Drawing: Jen Kirkman

Autographed drawing of comedian Jen Kirkman

Massachusetts-born, LA-based comedian, podcaster and actor Jen Kirkman brought her THE ALL NEW MATERIAL, GIRL tour to London’s Soho Theatre earlier this year for a sell-out run and returned for a one-night only gig at the Leicester Square Theatre in June.

She does regular stand-up at the Hollywood Improv and The Laugh Factory. On TV she’s a panellist on CHELSEA LATELY and narrates DRUNK HISTORY, while her podcast I SEEM FUN gets 50,000 downloads a month. Jen is a stand-up consultant and writer for Amy Sherman-Palladino’s latest hit series THE MARVELOUS MRS MAISEL, which won two Golden Globes recently and has six Emmy nominations.

In a Guardian interview earlier this year she said, “My fan base tends to be, for want of a better phrase, on the punk-rock side of life, feminists, lesbians, guys who wear nail polish, mums who are really fun and like to drink a lot.” She also said the audiences are different, depending on the day. “Monday’s are more responsive, anyone going out on a Monday must be a die-hard fan. Whereas on Fridays, people have worked all week, they’re tired and angry… and drinking. Friday’s are the toughest, weird energy. Saturday’s are just rowdy, so if you can combine the loyalty of Monday with the rowdiness of Saturday that would be ideal.”

Jen signed my drawing for me at her Leicester Square one show only on 22 June. It was a Friday.

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Drawing: Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement – Flight Of The Conchords

Autographed drawing of Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement Flight Of The Conchords

Self-styled as New Zealand’s ‘fourth most popular guitar-based digital-bongo acapella- rap-funk-comedy-folk duo’, and ‘retired sex symbols’, Flight Of The Conchords, Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement are, by global consensus, one of the most successful musical comedy bands on the planet.

As fellow Kiwis… actually as a members of the human race we had to see them perform live, the first time in eight years in the UK. We managed to get tickets to see them at London’s O2. However their big comeback, sold-out arena tour was postponed after a couple of dates, when Bret fell down a flight of stairs, breaking two bones in his hand, “a very rock ‘n’ roll injury” he wrote on his Instagram post.

Bones fixed, the bona fide rock stars rescheduled, adding extra shows. We finally got to the O2 gig on 22 June. “Sorry we’re three months late,” they said in typical Conchordian laid back schtick. Jemaine also apologised for looking ‘older and dustier’, but Bret pointed out that the audience have also put on some years since they last toured “So we’re even.” In London, they did three sell-out shows at the O2 and four at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith.

The O2’s a fortress and nigh impossible to meet the artists let alone get stuff signed. The Apollo isn’t much better, with a reinforced gate protecting the lane to the stage door, but it has an opening. I had also heard that sometimes barriers are erected for after show signing and selfie sessions. I decided to go with an entry rather than exit option and quickly did this sketch, arriving at the said gate just as it was closing after Bret and Jemaine had passed through in a big black van and down to the stage door.

However, while I was muttering the typical antipodean expletive, ‘bugger’ or something stronger, a very accommodating gentleman with a lanyard approached me and asked if he could help. I explained the situation and he promised to pass it on. A month passed, nothing returned. Then yesterday this arrived back in the post. Apologies for thinking the worse of said accommodating gentleman with lanyard… in fact ‘thanks.’

Drawing: Samuel L. Jackson

Autographed drawing of actor Samuel L Jackson

Samuel Leroy Jackson is one of the most prolific film actors on the planet and as a consequence he has the highest-grossing film total of all time it’s a US box office over $5.1 billion, averaging $70.5 million per film and over $12 billion worldwide.

Most will know of at least one Samuel L. Jackson film – he’s been in a fair number – so no need listing them and many of the titles are lengthy, such as CAPTAIN AMERICA: INFINITY WAR, his latest instalment as Marvel’s Nick Fury, head of S.H.I.E.L.D. He was in London a few weeks ago at the Disney premiere of INCREDIBLES 2 at the BFI. Samuel returns as the voice of Lucius Best, known as Frozone, who has the ability to freeze water.

I’d actually had this sketch for a while, I think since a few CAPTAIN AMERICA or AVENGER premieres ago, but no sig-gar! This time I managed to find myself in the right spot on the red carpet on a very hot, sunny Sunday and Samuel signed it for me.

Drawing: Miriam Margoyles in Madame Rubinstein

Autographed drawing of Miriam Margoyles in Madame Rubinstein at the Park Theatre in London

In May last year the irresistible BAFTA Award-winning actress Miriam Margoyles returned to the London stage in the titular role of Jez Bond’s MADAME RUBINSTEIN at the Park Theatre. The play centres around the intense rivalry between 20th century cosmetic giants Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden (played by Frances Barber). Coincidently, it was also the subject of WAR PAINT, a simultaneous production on Broadway with Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole.

I last saw Miriam as Nell in Samuel Beckett’s ENDGAME at the Duchess Theatre in 2009. Three years earlier she was one of the original cast members of the musical WICKED, as Madame Morrible at the Apollo and subsequently at the George Gershwin Theatre on Broadway. HARRY POTTER fans will know her as Professor Pomona Sprout. I’m a big fan of her THE REAL MARIGOLD HOTEL travel doco series… and told her so.

Her ‘comic tour de force’ in MADAME RUBINSTEIN was described by Alun Hood in his WhatsOnStage review. “Margoyles plays Rubinstein-so imperious that even her own children call her ‘Madame’-to the absolute hilt: she’s brash, amoral, manipulative, paranoid, rude, crazy: a bejewelled gorgon in a pillar box red dress. She is also, in Margoyles’ endlessly skilled hands, utterly irresistible.”

Miriam is a humanitarian advocate for many causes. I managed to catch-up with her when she arrived at the Royal Society of Medicine last Friday evening for The Silver Line’s fundraising event, which operates a 24 hour helpline for older people, where she signed my Madame R sketch.

Drawing: Orlando Bloom in Killer Joe

Autographed drawing of Orlando Bloom in Killer Joe at Trafalgar Studios in London's West End

Orlando Bloom has returned to the boards after an five year absence, playing the titular hitman in Tracey Lett’s Texas trailer-park Gothic play KILLER JOE at the Trafalgar Studios.

After making his West End debut eleven years ago in IN CELEBRATION at the Duke of York’s, Orlando’s first and only Broadway appearance was the lead in ROMEO AND JULIET at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in 2013, which the New York Times described as a “first rate Broadway debut.”

He plays Joe Cooper, a Dallas policeman with a sideline in contract killing, who is hired by the dysfunctional Smith family to kill a wealthy matriarch and claim the insurance money. When the clients can’t produce the cash for a down payment, Joe demands an alternative ‘retainer.’ Writing in the Telegraph, Paul Taylor says, “Bloom’s Joe is creepily calm and considered, hypnotic in the measured slowness with which he masks his menacing intent. The controlled swagger of his rhythms is in distinct contrast to all the chaotic kerfuffing of the trailer folk. Bloom’s fine performance gathers in intensity and by the end of the play he’s in full sinister command of the stage.”

The Guardian’s Michael Billington has similar praise for Orlando’s performance. “Bloom excellently suggests Joe’s cool confidence, exaggerated politese and head for business.”

Orlando signed and dedicated my drawing a couple of weeks ago after a Saturday matinee.

Drawing: Sally Bretton in An Ideal Husband

Autographed drawing of Sally Bretton in An Ideal Husband at the Vaudeville Theatre on London's West End

English actress Sally Bretton has returned to the London stage as the ‘too virtuous to be true’ Lady Chiltern in Oscar Wilde’s AN IDEAL HUSBAND, the penultimate production in Dominic Dromgoole’s year-long Wilde season at the Vaudeville Theatre.

Last seen as Goneril in KING LEAR at Shakespeare’s Globe a decade ago, Sally plays the adoring wife who believes she has found the ‘ideal husband’ in the upright and incorruptible politician Sir Robert Chiltern. But he harbours a dark secret.

Sally will also be known to TV viewers as Lucy Adams in NOT GOING OUT with Lee Mack and as Martha Lloyd in DEATH IN PARADISE. She signed my quick sketch at the Vaudeville stage door last week.

Drawing: Mary Berry

Autographed drawing of chef Mary Berry

‘The Queen of Cakes’, Mary Berry is a British TV institution. The 81 year-old presenter and writer, who trained in France at the Le Cordon Bleu School sixty years ago, is also a reluctant ‘style icon’. As the Huffington Post said she is “loved for many reasons, her collection of brilliant jackets is just one of them.”

During Mary’s seven seasons on the BBC’s hit culinary show THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF, viewers got to see the full range. For example, a stork-print bomber from Marks & Spencers sent social media into a spiral in 2014 and the jacket sold out before the show finished at 9 pm. Mary has written 75 cooking books, including the 2009 bestseller ‘Baking Bible’ and last year she won a British Television Award as Best TV Judge.

I sent this sketch to Mary, which she returned, signed and dedicated.

Drawing: Edward Fox in The Day of the Jackal

Autographed drawing of Edward Fox in the film "The Day of the Jackal"

Distinguished British actor Edward Fox has returned to the London stage this month alongside his son Freddie in Oscar Wilde’s AN IDEAL HUSBAND at the Vaudeville Theatre, in what the Independent’s Paul Taylor called a “delicious double act.”

The 81 year-old’s screen career includes many of the classic films, GHANDI (1982), NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN (1983), THE DRESSER (1983), THE GO-BETWEEN (1971) and A BRIDGE TOO FAR (1977), the latter two earning him Supporting Actor BAFTA Awards. However it is his role as the professional assassin known as ‘Jackal’, hired to kill French President Charles de Gaulle in the Summer of 1963 in Fred Zinnemann’s THE DAY OF THE JACKAL (1973) that is one of my favourites.

I drew this sketch, which Edward signed for me on Saturday at the Vaudeville stage door prior to the matinee. Light spring rain was falling and a large group of fans were also waiting for his graph, so he politely asked if it was ok to just sign his name and not dedicate, which was perfectly fine with me.

Drawing: Cuba Gooding Jr in Chicago

Autographed drawing of Cuba Gooding Jr in Chicago at the Phoenix Theatre on London's West End

Cuba Gooding Jr’s portrayal of the arrogant, yet charismatic football player Rod Tidwell in Cameron Crowe’s blockbuster sports comedy JERRY MAGUIRE won him the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1996. This breakthrough role originated the famous phrase,”Show me the money!” that still resonates today. This month he made his West End stage debut as the hotshot lawyer Billy Flynn in the 21st Anniversary revival of the musical CHICAGO at the Phoenix Theatre.

After being told by security that Cuba was resting between the matinee and evening performances last Saturday, he suddenly appeared at the stage door in his dressing gown to meet the surprised fans. When I asked him to to sign my sketch ‘To Mark’ he said “Oh Mark that’s my middle name, did you know that? I didn’t but I do know so I was confident he could spell it on the dedication.

Drawing: Tom Kerridge

Autographed drawing of chef Tom Kerridge

Tom Kerridge doesn’t think of himself as a ‘Michelin-star kind of guy,’ but he is… well he has two of them, so technically he’s a Michelin-stars kinda guy. The very popular TV chef, who describes himself as ‘big, bald and easily distracted,’ and his sculptor wife Beth opened their gastropub ‘The Hand & Flowers’ in the Buckinghamshire town of Marlow on the river Thames thirty miles west of London in 2005. Within a year it had won its first Michelin, followed by a second, becoming the first pub to achieve the accolade.

Tom’s philosophy is based on the premises that food brings people together. His French, British fusion dishes are ‘sophisticated yet familar’. ‘I don’t go in for that ‘temple of gastronomy’ thing,” he says, “I just want people to have a nice time.” His signature dish is a take on the traditional hog roast, cooking pork belly in a Bain-Marie, wrapped in skin and roasted, accompanied by the stuffed pig’s trotters. Yum.

I sent this sketch to The Hand & Flowers for Tom to sign, which he did and returned immediately. Star.