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Darren Jeffries and Matt Littler's Stand-Up Comedy Diaries: Part 2

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There's nothing we like to see more at Digital Spy than celebrities being forced to do silly things. So when Matt Littler and Darren Jeffries (Max & OB from Hollyoaks) put themselves forward to perform a stand-up set at Dave's Leicester Comedy Festival, we signed them up without hesitation.

Find out how the cheeky duo are getting along by reading the latest instalment of their comedy diaries:

Matt Littler, Darren Jeffries

© PA Images / Yui Mok/PA Archive



Digital Spy Diary 2: Matt Littler
By now you all know the situation. Me and my man-wife Darren Jeffries are attempting stand-up at Dave's Leicester Comedy Festival, but there's a problem. We ain't comedians. A few sessions in now, and our main teacher Marc Blake has somehow squeezed and skewed us into a (albeit rough) comedy mould. We have definition. A dynamic. And now comes the tricky part - the material.

Part of the deal was that after Marc had trained us we got a special mentoring session with a proper working comedian. That session is today, and that comedian is Mr Charlie Baker.

Our session with Charlie is great, he's a nice chap, funny and he says he likes our stuff. However it's clear that Darren and I need to make changes... We've previously been nurtured by Marc, like comedy monkeys raised in captivity. And now we're heading out into the jungle, and Charlie's going to kit us out. I hope.

We start cutting a few lines, and changing gags. Charlie is full of comedy energy, brave. He suggests things that we hadn't even considered! At one point we'd like to grab someone out of the audience, to help with our act. When they're on stage, Charlie suggests we blindfold him, why didn't we think of that?! Brings a whole new and amusing dynamic to the routine.

From then the input comes thick and fast, it's clear that he's worked on so many routines over the years... He goes into mic technique (Did you know Morecambe and Wise only used one microphone when performing on the stage?) and has us think up of some pre-prepared heckler comebacks. You were in Hollyoaks lads, he explains - it's going to happen.

He even suggests that we go to an open mic night and try our routine out… A small insane part of my mind likes the idea, if we can run it a couple of times in front of an audience we can get a feel for the material, right? But I look at Darren and he's shaking his head, 'no 'effing way'! Suddenly, our hour with Charlie is up, he's a busy guy, people to make laugh I guess! And so, like a witty superhero, he's gone.

The next day, I take our notes and ideas round to Darren's flat. According to Charlie what we need to do is learn the routine and then almost forget it again. Then we'll come across more natural. I feel about as natural as Jordan's breasts.

We also need an ending, an 'out', a reason to leave the stage. Pretty important. But Charlie said that'll come to us naturally. There's that natural word again.

Handily, Darren's flatmate Rich is in! He's working from home today, quietly listening to our routine as we go over it. It's like having a mini audience, so we decide to treat it like our proposed open mic night. Rich was our exec-producer on a show we presented called Freshly Squeezed, and he's written more scripts than you can shake a stick at, very funny stuff too. Which makes him the perfect soundboard!

We move some furniture around and set to performing our big piece, I'm trying not to remember my lines, while trying to remember my lines (Christ this isn't easy) and the whole thing is made slightly more urgent by the fact that Rich's girlfriend is on the way over, one person watching I can handle, two. No way. I haven't forgotten my script enough for that yet.

He chuckles occasionally. I try not to look over. Is he laughing at us? Or with us? In fact, I'm not even sure which one of those is preferable! He does mutter one piece of advice though. 'You need an ending lads'. He's right. We do."

Matt Littler & Darren Jeffries aka Max & OB


Digital Spy Diary 2 – Darren Jeffries

So, day two of our workshop came and went quite pleasantly! After the initial fear of being massacred by an audience of Leicesterfarians that were expecting some damn serious LOLZ, at this point in the week I'm feeling slightly more confident. And Matt's face has gone from scared to a nice shade of relief.

This is all thanks to Charlie Baker, our second mentor on this harrowing journey through the bowels of stand-up comedy ahead of our performance at Dave's Leicester Comedy Festival. To see just how good Mr Baker really is, watch this:



He's funny isn't he? Darn funny. And after watching that clip before our class with Charlie, you can forgive me for feeling a tiny bit intimidated... Using solid advice from our inital mentor, Marc Blake, me and Matt had put pen to paper. But that was a few days ago, and I'd forgotten half of what he'd taught us before settling down to write. I'd also forgotten to print off a spare copy of the finished product before I left the house that morning. Great. Start. Me.

Thankfully, Matt's looking pleased because Charlie "really likes" what we've done. He even says it's "going to work very nicely"! After our slightly stilted performance, those words came out of his experienced stand-up comedy brain! I don't think he's lying. I relax. Charlie then proceeds to give us some insightful feedback, which I proceed to jot down with a pen that hardly works.

Without giving too much of the show away, Littler had the idea of basing our routine on a self-help class, using a nice slice of audience participation. Matt has always been the idea's man. I usually just take what he does, swap it around, then try and take the credit. And although it's not exactly Eddie Izzard material, we've found ourselves becoming quite fond of our first ever show. It's a funny(ish) baby that we made together! It's the little routine that could!

We thank the comedy Gods. Charlie Baker likes it. And he's an actual comedian! He gets paid for it and everything!

I have to prevent myself from leaping out my seat and high-fiving Matt, Saved By The Bell-style. We thank and say our goodbyes to Charlie, and then enter the lift of the office building we've found ourselves in. We then embarrassingly and enthusiastically high-five each other, Saved By The Bell-style. There's a Karen from accounts in the lift too. She looks a bit bemused."

Dave's Leicester Comedy Festival is running from February 8-24. Tickets are available at www.comedy-festival.co.uk

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