Our Cyprus – The Premiere

So last week was the official premiere of Our Cyprus, a short film I acted in which was directed by Alkin Emirali and co-stars Andy Lucas.

Without giving too much away, the film is set in modern-day London and tells the story of two men – a Greek Cypriot and a Turkish Cypriot.  The film looks at what happens when two opposing views collide.

Our Cyprus was part of the Euro Shorts International Film Festival, and was screened along with four other short films.

Anyway, this is what happened…

Before the Screening

I actually got there pretty early as I was meeting a friend, although as you can see from the picture below, the crowds must have known I was going to be in one of the films as the cinema was crazy! Look at them all queuing up around the block!

I’m pretty sure I could even make out a couple of placards saying ‘Angelo is great’ too. If you squint you can probably see them.

(You have to squint quite hard…)

And the adoration didn’t stop there either. I walked away from the cinema to avoid getting mobbed and a couple of fans ‘accidentally’ sat right next to me. Look at them! Shamelessly staring at me!

The fan love was getting too much at this point.

Having that many people grabbing at you and wanting autographs and photos can get quite dizzying, let me tell you.  I nearly went home.

The screening

OK, so all that about being mobbed was obviously nonsense.  Back in, well, reality, the screening itself went really well.

I’ve never watched something I’ve acted in on a cinema screen and with an audience, so it was quite surreal to be honest. I also hadn’t seen the completed film at this point either, so I was watching it for the first time along with everyone else. Fortunately the film was very well received, and a lot of people seemed quite moved by it too.  I won’t spoil anything, but at the end of one scene a lady sitting behind me audibly gasped!

Once all five films had been shown, there was a short Q and A with the directors, and I also made a brief appearance:

After the screening

After the films were all screened and the Q and A had ended, I was of course accosted by all my fans again. For anyone who thinks that being a world-famous celebrity is fun, look at the photo below.

They wouldn’t leave me alone!  Just let me have my drink in peace, people!  I’m just a man!


Our Cyprus will continue to be screened at other film festivals across the UK, and potentially abroad.

The best way to find out about these screenings is by joining the Facebook group, as all updates will be posted there.

My Creative Process Talk on Youtube

Last month, I was fortunate enough to be invited to give a talk at Inspire’d.

It was a really fun evening, and I had a great time both giving the talk – about the creative process – and watching the other speakers too.

Oh, and there was also wine, which is always a nice bonus.

Anyway, click the link above to take a look!


(And I don’t know why I look like I’m strangling someone in the video still either…)


The Artist is a crime thriller set in the world of creativity and the pursuit of fame.  A serial killer forces young actresses into a perverse trade off; they acquire Andy Warhol’s prophesied 15 minutes of fame, but that time will consist of the last desperate moments of their lives…

Click here to find out more



(Very) Quick Internet Lesson #102

If you make a joke about someone on a reality TV show* that you’re watching, they may well see it.

And reply.


I’m just glad I didn’t say anything worse…

*Here in the UK we have a show called First Dates, where people go on blind dates and are filmed to see how they get on.  This particular person on this particular episode got a bit, well, ‘familiar’ with the open bar…

Why I avoid parties…



‘This is Angelo.  He’s a comedian.  You know, stand up.  Like Julian Clary.’

While I’m trying to work out whether or not to be offended, all three of them turn to look at me – the lawyer, the accountant and the admin clerk.   None of them told me what they did for a living, but I heard them trade names and occupations a couple of minutes earlier by way of introduction.  The party’s host (my soon-to-be-ex friend) decided that since I was standing near them she should probably tell them something about me.

By ‘them’ I mean a group of people having a perfectly nice time without me.    And by ‘me’ I mean a person who didn’t want to come to this party, didn’t want to have to speak to anyone, and definitely didn’t want to have to be funny.

The lawyer speaks first. ‘Oh that’s interesting. Go on then.’

Three expectant faces, looking at me.  I’m standing between a pot plant and a locked  window  (I tried it earlier) so running away isn’t an option, unless I  barge through  my three new friends , but I’m pretty sure that’d be considered assault, and as one of them is a lawyer I’m not keen to find out.

‘Um, I don’t really… I don’t really do jokes… I do like, observational things about… stuff.  I do some material about things in the news but not… not jokes.  As such.’

The group looks at me as if I’ve just soiled myself.

The admin clerk looks the most unimpressed.  ‘You don’t tell jokes?  You can’t be very good at stand-up then!’

Laughter all around at my expense: lawyer, admin clerk and accountant.  United in their amusement of silly old me.  I’m pretty sure the pot plant gave a little snigger in my direction too.

‘Sorry, what do you do?  Admin wasn’t it?’

She gives me a suspicious look, like maybe I know too much.

‘Yes… ‘

I take out my phone.

‘Would you be able to sort my text messages into alphabetical order by author please?’

I was wrong earlier.  Now she’s looking at me as if I’ve soiled myself.

The silence hangs in the air just long enough for me to put my phone away and feel pretty pleased with myself.  Angelo 1, Strangers I’ve just met and will probably never see again 0.

The accountant tries to change the subject.  ‘I used to do some acting when I was at uni. I love live performance but it can be pretty stressful can’t it?  I bet stand-up can get pretty difficult?’

I’m quite taken aback by this.  At last, I can have a real conversation about stand up with someone at a party!   Maybe we can actually talk about the stresses of comedy life, the peaks and the troughs, the highs and the lo-

‘You wouldn’t want me in the audience I can tell you.’

And turn and see that this is the lawyer’s contribution to the discussion.   I don’t think he was meaning to be rude, he was just being, well, a lawyer.

‘Why’s that?’ I ask good-naturedly, as though we’re all friends here.

‘Well, I can be pretty sharp when I want to be.  I’d beat you if I was heckling from the audience.  You wouldn’t know what hit you.’

He takes a sip from his drink as though that’s the last word on the subject.  The admin clerk looks really happy.

Before responding, I try to find a tone to my voice that doesn’t sound aggressive.

I don’t.

“Well …  you wouldn’t.  Comedians respond to hecklers all the time, if you think about the practice that goes into doing stand-up, not to mention the fact that comedians are on stage full of adrenali-  ”

‘Wouldn’t matter,’ he says, shaking his head dismissively, ‘I’d beat you.’

Me, trying not to sound aggressive again.  Starting my sentence with one of those half-chuckles that tells everyone I’m taking this really good-naturedly, really, and just happen to be pointing something out that isn’t true, and we’re still all friends here and I’m a good person so nobody judge me harshly.

‘Heh, I think it would matter.  Trust me, it’s very different in a comedy club.  You might not even really want to shout anything out and draw attention to yourself.  It’s quite differen-‘

‘No.  I’d beat you.  I’d definitely win.  I’m a lawyer.’

Another head shake, another sip.   I decide to make fun of him a little bit.  Non-aggression, my arse.

‘Sorry, and what’s being a lawyer got to do with it exactly?  You don’t heckle judges, do you?  You don’t stand there making the jury laugh, surely?  You’re basically just listing bad things about the other guy, or good things about your own.  So it’s not the same, is it?!  Unless you do actually just stand there making jokes the whole time, in which case you might have a point  that you’d be good at heckling, but you’d be a crap lawyer .  And you still wouldn’t beat me.’

I don’t say ‘you jumped up little prick!’ at the end of that sentence.  My tone and general demeanour say it for me.

The silence following my little rant isn’t what you’d call ‘golden’.

I decide at this point there’s basically one of two ways to go – backtrack and keep some dignity, or keep digging. It takes me exactly a fifth of a millisecond to decide.

‘And Little Miss Admin over there.  All this crap about me not being a good comedian cos I didn’t tell you a joke at a party.  It’s not just about telling jokes is it?! Any moron can recite a joke they’ve read in a cracker.  It’s about reading the audience, and honing one-liners and telling well-crafted stories!  It’s about getting out there and perfecting your technique!’

A little audience seems to have built up now, with people looking over to see what’s going on.

The accountant opens his mouth as though he’s going to say something.  I don’t let him.

‘No!  Accountant!  There’s more to it than that.’

I turn to the lawyer.

‘And all this stuff about beating me with a heckle, are you on crack?  How is a lawyer going to beat a comedian at comedy? I didn’t tell you when I met you that I’d be better than you at chasing ambulances, did I?’

Some of the ‘audience’ have started laughing, I’m getting quite into this.

‘Ooohh, I’m a lawyer, I charge people a thousand quid a day to go into court dressed like a tranny.’

More laughter.  Good crowd.  Maybe it was the wiggle I did as I said it.

‘Then I try and get the old guy who sits in a big chair to agree with what I’m saying so that I win, which means I can then charge two thousand quid a day to the next loser who is getting divorced.’

Not as much laughter at that one, but still some.  You’ve got to take what you can get sometimes.

Probably best to stop wiggling now though.

The accountant opens his mouth again.

‘Stop it! Accountant!’

This is my audience, get your own!

‘Ooohhh, admin clerk, oooh, I move paper from one filing cabinet to the other and that means I know about the state of British comedy!’

The accountant wants to say something again.  I pause to let him speak this time, not to be courteous so much as to catch my breath.

‘It’s really going for it!’ he shouts excitedly.

Not quite the heckle I was expecting.  Then I realise he’s looking behind me.

‘What? What’s really… going for…’

Then I realise everyone is looking behind me.

I follow their gazes and turn to look out of the window, very quickly seeing that my audience isn’t my audience at all.  They’re laughing because two dogs are shagging behind me and they can see them through the glass.

I mumble something about being upstaged by a pair of ‘bloody dogs’ and escape.

I don’t go to parties anymore.

Gigs are much less stressful.



A version of this story appeared on the Chortle website in their Correspondents section.  Written by me, obviously, I’m not plagiarising here.  If you’d like to read essentially the same thing all over again but on a different website, you can find it at: 

Celebrities vs Reality…


I recently watched an old man dress up in a leather-look S and M outfit, thrust about in what looked like a strip club and get perilously close to having a heart attack on live TV. Ordinarily this wouldn’t have made me laugh, in fact in any other context I probably would’ve been quite concerned.

But the old guy was a celebrity, you see. So I actually quite enjoyed it.

As with anything I enjoy, I thought I better analyse it to death so as to ensure I never enjoy it again. Which is why this particular programme raised two questions for me:

1. Why do celebrities do this?
2. Why do we watch them?

It’s tempting to suggest that the only reason a celebrity would put themselves through the humiliation of ‘Big Brother’, or ‘I’m a Celebrity…’ or [insert name of latest celebrity reality show here] is for the money. Personally, I don’t buy that as a reason. Yes, I think a lot of the celebrities in these shows have, to put in nicely, ‘fallen on hard times’, but I think there’s more to it than that.

I’ll give you a clue. The word I’m thinking of consist of four letters, and starts with F.

(No, not that word)


As an actor/comedian, I know all about pursuing fame and how all-encompassing that desire can be. And I’m not just talking about the other people I’ve worked with, I’m talking about traits I’ve seen in myself. I even wrote a book about it for crying out loud – a crime thriller called The Artist. In fact, if enough of you go out and buy it, I might even get famou-

Wait a second…

And that bit of shameless self-promotion is, by the way, exactly my point. For some people pursuing fame and the adoration of the masses is hard-wired. Yes, you’re getting your self-worth from what other people do and say to and about you, but when it works, it really works. I’m not going to go so far as to suggest that it’s an actual addiction, but it’s not far off.

(And seriously, if a couple of you could just buy my book, it’d be great…)

Let’s take stand-up comedy as an example. Getting up on stage and making hundreds of people laugh is incredible. Seriously, as experiences go, it’s amazing and pretty hard to top. But then you get off stage, and suddenly you have to participate in ‘life’ again. In difficult, unpredictable, uncontrollable life. Now if someone offered you the chance to live onstage for a few weeks – and also said they’d pay you for it – the question would go from ‘why are you doing this’ to ‘why wouldn’t you’.

In some ways, the second question answers the first – Why do they do it? Because we watch them.

Which still of course leaves the second question unanswered – Why do we watch them? What do we get out of it?

I think there are a number of reasons, but a big part of it is watching people who are richer, better looking, and more successful than us being portrayed as human. They get hungry and tired, just like us. They have to get on with other people, sometimes when they don’t want to, just like us. They’re forced to dress up in PVC and dance around, just like…well, this isn’t about me, so stop judging.

Let’s move on, shall we?

And we don’t just watch these shows in order to see famous people portrayed as real human beings either, we do it to see them humiliated. One of the maxims of slapstick comedy is the higher the status of the ‘victim’, the harder we’ll laugh. A frail old lady falling over isn’t particularly funny, but a young, posturing male strutting down the street and falling over his own feet probably is. It’s the whole clichéd thing about slowing down to get a better look at a road accident, the same reason people gossip about their bosses at work – it makes us feel better about our own lives and the situations we’re in. It comes down to basic human nature. Why bring ourselves up when we can bring others down? It’s easier, and doesn’t require us to do any work.

And that’s why these shows will always exist, because we’ll always want to watch them. And the celebrities know this, and the TV executives know this, and you better believe that the advertisers definitely know this…

Quite simply, if we stopped, so would they.

But we won’t. And so, naturally, they won’t either.

Now, about my book….


The Artist is a crime thriller set in the world of the acting industry.  A serial killer forces young actresses into a perverse trade off; they acquire Andy Warhol’s prophesied 15 minutes of fame, but that time will consist of the last desperate moments of their lives…

Click here to find out more

Fame, me and Angelina Jolie


Not to boast or anything, but Angelina Jolie put her arm around my waist once.

The short version of the story is that I saw her in a shop, asked if I could take a photo with her, told her she was great in ‘Gia’ (still one of the greatest performances by anyone in anything as far as I’m concerned), took the photo, and that was it.

Except that wasn’t quite it, because that short exchange taught me more about fame than I could have imagined.

You see, as I was summoning up the courage to speak to her, it suddenly dawned on me that I wasn’t just about to ask Angelina Jolie for a photo, I was about to have my opinion of her set in stone probably for the rest of my life.

That might sound dramatic, but it’s not. Think about it, what if, say, there’s a particular singer that you like. No, love. You’ve got all their songs, feel like their music is speaking to you, I dunno, maybe you’ve got a tattoo of their face on you somewhere. Ok, now what if you met them and they were rude? What if their behaviour in those few minutes wasn’t what you expected it to be? It would change your opinion of them, and not just going forward either. It’d make you wonder whether they were, at heart, a horrible person and were ever any good at all.

And notice that this is all one-sided by the way. It doesn’t matter how nice a celebrity may be to someone, if that person feels they’ve been slighted, then they’ll spend the rest of their lives mentioning it whenever the person’s name comes up. In short, it’s pretty subjective.

I’m obviously not talking about a famous person spitting in someone’s face or kicking their kid or anything by the way, I’m just talking about a short interaction that maybe wasn’t as earth-shattering as you thought it’d be.

And another odd thing I noticed about my own reaction was, after we took the picture and exchanged a few words, she went right back to browsing the products in the store. To me, that was weird, because surely that’s not what movie stars do. I was expecting something different. Don’t ask me what, because I still don’t know, but it was as if I was waiting for her to do something movie star-y. I was expecting something exceptional from her, a performance of some kind.

And that’s when I realised that, as a famous person, you’re pretty much always going to be both the highlight of someone’s week and at the same time a bit of a disappointment.

Let’s look at, say, Robert De Niro. I’ve watched some of his films over thirty times each, if not more. You could put Taxi Driver on right now, mute the TV, and I’d pretty much be able to recite the film by memory. Same with Heat, The Godfather 2, Casino, Goodfellas, Raging Bull – I could go on but you get the point.

So what if I met him? How could he possibly live up to that back-catalogue? I’d be expecting Travis Bickle or Neil McCauley or Vito Corleone, anything less would be a real disappointment. But, and here’s the rub, even Robert De Niro isn’t Vito Corleone. Nobody is. Expecting a person standing in front of you to somehow be the same as they appear in an edited, polished performance – complete with special effects, dramatic soundtrack and the perfect script no less – is always going to be disappointing.

And so it goes with celebrity.

Not that there’s no merit to meeting the people you admire – I’m still trotting out my Angelina Jolie story all these years later – but it’s good to be mindful that it’s likely the person you meet won’t be the larger-than-life figure you were expecting.

And that nobody really can be.

And, just to reiterate because it’s important this is clear, Angelina Jolie put her arm around my waist and let me put mine around hers.


So, you know, ha.


The Artist is a crime thriller set in the world of the acting industry.  A serial killer forces young actresses into a perverse trade off; they acquire Andy Warhol’s prophesied 15 minutes of fame, but that time will consist of the last desperate moments of their lives…

Click here to find out more