi A.J. just a short note to let you know how I’m getting along with the act, and also to say thanks to you for a great time on the comedy course. The course, or shall I say yourself, have helped me greatly, and you gave me the lift I needed to develop my act.
JEAN BIRD (Shildon)
Dear “A.J” Thank you for your time with us on a very informative Comedy Workshop. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. The laughs we had together as a gang were priceless.
JOEY JENNINGS (Liverpool)
Dear A.J. This letter is to thank you, and say how much I enjoyed the Workshop. I thought it was a fabulous 4 days, and I learned so much from the course. Thanks again, and I’ll let you know what I am up to.