COMIC Sam Schafer was getting frustrated that he couldn’t even get a slot at open mic comedy nights – but one cheeky tweet later and he will be sharing the stage with one of his heroes at the Edinburgh Festival this summer.
The 22-year-old University of Portsmouth student has been writing and performing sketches and a one-man for show for several years.
A big fan of alternative comedians Daniel Kitson and Josie Long, he saw that Josie was advertising on Twitter a show in Camden, London called Lost Treasures of the Black Heart.
He admitted: ‘I was a bit drunk and tweeted her and asked for a slot.
‘I went to London and met her and she gave me a slot because I had a “twee cardigan and badges” – so luckily it went remarkably well!
‘I can’t get people to give me open mic spots in London but here I am getting a paid show with Josie Long. I’m incredibly lucky.’
Sam, who is in his second year of an American studies degree, has a one-man show that involves, as he puts it, ‘melancholic whimsy’.
It’s an act that involves a story about a girl who he once fancied but didn’t dare to talk to.
He says his on-stage persona has been influenced by the fact that he is registered disabled due to eyesight problems.
In 2009 he had a cornea transplant in his right eye, after that eye had almost entirely lost all vision.
The operation was a success and his vision has improved, although he is still on steroids to make sure the new cornea is not rejected. He is also eligible for a cornea transplant on his left eye, but is not investigating that until he has completed his studies.
Sam, of Castle Road, Southsea, said: ‘It’s difficult on stage because of the lights, the bigger the gig the more lighting so I look down a lot, which has helped create my stand-up character.
‘It has enhanced my character, who is someone socially awkward and awkward in themselves.’
Before losing his sight, Sam submitted sketches to BBC Radio 4’s New Talent programme.
‘The cornea transplant stopped me from submitting to Radio 4 because I had to focus on my eyesight and university work. By the time I was ready to start writing comedy again, all my contacts at Radio 4 had moved on.’
Sam is planning on launching a new sketch show in Portsmouth, with some university friends in the next few weeks, although a venue is still being finalised.
He has hosted and played stand-up gigs across Portsmouth, including at the Kings Theatre, Students’ Union, Groundlings Theatre and the Florence Arms.
Josie Long and Sam Schafer’s Awkward Romance will be on at the Free Fringe at Moods Main Room, from August 13 to 17, from 1.45pm 2.45pm.