After Dinner Speaker / Comedian
Available: Meetings, conferences, After-dinner speaker or Standup Comedian UK-wideSee pdf speaker information
Entertainment for your meeting/after-dinner:
Book a guest after dinner speaker tailored to your audience: other speakers just turn up and do their usual set, perhaps a standard speech with a few token adjustments. I have found this often ends in disappointment. What your audience likes and what the speaker delivers often don't coincide. The speaker may be too blue, to bitty, tell jokes without a theme or do political stream of consciousness material. Or the subject matter may just bore you.Although based in the North East of England, I am flexible to travel to your location UK-wide. Many clients book me as their public speaker through personal recommendation.
I take a different approach: I gather intelligence about the audience (both before and on the day) and tailor what I do to them and their /the organisers needs. The sort of things I take into consideration are:
- How long the speech has to be
- Where the talk has to be on the rude- to-innocent spectrum
- Whether there are specific topics that need to be covered or well-known characters that need to have their legs pulled
- What sort of background the audience has (a medical professional meeting ? a ladies luncheon club? an academic conference? Etc.)
I pride myself on looking at the job through your (the audience's/organisers) eyes
Now here's what it's like from my point of view!
You've probably noticed him yourself. At that BDA dinner. There he is on the top table. He's a bit overweight, what with all those dinners where he's sung for his supper. Then there's the wine. His glass has never been completely empty, so now he's a bit pissed. And his voice carries all the way down to your humble place setting, miles from the top table (you benevolent fund skinflint). He's the life and soul of his crowd, so you can't wait to hear what he's going to say.
The real after-dinner speaker is the fellow sitting next to him. That thin, nervous looking chap. He's hardly eaten a thing all night, picked at his food, refused all alcohol, drunk only water. He has the fixed rictus smile often seen in those aesthetic dentistry adverts. And he sits there, tense as a maxillary expansion spring, waiting for that dreaded opening "And now we come to our guest speaker.....".
Anyone who has ever given an after-dinner speech will know what the poor chap is going through. No matter how good you are, or how many times you have done it, the nerves start weeks before and get worse during the dinner. And there's another reason you go hungry on the night: the gastro-colic reflex.
If ever you get the early morning train from Newcastle to London, try to travel first class in the large buffet section. Here, dozens of our most pampered business folk tuck into the Grill, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, washed down with Champaign. Then, at about Stevenage, one by one, they all start to leave their seats. And the "toilet occupied" lights flash on and off like an old-fashioned neon sign. Â It's the gastro-colic reflex at work. As the theory goes, an influx of very rich food into the stomach causes the large colon to evacuate. Hence the call to stool every morning near Stevenage.The last thing our speaker needs is the gastro-colic reflex just when he stands up to speak.
Eventually, our after-dinner speaker finishes his speech and he sits down. But keep watching him. Over the next few minutes a complete transformation occurs: the stiffness gradually melts away, like wax under a flame; the worry lines disappear faster than you can say "Botox"; his teeth un-clench as his masseter muscles and he starts pecking at leftovers like a born-again vulture. And he'll be as high as a kite for hours yet. Long after the delegates are tucked up in bed and sound asleep, he'll be lying in his hotel bed, wide-eyed and sleepless.
Take pity on him, because, since I retired, it might just be me up there. But don't be too worried about me - it's great fun to do, this after-dinner speaking, reliving all those fun times in my professional life.
Like the time I was revising in the medical school pathology museum. I was just dozing off when a man in black spoke to me out of the gloom: "Your appointment with death awaits you, sir. The other witnesses are expecting you in the mortuary. We mustn't keep them waiting". But far from being frightened, I was relieved, even excited. I hurriedly packed up my revision books and followed him to the mortuary prep room where I joined a small group of people.
Let me explain. My pre-clinical dental course was taught in the main medical school, which was very hot on comparative anatomy: man compared to ape, dental student to sloth, medical student to laughing hyena, and so on. So all around the school were skeletons of every animal imaginable, all except one: the lion. That was about to be remedied.
The nearby zoo had an aging lion that was very old. When the anatomists got wind of this, they offered to dispose of its body free of charge if it was delivered still alive. And now there it was lying unconscious on the floor in the mortuary, surrounded by a circle of us curious onlookers.
But how do you kill a lion without damaging its anatomy? A mallet to the head ruins the skull, an electric shock takes the fur off, and a cheese wire garrotes ruins the anatomy of the neck. So what should we use?
The answer was quite simple, according to some bright spark from the anesthetic department. Give it an overdose of sedative, and what's more, they just happened to have a newly developed sedative, they had buckets of it going spare in the lab, couldn't give it away, he'd pop down and give it a paw full, and bob's your uncle. Powerful sedative, these new benzodiazepines. In humans.
But not cats. Quite the opposite, actually. In cats, this particular drug was a potent stimulant. And we soon found out how potent.
The first thing we noticed was that the lion opened one eye. The crowd went "Ahh". Then it opened its other eye. We went "Oohâ". The Lion stood up. We went "Oh shit". The lion roared. We went for the door. Ten into one doesn't go very well, but damn it, we weren't going to argue the toss. It was every man for himself. And we weren't too polite either; not so much "after you, my dear friend", more like "get out of the way, you *********.
As it happened, the effort of that bowel-loosening roar was too much for the poor lion. It dropped dead from the strain. And how we laughed at our brush with death. And didn't we all look silly scrabbling over each other to get to the door first. As one of my fellow escapees said to me: "Why bother trying to run so fast, Ray. You couldn't have out-run a lion". "No", I replied, "I wasn't trying to out-run the lion. Just you".
Review: Funny Bones And Wisdom Teeth (Dr Ray Lowry / Free Festival) Retired
Doctor Ray Lowry provides a number of amusing yet cringe-worthy anecdotes,
recounting his time in the professions of dentistry and medicine. The set
contains a well-scripted collection of old school jokes about local
anaesthetics, gynaecology, and the age old embarrassment of purchasing condoms.
There were times when Lowry’s tales of teeth and tits never really materialised
into a joke, and the random slapstick element tagged on to the end was a
disappointing finish. But though it won’t get your pulse racing, it’s healthy
to have a good groan once in a while. Just pray that your own doctor doesn’t
one day undertake a similar venture… Laughing Horse @ Edinburgh City Football
Recently I reached the final of Silver Comedy Award competition Dave Comedy Festival Leicester 2014
On behalf of my fellow ****** Rotarians I wish to express our sincere thanks for your wonderful talk last evening - probably our best ever! It was tremendously entertaining and full of the good clean humour so lacking in today's comedians.
I will certainly commend your act to other Rotary Clubs in District and I hope too that you have a successful Fringe Festival in August.
Looking for some samples of work and After Dinner Teasers?