By Matt Levy
It is an absolute delight to discover that a stand up comedian doesn’t JUST do comedy. When a comic has another talent like song, dance, rap, juggle, really any kind of parlor trick it feels like we’re getting a steal- two performances for the price of one. The absolute best case scenario is when the talent that the comedian possesses is magic. Sleight of hand mixed with sleight of language is always a delicious treat and when you get someone as great as the legendary North Londoner Adam Bloom performing the two as he does on his brilliant web series that’s part of the Lost Comics channel, it’s inarguably the greatest gift an audience could receive. I had to learn more about the comic’s act and his onstage history.
Truth be told, Bloom, the seasoned 49-year-old comic vet has been entrenched in the comedy game perfecting his craft for quite awhile now. It all began in Richmond, a suburb of West London many years ago when young Adam dreamed of being a comedian as early as nine which makes sense because he comes from a performance background. Adam’s Dad, a retired and extremely gifted jazz pianist/vibraphonist was never well-known but that doesn’t matter. He was immortalized with his band in famous painter Beryl Cook’s famous piece ‘Bernie and The Vibes.’ His Mum also worked in arts and commerce managing a store that sold rare Chinese furniture.
Growing up, Bloom was very academic (although he quipped, “I needed spellcheck to help me with that word”), but failed miserably at senior school in Ham near Kingston where he studied Art and Graphic Design as a result of losing interest and bunking off. Adam received an “ungraded” mark for English Language and Literature. Ironically, he went on to become a writer, so that’s all he’s got to say about judging someone from an exam. However, he was funny, disruptive and obnoxious in high school — all indicators he was headed to the stage. Adam also shared that High school is a “bit different across the pond.” He explained, “In British comprehensive schools all that tends to happen on the last day is someone sets off the fire alarm, we all gasp in awe of whoever did it and then walk out the school gates like it was just another day.”
After walking out of high school with the fire alarm blaring behind him, Bloom saw the gifted physical comedian Harry Hill (a household name in the UK) in a small comedy club and blew his mind. Just three weeks later, Adam had put an act together and there was no looking back. His life was changed and at only 22-years-old. He was going to be a comedian from here on out.
Bloom, a fast-paced cerebral comic with a penchant for trickery and improvised punchlines rose the ranks quickly. In 1999, he performed five sold out nights at The Studio of The Sydney Opera House. His BBC Radio 4 series about “His struggle with everyday life and attempting to help solve how people could avoid upsetting each other by examining the potential outcomes of what feels like doing very little wrong,” featured over five hours of content that came straight from his heart was a smashing success. AND he’s provided material for over 50 comedians. Adam has truly done it all. His friend, The Office creator Ricky Gervais said, “Bloom not only has meticulous, brilliant lines, but also an intense and fragile honesty.” When Adam read that, he nearly cried. Not because he was touched, but because Gervais managed to sum up who he was as a person in three words (four if you include ‘and’). For once, the magician’s secrets were revealed.
Bloom’s wild act is influenced most by acts as wide-ranging as Emo Philips, Alexi Sayle and Ben Elton. He’s actually had the honour of supporting Philips and Sayle in theatre shows and cannot express just how much of an honour that was for him. He said, “It was a dream come true especially when I look back at myself as a teenager watching them on TV in awe.”
That’s not to say that it’s all been perfect every step of the way. In fact, just this past March, Bloom performed to a room made up of entirely head teachers (Principals). He recalled, “It couldn’t have gone worse, they chuckled a couple of times, but mainly stared at me.” Seven minutes into his 25 minute set, a man raised his hand.
Bloom said, ‘Yes?’ and the man replied, “I think I know what the problem is. We had booked a talk from OFSTED (Office for Standards in Education Children’s Services and Skills).” Adam couldn’t comprehend how this could’ve happened. He quipped back, “That was either the most cryptic heckle ever or a very kind way of letting me leave the stage early.” It was the only proper laugh he received. The man then said, with complete sincerity, “I’m not joking, there’s been a major mixup.” Bloom happily left the stage to polite applause. Bloom added, “No wonder they didn’t enjoy my routine about watching 360 degree porn on my gay friend’s VR headset.” Despite it all, he loves his job so much that lockdown means he misses his work more than having an income.
As noted before, his act often involves close-up magic and invented card tricks. This is his true happy place. He said, “I can happily geek out on one idea for a trick for half a day, tweaking and exploring all the avenues.” He continued, “Showing someone a card trick I invented and worked very hard on and seeing them gasping is the best thing in the world.” Also, it should be mentioned, Bloom can solve a Rubik’s Cube in 29.2 seconds (that’s his record; he doesn’t do this onstage; he just thought you would like to know and I agree. You should know that. It’s cool).
Nowadays, while quarantining, Bloom regularly films brand new social distancing comedy and close-up magic for a YouTube channel called The Lost Comics. What does the future hold? Well, in five years time, Bloom has no idea where he sees himself. So, to quote the late comic genius Mitch Hedberg, Bloom said, “I see myself celebrating the fifth anniversary of you asking me that question.”
Looks like this next magic trick will take quite some time to reveal itself but I can’t wait to see what Bloom pulls out of his hat this time around.
One last thing! If you’re interested in what Bloom is watching and listening to while quarantining, you should check out his favorite British shows I’m Alan Partridge and The League of Gentlemen or his favorite American sitcoms Arrested Development and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. If you want a film, he suggests Amélie and if you’re looking for some jams, look into his favorite albums the Beastie Boys’ “Paul’s Boutique” and De La Soul’s “3 Feet High and Rising.”