Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Small Trouble in Little China (Town)

I had planned to make something nice for dinner yesterday. Planned is perhaps a slightly strong word for deciding that I might consider cooking up something considering it was my night off. I stupidly mentioned this to Layla and at numerous times during the day was then reminded about my culinary duties. I had to be in Leicester Square for a meeting with a man I hadn't met before and had no idea what he looked like. I often find that meeting people can be made harder by not having the faintest idea who they are. It was in the All Bar One in the main Leicester Square bit, a bar that I like to describe as a hub for people for don't know anywhere better to go. There are lots of better places but generally the people in All Bar One just see the big bar in the main square and through an inability to let their mind venture into further possibilities, and an innate lack of adventure they are drawn into the horrifyingly bland space to be overcharged for drinks and minimalist bland food that they then have to wait an absurdly long time for because the waiter/waitress is far too busy standing around and looking like they might cut their own wrists. I find that the people who go to All Bar One's are also the sort of people who only ever go on holiday to the same resort so they can have the same food and the same space by the pool. That way they will be reassured they won't have to experience the culture of anywhere else and/or avoid terrorism/illness/anything interesting.

The person I was meeting wanted to meet there because he worked next door. That's a fairly good reason to be there. He sent me a description saying that he was in 'a pink shirt and needed a shave'. I would normally assume that that was a fairly good description and I should be able to spot someone like that amongst a crowd. However in All Bar One it appeared to be uniform that everyone wore a pink shirt and needed a shave. Even the women and the staff. After awkwardly standing up and shouting hello at a few different people I gave in and pretended I needed to text 40 different people. Luckily, the general public were completely unaware of me in any capacity and the man I was meant to meet found me instead.

It was a useful meeting, out of which I'll hopefully be able to tell big corporate evil companies to give me some cash for my Edinburgh show or at least destroy a third world village and the environment and the economy and a trade union while thinking of me. As I was in the area I decided that dinner would be a stir-fry and get some of the ingredients from the supermarket in China Town. I haven't had a stir-fry for ages and I am a fan of any food where the preparation is to throw lots of stuff in a wok, then stir it a bit, then eat it. Often these simple methods are the best. I always have a slight fear about walking through China Town. This stems back to a Chinese kid I was at school with whose English name was Trevor. I always wondered why he had an English name when his Chinese name was pretty cool. I suppose his parents thought it would help him fit in around all those British ignoramooses who couldn't make an effort with pronouncing his real name. While perhaps it would have made sense in the 60s 'This Is England' Britain, it was actually far worse for him going to a North London state school and being called Trevor. Despite the name, Trevor was very un-Trevory, and instead he had links with some pretty violent Chinese gangs. He would often come into school with a large mark on his face or a big bruise/scratch/cut somewhere about his person before relaying a tale of hitting someone with a pool cue in China Town. These tales were our real life equivalent of kung-fu films and while we liked them, they would always be followed up by some advice about where not to go in the area. These warnings were one day confirmed when another kid at our school came in one morning after getting feisty in a shop in China Town and he had the underside of a shoe print embedded in his head where he had been stamped in pretty hard.

China Town in London is pretty small and tiny, nothing like its namesakes in NY or San Francisco. So if you are meant to avoid any areas (which I think is probably no longer relevant no that I am not 15 years old) it would be quite tough unless you stayed away from there entirely, which I wasn't going to do because I needed tofu. The large Chinese supermarket is a brilliant place if, like me, you get easily excited by food you haven't heard of, or have heard of, but because you can't read the packaging, pretend you haven't. It was fairly busy and I felt like a tourist in my own town as I bumbled round looking for tofu while everyone else barged past me knowing exactly where to go. Finally getting the few things I needed and after having done a truly terrible and partly racist 'wait to see which black bean sauce the Chinese lady gets before I get one to see which is the best' I queued up to pay. The queue was very long and longer still because of some idiot at the till who seemed to be causing a hold up. I'm not quite sure what was wrong but he kept mopping his brow, apologising and lifting up different items from his basket. The women at the till didn't appear to want to help the situation and just kept staring at him and sighing. It was less a problem solving affair and more a piece of performance art that was pissing everyone off.

When I got to the till after a lifetime of waiting, I put my two items on the counter and pulled out my debit card only to be told you have to spend more than £5 to use a card. There was no prior warning of this. I had spent a couple of minutes looking at all signs en route to tilldom and nothing said anything about card limit. The evil look I was given by the till lady suggested that I should have just known about the limit. Everyone else knew about the limit, and I should have just known using my intuition and tracking skills that such limits that no longer exist in any other shops, exist here. I looked back at the queue building up behind me, started panicking and mopping my brow and suddenly realised why the man next to me was still holding everyone up on his side. I didn't want to re-queue but I was also miles away from anything else that I might want, so I turned around and grabbed the nearest thing to me, a really cheap bottle of sake. I've never had sake before, never really wanted sake before and as I put it on the counter the women looked at me like I was a tramp buying a Sainsbury's Value Special Brew. Customer service had gone out of the window long ago but now I had stooped to a level where the women would no longer even look at me. She opened up a plastic bag for me and I assumed she would pack it as well, but instead she just threw it at me and tutted. I looked at the people behind me who, if they had the ability, would be shooting daggers from their eyes into my face. I grabbed my things and ran away fearing a trainer imprint in my face. A combination of childhood fears and the worry that the imprint may be for something very uncool like Hi-Tec.

I got home and started making the stir-fry. Halfway through I added some soy sauce and as I did, the lid fell off it and the whole lot poured in. I tried to pretend this wouldn't affect it, but when we sat down to eat me and Layla made the sort of faces a gurning raver would make if you stuffed lemons in their gob. It was disgusting. I felt like I had been trumped by Sod. That and the sake tasted like liquid shit. Tonight I think I may just have a sandwich.

Last Fat Tuesday for a few months tonight as the venue changes from 'The Salmon and Compass' to 'The Compass'. I hope this doesn't mean they are cutting the building in half. Fish everywhere must be gutted they are losing their stake on the premises and bears will stop turning up in the hope of food. I'm sure it will look ace though.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Comedy for Two Please

I have very little to do today. I am ignoring my show that I have to write, general other writing stuff, annoying promoters for gigs, and doing the much overdue washing up that is piling up quicker than a crash on the M25. Other than all that stuff, that loads and loads of stuff, I have very little to do today. I can see that for my own benefit I should use this non-gigging time wisely but I really want a weekend, so might use today to rest up. I'm not very good at just resting, as I start to get guilty about all the things I'm not doing. I'm conscious that this is what I do, so to counter-act it I have made a small list to keep me thinking I am productive. Number one was 'make a cup of tea'. This has been done. Number two is this blog. After that, I am overachieving. I like it when I know how to mess with my own OCD tendencies.

A change from the usual stand-up gigs I did Anthology last night, a storytelling show in Stoke Newington. I always book these sort of things in as a bit of a self challenge. Telling stories requires a different ability than doing stand-up. I'm never sure that I have any interesting stories to tell. I don't tend to do daring things like climbing mountains or extreme shark fighting, because I like living. That and I'm a wuss. Also my social life has died since doing stand-up so I struggle to remember any particularly interesting tales that aren't about gigs. Even when I do think of one I manage to convince myself it wouldn't be that interesting to anyone else. So I spent a long time wondering what to do. If all else failed I was just going to read 'The Tiger That Came To Tea' out loud. I had been informed that it had to be a true story, but if it had come to it, I would've gone to the zoo with said caffeinated beverage and tried to coax one for the sake of the show. To be fair that would have made a good story in itself. Unless the tiger had eaten my face off. Still then I could have been the storytelling man with no face and I definitely would've got on This Morning with a tale like that.

We had visited Layla's parents earlier in the day as her dad had been back in hospital, which meant more near flashes and overly graphic explanations of his inability to pee. My turn away reflexes and ability to pretend I had a text were more heightened than usual as I had expected such lack of boundaries this time. As a reward for getting through the whole afternoon avoiding extra dad flesh viewings we told weight watchers to piss off and had a dinner of one krispy kreme donut each. It was both great and satisfyingly unfilling, so I left the house feeling once again almost visually scarred and now hungry too.

I arrived early at the venue to a room that apart from host and storyteller extraordinaire Andrew J Lederer, was empty. I know that Anthology has been doing fairly well and has had some great reviews and articles because of how nice a night it is. We both sat and waited and Andrew very calmly assumed that as it had done well for 9 weeks in a row, inevitably there would be one quiet one. There were sounds on the stairs, which got us both excited until we realised it was just the other acts, now leaving five of us sitting there waiting for a crowd. Eventually two women arrived. They seemed to be fairly keen but looked slightly perturbed by the lack of anyone else. They said they would go and get drinks and be back up, which we thought was a lie but lo and behold, they came back up, eager to hear some yarns.

Christina and Daisy were their names and they sat in a big sofa at the side of the room and Andrew pulled up a big armchair opposite them and started the show. I was worried this would be awkward. Two people is never enough for a comedy gig. If anything it makes the audience feel very isolated and the acts feel like they can't really get the response they want. It's not the same for storytelling though and oddly it created a perfect sort of atmosphere. All we really needed was a fire and that dog from Jim Henson's the Storyteller. To be fair John Hurt would have been a bonus too, but the gig was already overbooked act wise so he'd have had to just watch. Andrew told stories about his lack of hygiene which, while making the girls sit slightly further back in their chairs, were very funny and interesting. These were followed by an ace tale about Paco Pena from Paul Ricketts, a clown leg tattoo from Claire Stroud and nearly dying in a New York cab from Karen O.Novak. This was occasionally interrupted by comments from the 'crowd' including a bit about a tattoo Christina had given herself because she's a rock chick and Daisy's story about tramps getting free hotdogs from Lidl's. I sat and listened the whole way through having forgotten how nice it is having stories told to you. I started to wonder how annoyed Layla would be if I woke her up when I got home and demanded a bed time read through of the Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Then it was my turn and I started by blabbing on about how me and my family had also encountered a psychopathic taxi driver in New York, followed by a story about my dad upsetting the mormons in Salt Lake City, a moment that I will be proud of him for forever. Then the main bit was my retelling of that horrible gig in Epsom only a few Saturdays ago. It felt almost cathartic saying just how shitty but funny it all was and it got some nice responses from the two audience members. There was something very refreshing about not aiming to finish things with a joke but getting some laughs anyway. Maybe I should try this in stand-up, or realistically maybe not. Andrew quipped at the end that the show was more like how a private gig should go rather than the Epsom shitstorm. He was right.

The possibly awkward night got slightly more possibly awkward when I happened to say that I had been a lazy arse and driven from around the corner in Finsbury Park which led to both the girls asking me for a lift home as they lived near me. This seemed a bit odd as although they were both nice and it was all a very much innocent offer I couldn't help but wonder what Layla's response would be to 'I just gave two girls I don't know a lift home'. I hadn't offered, they had asked which let me off the 'creepy' hook. They were very nice and we spent the whole short journey back arguing about favourite famous stand-ups. Daisy was insistant that Ross Noble is the only proper stand-up as he improvises everything. Now, I like Ross and think he's a master of the arts, but this statement made me get on my high shetland pony and argue with them all the way to Manor House. In a nice way though. It made me feel less like a 'two ladies lothario' and more like an opinionated cabbie. Although to be fair all cabbies are opinionated. Just mostly with the wrong opinions. They are both coming to Edinburgh and said they will come and see my show. I am tempted to offer more audience members lifts and argue with them in the hope I will sell out in Edinburgh if I do it enough.

I got home and told Layla that I had driven two girls home that I didn't know and she didn't even flinch. I'm hoping that was out of trust and not because she thinks I am not capable of wooing ladies on such a level. She would be right on both accounts which is both good and rather sad.

Right, number two is done. Now for number three - stop making lists and go back to bed. I like today.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lost Time

I hate knowing that somewhere in the night an hour went missing. It happened on my way home. At one point I looked at my phone and it said 00.43. Then stuck at traffic lights half an hour later, I checked again and it was suddenly 2am. I had forgotten that is was the night for doing this and spent a few minutes wondering where that hour had gone. Had I gone through some sort of temporal time rift? Or worse had I just fallen asleep at the wheel for a bit? Or maybe, just maybe I had gained the superhuman ability to go faster than time, or like the man in Heroes just stop and start time at will? Then it clicked that it was none of these things. Instead, quite simply, science and reason had stolen an hour of my life. I will get it back of course, but I'll get it back when its all cold and I don't really want it anymore. I feel like I've missed out on my extra hour of sleep today. Its like a tiny version of jet lag. Just without the jet bit, or the lag, and instead just me being moany.

I needed extra sleep after my really long day yesterday. It was a good day but a long one, starting with a kids comedy show in Lee On Solent in the afternoon. Like most kids gigs it was a lot of fun and the kids and parents were a great crowd. Unlike most gigs the children were handed large bags of sweets on entry to the show. This was slightly dangerous and almost like lighting a very long dynamite fuse leading to an inevitable sugary child explosion. I'm not sure if you've seen a child on sweets but its not unlike watching someone at a rave who's taken too much speed for their own good. Their eyes go slightly and then they almost shake a bit with energy as though at any moment they might fizz up. The sweets were topped up constantly and there was also a special deal at the bar for 'kids cocktails' a pink concoction that appeared to contain sugar plus liquid sugar mixed with sugar. Staring out into the crowd was like watching popcorn cook. Different kids would just suddenly start getting restless. I was almost tempted to grab and shake one of the smaller ones to see if they would launch into space. Luckily I had a really fun gig, and I escaped during Steve Day's ace set, which is when I assume they probably all went nuts. I hope Steve survived. He had brought two of his kids along and had to endure taking them to Burger King on the way home after they'd eaten lots of sweets. I can only imagine that if he managed to escaped the 100 glucosed up children that his car journey home may have been the last straw.

I never really know what to do with a three hour gap between shows and so rather than relax I decided to spend it driving to Brighton and then wander around the city aimlessly. Well there were two small aims which was to waste time and hopefully find a nice veggie cafe to eat it. The thing is that the last few times I have been to Brighton it has been to do the Komedia where they feed you, so I normally park up and head straight to the gig. As a result I had forgotten where any nice places in Brighton were and spent 40 minutes weaving between the weird locals, a mix of students, punks, bohos, chavs and a few that looked like a combination of all four. I ended up getting cold and going back in Red Veg where I always go and felt like a failure to explore more exciting avenues. Still, I got onion rings.

The gig was in a pub called the Quadrant, a building that looks like Tim Burton would make if he made a film about a pub. If he did that film would have Johnny Depp in it as the landlord and at some point someone would enter with no head. These events did not happen yesterday, but I'm sure they will soon. The show happened in a small room upstairs with a small but prfectly formed crowd of about 30-40 people. I was down to headline which terrified me. I've only ever headlined somewhere once or twice before and still don't feel of headline standard. Shazia Mirza was meant to be the closer and it did nothing for my confidence when audience arrived asking if she was on, and when it was pointed out that I was on instead they grunted and left. I shall have to work on my female muslim woman appearance.

The show was good fun. I had a nice set and met the head of a diabetic group in Brighton which may mean that I can go and do obscure jokes about HBA1 levels to some people that might actually laugh at them instead of yawn. All the rest of the acts that night were really good too with a great opening set from Jim Smallman, followed by some lovely stuff from new acts I haven't seen before including Carly Smallman (of no relation to Jim, but they seemed to be overjoyed at meeting each other due to surname similarity. I was jealous. The chances of me meeting another Douieb on the circuit are slim), Rachel Anderson and Richard Rycroft, and it was all very nicely MC'd be Sajeela Kershi.

Then I finally got home at 2.30am because time was stolen from me. Luckily tonight heralds the end of a very long few weeks on endless gigging. I've only got two gigs next week which is both worrying money-wise but brilliant in terms of sleeping and maybe seeing Layla and my friends. Tonight's gig isn't usual stand-up fare, as its a storytelling night. I never remember good stories when I need to, but I think I might recall the tale of last week's horrors in Epsom. It doesn't have a great ending though so I may pretend Terry Saunders was killed as we tried to leave. I'm sure he won't mind.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Men Swear

Rush hour hasn't been an hour for a very long time. Its really about time they changed the name, especially on a Friday, to something more appropriate, like Stupidly Long Traffic Day. On most weekdays it starts about 3.30ish when hordes of parents unnecessarily drive around the corner to pick up their kids in their massive 4x4's, blocking all roads and generally pissing off people in reasonable sized cars and the planet all at once. Its like multi-tasking for arseholes. This is then followed by all traffic caused by people leaving work early, caring not about the state of the economy, but with the sole intention of escaping the dullness of a an extra hour in the office based weekly prison they spend time in. This mass road based exodus causes the chain effect of no one getting anywhere that quickly and just causing the same people who are desperate for freedom to be stuck inside a car based prison for another two hours, which all lasts till about 7ish. This would be the end, but as a special treat on Fridays and other anti-social times, road works appear on main roads, making sure any last hope of reaching home before the world ends is over. The apocalypse will come as I'm stuck at the Blackwall Tunnel at 10pm on a Friday and I will watch as morons around me disintegrate to ashes with the last look on their face being one of sheer boredom, irritation, and annoyance that Claudia Winkleman is still allowed on the radio.

I had a fairly good Friday yesterday. I finally got some money that I'd been owed which was handy. In the comedy world it seems perfectly reasonable to not pay you till 4-5 months after doing a gig, even though its really not reasonable at all. What tends to happen as a result is that I'm broke for ages and then have one fairly affluent month, where I stupidly spend all my cash on the bills I'd been racking up during the poor months, and crack whores. The last bits a lie. I can't afford crack whores. Or crack. Or whores. Or being able to pay all my bills. So it was nice yesterday to know I could relax for a month. This was then topped by finding out I have nearly lost half a stone on this weight watchers malarkey. I am pleased with this and in celebration may eat loads this weekend. I assume that is the point? The thought of eating half a stone's worth of food in two days, while glorious, is also a tad sickening and I will endeavour to keep this diet up until I reach that size zero and can wear Kate Moss's range at Topshop. Ahem, sorry, I mean, lose a few pounds and look all manly and stuff. Oops.

I had two storming gigs yesterday. The one in the evening needs only a small retelling as it was one of those gigs where the crowd were delightful, and laughed all the way through. I couldn't have asked for more. Well I could have done, but it would have been unreasonable. The people of the Arden Theatre wouldn't have expected me to demand fire-eaters and wheelbarrows full of coco-pops, so I didn't. Its a lovely gig run by Richard Coughlan in Faversham, and he does a bloody fine job of it too. If you live in Faversham, you should go. Its not like there's much else to do. This might seem an unfair judgement but when the brown tourist road signs only point you in the direction of a 'swimming pool' you know its a bleak area for entertainment. Most places have 'roman ruins' or something exciting. I can't imagine tourists flock from miles and miles to see a swimming pool. Still it's better than Fleet. That just has 'Fleet Pond'. It is just a pond. Its no more exciting than anyone else's pond and it does not warrant a brown sign. But points for trying.

My other gig was far more unusual. A corporate gig for menswear buyers at the Royal Overseas Club in Piccadilly. The venue was a rather plush club house full of the sort of people that eat money for breakfast. I felt quite nervous walking in, hoping they wouldn't be able to sniff out a poor boy at 50 yards. I thought the security cameras would set an alarm off as I got near the place and dogs would be sent to tear my empty wallet to pieces. Luckily, I had been paid that day and so I think it took away the scent of broke. The lunch itself was for about 60 very well dressed industry people. Some were from Selfridges, some from Harrods and all sorts of other swanky clothing shops, and import/export companies. I wondered if Primark was there and spent time looking out for someone eating food that looked like everyone else's but was of cheaper quality and taste and probably made by children. I arrived in time for biscuits and cheese and was placed on a table with the Selfridges buyers. Initial impression as I walked to the table was that this was all going to be awkward. Actually they were all really really welcoming and friendly. I learnt all the ins and outs of how the trading industry used to work and how its changed. I have since forgotten it as it was mostly very dull. I rarely buy clothes anymore, as Layla seems to keep me in fashion by randomly picking things up for me, so I just scoffed my face with crackers to try and gain back that half a stone and ran through the material in my head.

I was a little bit scared as I had no idea how I would be received. The room was oddly shaped too, with all the table set like a horseshoe and a long walkway in the middle. Looking round at all the guests they ranged from young and fashionable to old and looking like they could go at any minute. One man had a big red face that looked like it was melting into his neck. He had clearly been consuming well since childhood. The afternoon dragged on longer and longer until finally after a speech from the chairman and the editor of a menswear magazine, it was my go. I started with some jokes I had written specifically for the gig. These included a cheap pun about thinking there would be more 'effing and blinding from the editor of a men swear magazine', and my suggestion that all menswear clothes departments should just have clothes all over the floor, that instead of trying on, men can pick up and smell. If they smell clean we'll wear them. Despite the cheesy nature these went down very well and I hit a lovely stride. Until I did my bit about funk music, which confused them all, so I quickly went back to more boring stuff that old rich people get. I was fairly pleased with it all and so were they as I got paid more than I was meant to, which is always good. I received many a handshake and a well done from everyone afterwards and tried to escape to get to Kent, but I was stopped by a man who wanted to talk about comedy. He is a family friend of Paul Kerensa and while seeming very nice, kept wanting to know if I knew Paul. I said yes, I knew him well, and the man kept telling me 'you know he does comedy?'. Yes, yes I do. 'He's done comedy for a few years now, do you know him?'. Yes, I know Paul. 'I'm going to his wedding, he's a comedian you know?'. I think me telling him I knew Paul had ruined his exciting thing to tell me, so I pretended not to know any other Kerensa facts and let the man continue. This worked and eventually he ran out of things about Paul and I managed to run away. He did ask for my name though, so Paul, I apologise in advance if he ruins your wedding day by asking you all day if you know me.

Two gigs today again. A kids comedy show in Dorset followed by a nice little gig in Brighton. Should all be lovely. Before all that though I am off to eat a massive breakfast in Islington at a place called Fig and Olive. I like it there. They serve breakfasts that mean I wont need to eat for the rest of the day. I half lost half a stone though so I am allowed to eat that, and then eat for the rest of the day too. Isn't that the point?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Indecent Proposals

I have to do one of those odd gigs today. Occasionally you agree to do things that you know will be not fun, but the lure of some cash and the challenge make all logic and self care non-important. I imagine its how those people years ago on the Word felt when they did anything to get on TV. They were massive idiots though and my odd gig is no way as wrong as drinking a pint of my own vomit or walking barefoot in dog shit, like they did. And I don't think they got paid either. I wonder if they still look back on those incidents and cry and the low level of dignity they managed to reach. The one that liked the fat ladies sweaty armpit has probably had to kill themselves in shame. Oh well, no loss. In comparison to those morons, my gig could be quite lovely. Its to a large group of menswear traders in a posh club in central London. Its the first time ever I've been consciously worried about what to wear on stage. I think even if I go as smart as possible or wear all my newest clothes I will still be two seasons behind everyone there. I don't like being behind season. I don't even really know what that means.

Another gig to 26 people last night. 26 appears to be the lucky number this week. Its not that lucky in terms of comedy, its relatively unfortunate. After a three hour drive with Andrew O'Neill it was a bit of an anti-climax to walk into a really empty bar in a town that looked like hope and people abandoned it several years ago. Andrew had not brought a script or tangerines but did very well as a passenger by making many a bad pun and helping me write a joke, which was useful. This relative road based punfest was suddenly abandoned as we hit the outskirts of Gillingham in Dorset. If there had ever been an appropriate time for the Specials 'Ghost Town' to play, it would have been then. Although the radio was off so whilst appropriate it would also have been terrifying. I get scared enough driving down country roads and I do not need the radio to start playing itself. That would only distract me from avoiding all the zombies and werewolves that obviously hide in country lanes.

The 26 were, like tuesday, lovely, and the gig was a lot more fun than we thought it was going to be. Both myself and Andrew had great sets and generally all 26 of them seemed to enjoy it. Then we tried to leave. Something very odd happens when you have a nice gig in small area - they tend to treat you like some sort of celebrity. I am clearly not a celebrity in any sense of the word but they insisted on wanting us to stay all night and buy us drinks. While I appreciated the sentiment, we had a three hour drive home and I didn't know who they were and wanted to get in the car in time to listen to Bob Dylan's Radio Hour which is by far one of the best radio shows ever. I don't want to ruin it for you, but if you don't already, tune in and listen to the bizarre facts as told by his voice, which is now so gravely it sounds like a small rodent is physically sandpapering his throat with each warble. They didn't let us leave though. In fact, one girl in particular told us we weren't allowed to leave. This scared me a lot. I've seen Straw Dogs. I didn't want that to happen, although if it had, I was fully prepared to push Andrew at them then run away. Always have a back up plan.

This girl wasn't malicious but she was drunk and overly flirty, demanding that she wanted to marry all of us, in what I can imagine would be some sort of reverse harem. I very much get on with Andrew and the compare Demitris Deech, but co-habiting with them and sharing the same wife I fear would take its toll on our friendships. This isnt even considering having to tell Layla I can't come home because I have been mass-wed to a drunk lady in Dorset. I think Layla would get quite sad. The woman's nickname was Crockett, which was never explained. I imagine its perhaps because she had a wild frontier, but I'm not really sure what that means either. She kept the flirting up, while a rather nervous man stood beside her, giving concerned looks like a carer who knows their patient could lash out at any minute. We later discovered this was her boyfriend. I pity him, and I admire his tolerance for staying with someone who really doesn't give a toss about his relationship. Actually admiration doesn't come into it, he's an idiot and he should run away now. Unless of course he can't because the people of Gillingham have him initiated into their small town cult and he can never leave. God I'm such a countryphobe.

We finally escaped and they didn't chase us with burning pitchforks or anything, which was nice and always a bonus. Luckily there was 30 minutes of Bob Dylan left on the radio and the theme last night was fruit. It doesn't get much better than that. Favourite quote ' there is a fruit that is a hybrid of a pimello and a tangerine. I don't know what a pimello is. I like tangerines though, and I don't know if I want my tangerines mixed with a pimello.' You go Bob. You go.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Too Bloody Nice

Writing blogs has been tough this week. My mind has been on other matters and so hacking away musings of the week seems to be the last thing on my line of priorities. The main task of yesterday and today is trying to finish my 40 words for the Edfringe programme entry. Its only 40 words. That should be amazingly easy, but its not. I can often think of 40 words, I've already written 40 words in this blog. I can fairly easily shout 40 different words in one go if I wanted to, but I don't because people will think I'm nuts or have some sort of surrealist Tourettes. I do wish that existed. I'd love to walk past people in the park and here them shout things like ' The goose is made of polystyrene, beware the warriors of paint!' Although that statement sounds like it almost means something and I would probably end up being suspicious of geese and paintbrushes for ever. The 40 words I need for the program though need to be coherent and sell my show. I am good at self-publicity but I'm not good at making myself sound great. Currently (under agent's advice) it says 'Internationally acclaimed'. I need to remove that, because I'm not. I have done only 2 gigs abroad ever and I'm not sure anyone noticed. My website has now been viewed in New Zealand, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Australia, Canada, USA and Ireland which all sounds impressive. Until you realise its by a grand total of 55 people. And probably some of those numbers are the same person visiting twice, assuming they weren't put off the first time. If I could write the 40 words I'd really like to write it would say something like ' Its my first solo show. It might be rubbish. Hopefully it wont be, but sorry if it is. Beer? "Glad he doesn't work for us anymore. He was rubbish at filing" - Camden Council'.

I was in Midhurst yesterday. Midhurst is one of those lovely towns that you don't know exists and would normally just stumble upon by accident. You travel through lots of dodgy windy country roads and suddenly in a clearing is this pretty little place with nice houses and stone bridge and other stuff they only had in Trumpton. I was hoping for a windmill with a man who conveniently would leave and enter his house just in time not to be killed by the massive sails, and for 6 firemen who all had names that would fit perfectly into a rhyme and later a techno beat. They didn't have the latter but I wasn't disappointed. I could imagine that nothing ever goes wrong in Midhurst and occasionally the newspaper has to be released because someone has lost a sock or is a bit worried because they've seen litter, or someone who isn't local. This bookended a rather lovely drive up with Janice Phayre who I haven't seen for a while. Janice is a lovely and a top passenger. I helped her rehearse a casting script which is the first time I've done that while driving. I had to put on an Ardel O'Hanlon Irish accent which I felt I did rather well until I tried it again today and realised it was very sub-standard and no way as good as my Tony Law or Rhod Gilbert. It was a lot of fun and it means she now competes with Tom Deacon who brought clementines and eclairs, Lloyd and Henry's jazz chat and Tom Craine who brought germs. In fact, Craine is disqualified. I didn't like getting ill. I might start tallying up some sort of passenger based points system. Good chat is fairly standard but its those extra bits that might get you a star sticker or something equally as pointless. I'm driving to Dorset with Andrew O'Neill later. I always enjoy Andrew's company but if he doesn't bring scripts, food based goods, or some sort of new car entertainment he will lose points.

The gig at Midhurst lived up to the standards of the area. It was ridiculously lovely and there was nothing to complain about. Run by Duncan Oakley, he has set up a truly great club in a truly great room with really lovely people. I know, it means I have very little to write about. There was even a landlady and waiter who would stroll through the room bringing drinks and food which is something I would have normally found distracting and crap. But in Midhurst they did it in such a nice way, it was fine. I don't really understand it. I'm almost suspicious that they pump something into the air so that everyone felt happy. I mean, its just not right that it was all so great. I spent time worrying about this blog, thinking, 'well if its all so great, what can I write about?' Duncan needs to think about this. Its all very well running a stupidly good club and being a great host, but how will anyone moan about it? The car journey home was massively devoid of any kind of griping. We almost felt cheated. Then we got stuck in a traffic jam and I was able to breathe a big sigh of relief and get all shouty.

I'm in Gillingham in Dorset tonight. I hope, for your sake and mine, that its got something wrong with it. Maybe the stage will be in the loos, to 20 stag-dos and a serial killer, with a sound system created by tin cans and rope. We can only hope.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ruining it for Everyone

I'm feeling a bit braindead today after a lengthy trip last night. I'm trying to remedy this with my second cup of tea but instead its just making my bladder weak, so now I am braindead and everytime I do get a spurt of creativity this is ruined by needing the loo. I need to be more awake as I'm trying to write some sponsorship proposals to various companies for my Edinburgh show. What I need to do is spend time on a lengthy couple of pages of what I need and what they will get out of it, but instead I have just typed in 28pt Arial Bold 'MONEY PLEASE'. I don't think that will win anyone over.

Think part of my inability to think is a consequence of yesterday's busy day. The morning was spent demonstrating outside the Daily Mail offices with Mark Thomas, as a result of his discovery that Viscount Rothermere is a tax dodging non-dom French national. These are the sort of loopholes that almost seem too good to be true and a large group of us including Robin Ince, Carrie Quinlan, Bennett Arron and Chris Coltrane all gathered with banners saying things like 'Dodgy French Toff in Non-Dom Tax Romp'. It was lovely watching people walk past with their noses up until they realised it was anti-Daily Mail at which point they ran over, took leaflets and seemed very interested. Its amazing how many people hate the Daily Mail. They are like the James Blunt of the newspaper world. Lots of people buy it but no one will admit it. Its an embarrassment to be a fan of the Daily Mail and James Blunt and both are right wing and racist. Well, not sure about the last two with Blunt, but its probably right. I mean, look at him. Everyone else's banner were pretty good, but I had made mine out of two bits of paper and a wooden spoon. I thought that that would be a fail safe in case there was trouble. I would be able to pull out the spoon and just pretend I was running to a cookery class or had received the consolation prize at sports day. What it actually meant was everytime it got windy all the paper bent around the spoon making it look just like I had covered a spoon in paper. Which is what I had done. Robin said it suited me as if anyone should have a banner that looked like a lollipop it should be me.

Then I had my gig at Keele. It was one of those gigs that was never going to be great. The journey up with Lloyd Langford and Henry Paker was fun and we all discovered that each of us has a fairly geeky music taste. I like discovering this about people as it makes me feel like less of a music nerd. I can spend hours batting about obscure band and DJ names but most times this causes people to get really bored and vow never to listen to anything I am talking about ever again. We spent the journey there and back discussing expensive 45" singles, Blue Break Beats compilations and afro-beat which was, pardon the pun, music to my ears. Then we got to the gig and it all went wrong. First wrong thing was that we arrived early at 7, only to discover that the gig doesn't start, as advertised at 8.30, but instead at 9.30. This was due to incompetence on their part and as they had been slower and slower getting groups in to all the previous gigs it pushed back the start time later and later. All the posters had a big black pen mark over the start time of 8.30, but did not offer any new time instead. It was as though they had taken away all time and just hoped that people would assume when it was one and hopefully turn up at the right time.

We had two and a half hours to kill on the scarce and rather bleak Keele campus. Its amazing how often universities look a bit like prisons. One of the buildings at my old university in Kent was actually designed by someone who specialised in prisons. Looking at Keele I can only imagine a similar thing happened. If you were to take one of the lady's from Holloway and place her in a room in Keele I think she would just stay in her room assuming she had been transferred somewhere equally as grim. We managed to find a room devoid of people and with three arcade machines in. Thinking it would be fun, Lloyd put a quid in the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire machine. The machine ate the £1 and did not let us play the game. It appeared that was its own fast way to becoming a millionaire. We also realised perhaps why this room had no one else in it.

When the gig eventually started we had the grand total of 26 people in the room. This would not have been so bad if the room hadn't been a lengthy warehouse for 200 people. Lloyd had a lovely tactic of promising them all they wouldn't get picked on if they sat by the front which encouraged about 6 of them to move forward and made the gig a tad more bearable. They were a lovely 26 people but as I started talking to them about what courses they were on and general MC banter, they assumed I was picking on them, resulting in some of the 26 leaving. I did wonder if I should just start calling them all 'c*nts' till the room emptied and we could just go home, but I tried to just be friendly. Henry had a great set and then during the interval we discovered that the last one of these was so bad that it had caused a lot of people not to bother with this one. During Lloyd's set I went off to seek a poster to see who was on and try and find out what they had done. Surprisingly it wasn't Jonathan Ross or Russell Brand. Lloyd had a good one, although nothing any of us did was ever going to storm it. Unless we stormed it in the marine/guerilla type sense. Although from the sounds of it, that was what happened last time and why no one has come back. I hope those 26 people enjoyed it and maybe next term there will be greater interest in the comedy again. If they haven't then I'll still blame the acts from the last gig.

Including last night, I have 10 gigs in 8 days. I feel exhausted thinking about that, and I'm also slightly scared that Layla will start to forget who I am. At the moment we only see each other for a sleepy chat when I get home from a gig and when she leaves for work in the morning. I think if she was to see me not attached to a pillow and snoring slightly she wouldn't recognise me. Still April seems dead in comparison to this month. I'm not happy about that much, but at least I can pretend I have some sort of social life. I say that, but I know I'll spend most of it playing Xbox and writing inane thoughts on Twitter. Its a sort of social life. If you're a robot.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Minimalist Blog

'Brevity is the key to wit' said Shakespeare apparently. I don't when he said that, I only know the quote from one of my favourite Simon Munnery gags. The joke continues with the line 'I say WANK, therefore I win.' My blog isnt that brief today but its verging on a note. I'm not sure where the line is drawn. Perhaps if you can fit it onto a post it its a note, anything larger hit blogs territory until its get too large and becomes an essay, novel or a bore. I have left myself a very small blog window, or blogdow if you like, today. I currently have only 20 minutes in which to eat soup, write this and then get ready and drive to Keele University near Stoke-On-Trent. Soup and fast typing are not the ideal of companions and I am hungry so the blog must suffer. This is also not helped by my having to wear shades while typing this as the sunshine hits the laptop screen square on. I could of course move but I feel that right now it makes me seem like the fonz of all geeks.

I have spent the morning standing outside the Daily Mail protesting at their owner, Viscount Rothermere being a tax dodging non-dom so I feel I have already done my part for the people today. Not a lot happened to me of not yesterday anyway. All high points can be narrowed down to:

1) Starting a Tiernan competition on Twitter. Finding other Tiernan's has made me excited as the last time this happened I only met one. I received an email entitled 'Tiernan?' some years ago. It was from a Tiernan Deevy and all he asked was 'Are you really another Tiernan? So am I and I've never met one before. Please write back.' It was the best email ever. I have found several on Twitter and I'm hoping they will partake in my competition that has no rules yet.

2) Did my Rhod Gilbert impression for Comedy Demon. I am proud of it.

3) Saw Stewart Lee's show while it was actually on and not recorded or on iplayer or anything. It was brilliant again. With that and Genius every week I have some faith restored again in TV.

That is all. I will now eat soup so fast I burn my mouth and hate the rest of my day. Proper blog tomorrow!

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Full Package

Just returned from my follow-up orthotics appointment. I found out 5 months ago that my calf muscles were too tight for my legs. This is the first time ever I have been told I have tight muscles and I always had the lofty idea that when that would happen it would be said by a sexy lady in a sexy lady way. Sadly it was by a doctor and he meant it as a bad thing. Bruce Lee's tight muscles never caused him a problem although he did die under 'mysterious circumstances' if the film 'Dragon...' is to be believed. Maybe all his muscles got too tight then snapped and twanged his heart and brain killing him. I'd like to believe that Bruce Lee was so hardcore his own body beat him up. So I had to get insoles to make my muscles all shit and flabby again and today I got told that that had sort of worked and my legs were nearly as good as they could be. Which again, when said by a doctor, is not a great compliment. I still wanted to say 'oh you' and wink a bit, but I felt it was inappropriate. I got given new, more hardcore insoles and now feel like walking is exciting again. Having done it for many years, walking was never going to get too exciting, but these insoles have resurrected the childish belief that when you get new trainers you can run faster. Only I don't have new trainers I have insoles because I am old and broken. And I can't run, let alone run faster because it hurts and I get out of breath. So brisk walking with insoles is now my new running.

It was my second hospital like visit in the last day or so. Yesterday after general mother's day lunch at my parents house, we went to visit Layla's dad who sadly had to spend the weekend in hospital due to a nasty infection. I don't usually write about family matters here as I don't want to embarrass anyone or invade their privacy but yesterday's incident was both embarrassing and an invasion of privacy so it seems ok. I know and get on with L's parents very well and I'm very fond of them both. Her dad in particular is a brilliant man, who while very tall, slow speaking and not the sharpest on technology is still very much one of the most highly respected members of his field. He is a man that has written many a revered study on his practice and as such he was in a very nice private hospital in Central London. I've never been in a private hospital before being a scabby poor oik, and I have to say I understand why them rich folks do it. The entrance was like a hotel with a swanky lobby, and all the rooms were en-suite with a flt screen tv and lots of comforts such as a menu for room service. I'm sure all these things are only good depending on what you are admitted for. For example I doubt the menu would be great for someone with gastroenteritus. You would just be throwing up even more expensive food. At least normal NHS fare seems like it was made to be brought back up.

Sadly Layla's dad's nasty infection was bladder based and therefore involved amongst doses of anti-biotics a catheter, one of the medical world's least fun devices. Despite this, and considering the surroundings and my relationship towards my one day father-in-law, I really did not expect that within minutes of sitting down, he would be throwing back his duvet and showing us how the catheter worked. He did this so he could explain his discomfort, which was the understandable bit, but in doing so completely exposed all the parts I really hoped that I would never be witness to. He loves to complain and it seems that this need to do so massively overrides exposing his genitals to extended members of the family. Layla's mum noticed this and quickly put the duvet back on but everytime it came to explaining how he was feeling he would just whip them out again. This stopped becoming disconcerting and eventually just very funny. In between laughing a lot I managed to work out places to stare at so I wouldnt get a long lasting image of the collective package. If I had done it would have meant that events with Layla's family would be slightly more awkward for ever more and I don't want that as her mum makes amazing food. It would be terrible if all I could think about while eating it was that.

The amazing thing is, how little of a shit Layla's dad gave about it and I'm not sure if this is an age thing. He is now 71 and I wonder if you hit a certain age and just think bollocks to it all. Pun intended. I remember when I used to go to the gym and while most members made an effort in the changing rooms to have a carefully placed towel there were two old men that never gave a shit and would happily swing their pieces around the room without a care. I'm not sure if I ever want to be that not bothered.

Got stuff to do today, like write Edinburgh blurb. I have already started and have for some reason put a pun about weaving in despite it not having anything to do with my show. You might say it was carefully woven in there. Or you might say, cut it out, its shit. Will get on with that now having fully removed all mental images of yesterdays surprise appearance and Saturday's gig too. Incidentally, here's Terry Saunders account of hell in Epsom:


and here's the official and very carefully written review. Still not sure if 'bulletproof confidence' is a good quote or not:


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Epsom Downs

Have you ever had something described to you that sounded like a great idea and then in reality it was the most horrific opposite you could imagine? Like the year me and Layla went to Turkey to a 'idyllic white sand beach in a quiet area' only to find its not so quiet with several thousand other people squashed on the beach with you while all the beach front shops compete with noise levels until 4am. Or the constant saying at gigs where the promoter tells everyone 'yeah it was packed last week', but when you get there 4 people are in a room for 500 and you still have to do the show and drive 4 hours home. Well last night was the worst error of judgement I, or any of the acts I was with have ever made.

' Would you like to do a Laughter In Odd Places gig in a house in Epsom that a lady bought for charity?' Immediately it sounds great. Laughter in Odd Places is a truly great gig and normally takes place in interesting and wonderful locations keeping its nights exciting for acts and punters. A house in Epsom? One that has suitable space for a gig in it? Sounds like it will be a plush location, a big house with a slap up feast and charity giving nice people as your audience. It was organised by a journalist who very much knows his comedy and has previously had a Laughter In Odd Places gig at his very own house. What could possibly go wrong?

Really we should have investigated it a bit more. The amount the lady gave to Children in Need for the gig was a paltry £165. As I read that back to myself, already alarm bells are ringing and I wish they had been before hand. £165 at a charity auction is rubbish, especially if you are getting a whole show for it. There are children out there crying and hungry wondering why they are not eating what they were promised or playing with the toys they were told they would get and it would be because of that shitty £165.

Myself, Terry Saunders and Fergus Craig arrived at the gig to see an orange woman shouting a very large dog. As we thought about calling the first act (whose name has been removed for security reasons and shall only be known as BG) to see if it was the right house, a bald man stuck his head out of the window and shouted 'You the comedians?' and then ran down to let us in. Inside it was bad. A handful of people, who without meaning to sound horrible and snobbish, immediately appeared to be the sort of crowd I wouldn't mingle with outside of a Lidl. We walked through the tiny table of sandwiches and Tesco Value Lemonade and booze, to the garden where the 'stage' was. A couple of steps, with a microphone on it, two disco lights and several kids running around looking like they would do anything between tag you and stab you. Brett found us and greeted us with the sort of grin someone gives you when they have a gun to their back and are being forced to look happy. He told us that he had already been given tips as to what to say. One woman was to be picked on because 'she's a right slag' and then they had told him a racist joke he could tell. Those alarm bells were about to split my eardrums open when the 'slag' ran past and made a joke about the large dog's dick being bigger than her husbands. I wanted to get straight back in the car and head home. It was not a nice atmosphere at all.

We formed a group huddle and discussed the show. There would be no intervals, our sets didn't have to last 20 minutes and if it all went wrong Terry would grab the bags, I'd get the car and the others would throw cutlery at anyone violent. The man of the house came up to us and asked if all was ok. He then said the most ironic statement of 2009 thus far ' I bet you weren't expecting this were you? I bet you thought it was gonna be a little shitty shed with a crapload of pikeys innit? Hahaha'. Its amazing how unaware of his surroundings he was. I'm not sure if he had sight and hearing defects but his abode was in no way a palace and the people scuttling around around him were the sort of people who would definitely not think twice before cheering on a dog fight in a caravan park. Now I understand I may be sounding quick to judge, but bear in mind I am speaking in past tense and my view of these people was about to descend even further. At this point last night, there was still a part of me that really thought they might be a nice crowd.

I am a fool for thinking so. Starting 15 minutes late after they shuffled out into the garden, each one of the 30 guests telling us we could be as blue as we liked, Terry took to the mic stand like the brave soldier he was. The sound was terrible and Terry tried his best to do friendly MC banter. This was immediately shouted down by the 'slag' shouting innuendos at every possible opportunity and man called Don having tourettes like explosions of Daily Mail headline chat. Terry persevered until the big dog came on stage, farted and then left giving the audience the biggest laugh so far. These were bad times. I overheard a man walk to the back of the garden and say on his phone 'No, he's not blue at all. He hasn't said any poof gags. Yeah, he's crap.' Terry should be massively proud of this. BG was up on stage next and fared well. This was partly because he took his usually clever set to its lowest level and bantered with the 'slag' for a while. The 'slag' clearly fancied him and cackled like a witch on several occasions which seemed to please the rest of the pack. He was still shouted at by Don, and the low point came when BG was talking about an incident with a gang, and before he could finish the sentence 'a gang of...', most of the room shouted 'blacks'. To BG's credit he called them racists which they didn't seem to like very much and then followed up with a rather funny paedophile gag that the crowd just got offended by. It was very obvious that they were of the Daily Mail ilk. Hating immigrants, homosexuals and unable to laugh at paedophile gags. There was a fine line between this and a BNP rally. I really thought about revving the car.

BG left the stage looking broken and saying that he had said things he never would have said before. He was the first casualty of war, and was clearly damaged and shell shocked. After a small bit of banter from Saunders, keeping the night together and another dog farting on him, Fergus stepped up to the mantle. Unashamedly telling them it was the weirdest night he'd ever done, he split the already small crowd by having some vaguely intelligent material. They did really like his accent bits but only because I think they misconstrued it as racist. It wasn't. They were. It was about now I was weighing up whether or not I wanted them to like me. If they hated my stuff, I would have a horrible night, but if they liked it, I would lose a lot of respect in my material. As Fergus battled on, it got worse for two reasons. One, it started getting really cold and two, Tom Craine rang me up with a nice other decent gig that paid well just 30 minutes away. I tried to think of ways I could get to that gig, but we were in it too deep and I couldn't let my people down. I didn't want to be known as the one that went AWOL while the others were mauled in Epsom. We were in this together.

Then finally I went onstage and used all the bits of material I thought they might get. I started by having a go straight away at Don who told me after I put him down that I 'had made a big mistake'. This is something I am still scared of right now. He was a 65 year old skinhead and I have a feeling has done more kneecappings than someone who makes hats for legs. There were no bouncers here and no sneaky backstage exit. We were trapped, in their garden. It was fight and not flight so I chose to continue to insult Don, using the age old trick of shouting 'All sex offenders to the back of the garden' as he got up to go to the loo'. I felt cheap but it worked. The rest of my set included a few bits of material and mostly some half arsed banter I could get from the people who were left. At 15 minutes I quickly closed my set and ran away. I said goodbye to the hosts and tried to gather up the boys but they were cornered and forced to eat some food. I kept re-iterating the lie that we had another gig to get to but it didn't work. I walked out refusing to eat anything because I've seen what's happened to Kerry Katona. I brought the car round to the front, called Terry, and made him shuffle them all out before we jumped in the car and drove away.

There was an audible sigh of relief as we pulled away. We had survived the most horrible gig ever, and we hadn't been killed by Don. It was a good effort made by everyone and as it didn't kill us (although it was a 'death' of sorts) we have become stronger and were we ever to be asked to do a gig like that again, I think each and every one of us would rudely decline. We all deserve dog tags or medals for a feat like that. God knows what Bruce will write about. He has to somehow convey the horror of the night without offending the hosts, although I can't imagine they will read it unless it accidentally got printed in the Sun, so maybe he's safe.

What a grim evening. Still it will be a tale to regale the grandkids with one day. 'Hey Grandad tell us again about the one where you shouted at the racist chavs in a garden in Epsom?' and there will be rejoicing from all. Thats if I don't suppress the memory and wake up screaming at night dreaming of Don's face learing over me about to give me a Chelsea smile. Which I have learnt recently most certainly isn't the smug look of a rich lady in a 4x4.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Fan Hater

Our new sofa is amazing. I am finally getting to spend some quality time with it today and I think things are going to work out just fine. Obviously like any relationship, there is going to have to be some give. Mainly on the sofa's side. Its so bouncy right now that I have to be careful when sitting on it incase I fly right off again. Its very good for jumping on, as per yesterday's jump test, but sadly we have rather low ceilings and now I have a sore head. The sofa men finally arrived about 3 o clock yesterday and told me that it was their 5 delivery of the day, out of 12 which made me feel guilty for complaining about being trapped indoors. I did wonder if they were making that up and had spent the day drinking tea and saying geezer type comments instead, but they seemed nice so I doubt it. I overcompensated with cockneying up my own voice for fear they would not think I was much of a geezer. I called them both 'mate' a lot, which was massively insincere. They asked if I had a day off and I told them I 'worked nights' without saying what it was I did. This garnered some respect from them both and a oh so hilarious comment about them ruining my beauty sleep. The piece-de-resistance however was when their electric drill ran out and they borrowed mine. I felt like I had confirmed my status as a man and then there was a comfortable silence as they finished the job with my tools and left. I'm sure as they got back into their van they said things like 'well there goes a man with tools and everything', 'bet he could've put the sofa together all by himself if he'd wanted' and 'I bet his night job is being a ninja'.

I'm not sure what's happened to me to cause this reaction lately but I've developed a problem with speaking to audience members during or after a show. I have always been one to suck up and enjoy all the attention of someone saying they liked what I did, but lately I can't deal with it at all. Last night a women ran up and gave me a big hug in the interval saying that she thought I was 'lovely'. I actually flinched a bit. I think this was mostly because she wasn't lovely. I mean, I'm sure on most occasions she is, but last night she was a drunk tit. Now, I, many a time, have loved a drunk tit, but being completely sober and in the middle of working it was just horrible, invasive and not particularly nice. I all but pushed her off, said thanks and then ran away. This has happened a lot recently. At a university gig a few weeks ago, I had a well timed loo visit while one of the acts was on. This normally ensures that no one from the audience will be in the loos and so I will avoid any unnecessary chat. Unfortunately within seconds of me entering, someone else entered, and stood at the urinal next to mine. Already this is against all toilet etiquette. Then he did the big no-no, and spoke to me while in the action of pissing. He said 'Alright mate? You're well funny'. That was a nice thing to say in any other situation but not when we can see each others cocks. I was then unable to pee, grunted in response and ran away. The sort of action that had the sofa men known about they would have laughed at in disgust. What I would have much preferred was if these people hadn't talked to me at all. I'm scared that I am becoming a recluse. Next time you see me gig, maybe you should stroll up and speak to me to stop me living in a shed by the sea and never speaking to anyone again.

The taps in the toilets at the gig last night made a sound uncannily like a trapped kitten. This has disturbed me ever since I heard it. What if there was trapped kitten in their somehow? And every time I wash my hands I'm drowning it? Its a tough call but cleanliness comes first, so I washed them a few times to make sure. The sound kept happening. That cat was resilient.

I've got an interesting gig tonight. Its a Laugher In Odd Places show in someone's living room in Epsom. I hope its nice and I don't get too comfy and act like I do in my living room. Otherwise I may start putting my feet up and watching TV when I should be gigging. I might even bring my comfy PJs and some ovaltine. Hope their sofa is as good as ours.

Final note: Are you London based and if so what are you doing Tuesday lunchtime? You do hate the Daily Mail don't you? Yep I thought so because you appear sensible and not a racist bigot. Anyway there is a demo outside their offices courtesy of Mark Thomas. Have a lookie here (second item down) and will see you there!


Friday, March 20, 2009

Between 8 and 5

The sofa men are coming today. They are bringing our comfy new sofa and putting it in our living room so I can sit on it. I am looking forward to the new item of comfort being introduced into the flat, but I am a tad miffed that my entire day must be spent indoors until these people arrive. We were told that they might turn up anywhere between 8am and 5pm. Thats quite a large span of time in which they have given themselves to arrive. I'm sure it used to be 9 and 5 but they've added a whole extra hour at the wrong end of the day. I understand that they may get caught in traffic or take longer with some deliveries than others but they must have some sort of schedule? Or do they just sit in the van and randomly point their finger at a name until there are none left? Maybe they have a wheel of fortune application on their satnav? I feel like my whole day is ruined. Its not like I was planning to do anything in particular until my gig anyway, but if I was then I wouldn't be able to do it. The sofa men have ruined my possibilities. I could have been planning anything important for today, like I said I'm not and its unlikely I would have done, but I might've. Because these sofa men have limited organisational skills I have to sit in all day and wait for them as though its not a problem or inconvenience on my day. Which its not. But it still annoys me. Its only a matter of time before they start saying 'some point next week', or 'between 8 and 5 on a day within the next 6 months' and then the whole world will stop just waiting for the sofa men. Well those people without sofas would anyway.

I feel a bit complainy today. I'm in the process of sending a letter to our bank explaining that the only reason we go over our overdraft limit every month is because they charge us for going over which knocks us over the limit which they then charge us for. I'm sure they realise this and its all part of their evil plan. Well, I won't have it anymore. I am sending a polite letter which they can then read and ignore, then I shall return to the treacherous circle of bank charging once more. But I'll feel better about it all thanks to the letter. I don't even have any stamps to post a letter which would mean going outside to get one. I can't do that incase the sofa arrives. Even if I did have a stamp I couldn't walk to the post box incase the sofa arrives. Once again the sofa men control my day. I feel oppressed by furniture. This is technically house arrest, just house furnishings arrest.

Last night was one of those sort of gigs where backstage banter and journey was much more fun than the show itself. It wasn't a bad show but it wasn't a good show either. It was just there. The staff were lovely and the venue was great but we ended up performing to 50 people in a 200 seater venue. As its normally a music venue the stage was very high up and well lit meaning that you could very clearly see how empty it was. It was like being at a music gig for a failing unpopular musician who had no-one but his hardcore following there. Except in our hardcore following there were two women who talked all the way through and lots of people eating crisps loudly, just to make everyone seem really focused. Like I said it wasn't terrible. My set was made a little bit worse by being under the assumption I was MCing until 15 minutes before we went on and I was told not to MC but just to do a set. I'm sure many better comedians could switch in a second, but I have three main mindsets for doing a gig. One is being prepared for banter and MCing, one is a slightly structured set, and the other is the feeling I get when I'm a bit confused and don't really want to be there. Last night I ended up somewhere between all of them and just bumbled through it. Tom Wrigglesworth had a much nicer set with his tale of valour on a Virgin train and then we escaped early leaving Rufus Hound to deal with the un-hordes alone. The first two minutes we caught sounded like he dealt with them just fine.

On the plus side the venue paid for us to get some grub from the local Chinese and the backstage area was a whole apartment for the acts. This would have been even nicer had the venue manager not sat there the whole time and regaled us with tales of how he was bankrupt but turned the venue around. I'm never a fan of such tales but even less so when there is no audience. It must have been in minus figures before he 'turned it around'. I can only imagine there were several black holes appearing in the seating areas. Still, had a good journey with Tom on the journey there and back, where he taught me the evils of caffeine which has led directly to me not having a cup of tea this morning. At the moment I am missing that cup of tea, but I have been assured that later I will sleep better and enjoy it. This might be true although there is the possibility I might wake up lots dreaming about not having tea.

Bedford tonight which should be nice. At least there will be people there. Of course if the sofa hasn't been delivered I may never get to leave my house.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I am about to saw our sofa in half. I can't tell you how excited I am about doing that. Its another notch on manly things I have done, alongside putting up some shelves incorrectly, blowing all the electrical circuitry by putting a light in wrongly and snoring. While I like trying to be all dad-like and trying haphazardly to repair and fix things, I much prefer the notion of breaking the crap out of stuff. I still recall the good days when my brother would make something out of building blocks and I could kick it down, or the game Crossbows and Catapults which just involved firing pellets at a wall until I broke. Once, on a really special day, I was allowed to push over a wall while doing the only bit of manual labour I'd ever done in my life. The wall's supports had been removed so it was up to me to just push it over and break it. I consider that one of the best days I've ever had. It might worry you to know I have this side, but its perfectly harmless. Unless you are some junk and you look at me funny, then I will smash you up! Apparently there is a place in East London where you can just go and break some junk with a bat. I would like to go there, but until then, I am very happy sawing our sofa in two. I have it all planned. I am going to choose some specifically angry music: Rage Against The Machine, Onyx, Wu-Tang, early DMX before he became crap. I will also, for my own sake, also periodically say to myself out loud 'sofa so good', chuckle, then chop it the fuck up. Very exciting stuff.

The only thing that scares me slightly is the events of last night. First came the spilling of boiling hot water all over my right foot. I think it was my kettle retaliating at being boiled for the third time in a row and it just shot the water everywhere. My ninja like reflexes meant my face was fine but my foot hurt a lot. I've never before wished that I had Pot Noodles and Cup-A-Soups strapped to my feet. It would be cumbersome but I would have avoided burns and got a tasty treat out of the incident. I had to sit all through 24 with some frozen peas on the burnt toes, which is not what Jack Bauer would have done. Strangely though my foot is fine this morning which proves peas are magical. Peas to the world I say. Peas not war and all that.

After kettlegate, I managed to spill shaving oil all over the bathroom floor. I wasn't even trying to shave the bathroom. Then, as all these things happen in three's, just as I was getting into bed, I dropped and smashed a glass all over the floor and got a little bit in my leg. Layla was most displeased by being woken up with the sound of glass smashing and made a noise as though the house was being broken into. Then she noticed me looking all sad and a broken glass with orange squash everywhere and her noise just turned instead to one of annoyed disappointment. Meanwhile our cat Rosie just strolled in and started licking up the squash despite the shards of glass. This really worries me about our cats. Last summer they spent a lot of time eating bees. One of them really loves bombay mix and now one eats glass. I'm convinced they were cross bred with a goat and that French bloke who eat bikes and light bulbs. All these events have worried me about today's sawing. @nwoolhouseuk on Twitter commented that it was like a scene from Final Destination. It sort of was although my acting and script was better. If Death was after me though, there has never been a better opportunity than while I'm holding a saw listening to angry music. Saying that, Death would also know I'm meant to be in Southampton tonight which is a far worse punishment than sawing off my own face.

I walked past a man who was possibly dead yesterday. He was lying under a duvet on the street with one hand poking out like the sort of reaching hand in a zombie film. His head was in a pile of puke and there was absolutely no movement. Of course I assume it was a whole man, but I could only see the hand. It could have been a pile of boxes and junk with a sawn off hand carefully placed. I walked over wondering whether I should do something, but then as I got close I smelt the puke and decided to just do the very British thing and leave him there. I know this might sound immorally wrong but the puke smelt really bad. Later my friend Sam told me that man had flashed at our friends Ben and Jo, so if he was dead it was probably a bit deserved. I mean, flashing should not be punished by death by my guilty apathy must be appeased somehow. Sometimes you have to justify this moments of inhumanity by going all Catholic on the victim. I love how religious venom and unreason has its moments.

Hopefully there will be no such moral moments today, nor will I saw my arm, leg or face off in a frenzy. No instead I will just walk away from the pile of wood and material feeling like the wrecker of comfort, the slayer of settees, the SOFA GLADIATOR! And then I will go to Southampton and it will all go wrong.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sickness and Sunshine

I should really go outside today. I haven't got a reason to go outside but there is the innate British part of me that is saying I must see a bit of the sunshine. I saw it yesterday, lots of people parading around in shorts and t-shirts as though it was the height of summer. The actual temperature was given away to careful observer by all the goose pimples on these peoples arms and legs and the look of realisation at how cold they were. I know its a bit chilly outside and I also know that sunshine does not make my area any nicer to stroll around in. Its not as though I live by luscious woodlands, or a stream or something. I live by Seven Sisters Road, and strolling along that just means I'll probably get lung cancer from all the fumes. Or stabbed by a child. Yet I have that odd little voice in my head saying that if I don't go outside today I might never see the sunshine again. I remember last year when I nearly got rickets thanks to rainfall in Edinburgh and I have a deep fear that I may never see it again. At the same time, I need to do stuff on the computer and until they invent the internets on grass, trees and bushes, or create a laptop with a screen you can see when its sunny, then I may as well stay indoors. Going outside also means I have to put on proper clothes instead of my pajamas. Although I do live by Seven Sisters Road so I doubt that many people would notice if I didn't.

Fat Tuesday was lovely as always last night. An extremely strong bill with a nice and slightly rowdy but not nasty crowd. They mostly consisted of students, with the three noisiest ones being medical students. This always worries as to the future of the NHS. I got booed when I said I was diabetic (it wasnt meant for that bit but it got booed nonetheless) and Ray Peacock got asked a loud 'Why?' when he said he had been discharged from hospital to be at our gig. Neither of those are nice bedside manner responses and I fear all patients of that future doctor. With any luck they'll just become a GP and that sort of rudeness will be expected. Ray had actually left hospital to do our gig, a fact that made me both very happy at how much top acts want to play Fat Tuesday, but also extremely concerned throughout the whole show incase he keeled over. I think that getting ill is the only downside of comedy. You don't get sick pay so you have to keep working and often acts will get onstage feeling like they might vomit or die everywhere. I did a gig once in the deep dark depths of Bangor in North Wales that involved going onstage after 6 and half hours of straight driving with no breaks. I had started to get quite a bad headache towards the end of the journey and then felt really sick. As we left the car I had to run to the loo and be sick. Three times. Then I ran backstage with a pounding headache and tried to snooze for 20 minutes before I went onstage and compared the first half. As each act went on, I ran back to the green room for more sicking and mini-sleeps. I felt terrible. But onstage I acted normal. Of course all the students wondered why I was so pale and smelt of sick, but no one ever questioned it. I presume that is the criteria for a normal person in Bangor. In any other job I would have been sent home, but unfortunately that would have meant driving 6 hours all the way back and I don't think that was much of an option either.

If Ray had keeled over last night I'm not 100% sure what I would have done. Part of me would have though 'Ooh better call an ambulance' while the other part would have thought 'this is great publicity for our gig'. Ray survived, which I thought was all rather selfish and now there is no way we'll get in the Guardian. Not only did Ray stay ok but he, Danielle Ward, and Luke Toulsen were all brilliant, as was the 20 mins of new material from Russell Howard. In fact it was annoyingly good considering it was all new. I did some new stuff, which didn't work quite as well. I'm not bitter or anything. Well I am though. Bitter and anything. Must work harder methinks. There shall be no work today though. I've got a night off which is all rather good. It means I can assure Layla I still exist and catch up on such priorities as seeing what Jack Bauer does next and maybe even watch some more of the Wire. Before that, you never know, I might even go outside.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New Gags, Student and Comedy Vehicles

Hooray real comedy is back on the tellybox! I hope you enjoyed Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle as much as I did. It was as funny as I hoped it would be and watching it was like a breath of fresh comedy air. I didn't love all the sketches but Stew's stand-up was brilliant. He did most of that material at Fat Tuesday back in October but it still made me laugh as hard. Lets hope that this heralds a new start to comedy on television. Although I'm sure in reality it won't get that many viewings as people won't get it as it hasn't got vague racism, shit catchphrases and someone wobbling their fat gut and the bbc will replace it with something horrendous like the best of My Family presented by Horden and Corne.

I threw out some new gags last night which was fun. Old Rope's always a top night, but as Stephen Merchant was on last night it was more packed than usual. Being busy is something you would normally enjoy at a gig, but for me trying out new material in front of them just means there are more people to tell you its shit. Luckily about 60% of my stuff seemed to work which made me pleased as it was a mix of Ed show stuff and some other bits. One of them was about the financial market and now I feel all a bit clever. I also did a gag about Mark Kermode and about 5 people got it which made me feel more clever. Then I ended on a Twitter/rape gag which no one liked and I felt like a fool again. Its not as easy as it looks this comedy lark I tell ya. I made a swift exit feeling rather proud of some of my new gags and raced over to the Paramount Student Comedy Awards at the Comedy Store.

I was heading over particularly to catch Laura Lexx who has joined the comedy world through doing the same comedy course on the Kent Drama Degree as I did. I feel a degree of loyalty to my fellow Kent comedians as there are very few of us. At the moment, to my knowledge, there is only myself, Jimmy McGhie and technically three of the Pappy's boys although they didn't do Drama and just went to Kent so it doesn't really count. Although they were nominated so we will let them join in if they want to just to make us all look better. Sadly I arrived at the Store just in time to catch the final act of the competition, and completely miss Laura and all the other acts. The one I did see though, was Ian Sterling, a young Scottish chap. He was only 21 and already had all the confidence of someone who has been gigging for years. He also had some pretty good jokes too. It terrified me. How is he that good that young? Then on speaking to Robin Ince who was judging, he said they had all been very very good. My fellow professional comedians we should be scared. One of the best bits of advice I was ever given was that doing comedy isn't a race with anyone but yourself. I think that's incredibly sensible, but it took me two years to get as confident as these young uns and I fear they will overtake us all very quickly. I think it could just be that the whole night made me feel very old. They were all so full of enthusiasm and excitement which I miss sometimes. Of course it will all change when they inevitably have to wait 8 months for a cheque and do gigs that make them question the state of humanity. I stayed for Jon Richardson's set which was ace as always, and then the results. Laura got runner up which was brilliant and I hear the guy that won it was really good and deserving of the award. I'm sure they will all become key features on the circuit very soon, and when they do I will insist on making them as bitter as the rest of us as quickly as possible, don't you worry.

The penultimate Fat Tuesday tonight before we take a two month break while the bar closes for refurbishment. Should be another good one. Will break out the Twitter gag again and see what happens. Lets hope its not starey silence. Again.

Monday, March 16, 2009

More Sleep Please

Bloody hell, how good is sleep? I had some of that last night and think I might have to have more at some point soon. Not sure what I like most about it yet, whether its the bit when you sleep or the bit when you wake up decide you're still knackered from Glasgow and go back to sleep. I also quite like the bit when you wake up and go 'Yeah I did some of that sleeping malarky!' I didn't get home till far too late last night and felt a bit like Glasgow had broken me. In a nice way, but broken nonetheless. I have understood that I am clearly getting older as two nights of solid drinking and little sleep has taken its toll on me like a vengeful toll booth. I am very afraid about Edinburgh this year as that is 30 days of solid drinking and no sleep. I think I will actually die. I might start drinking water and having extra sleep now just to cope. Its a shame you can't build up a reserve of these things. I'd quite like to sleep for a week now and then not sleep at all through Edinburgh. I bet when the future arrives you'll be able to do that. That will be one of the first things they make possible along with moon shoes and normal everyday items that look like they've been covered in tin foil.

I can't sleep this week as its another relentless week of gigging. If I wasn't busy I'd be miserable about not having any work, but being busy is annoying as I'd like to sleep, see Layla, play Xbox and be a lazy arse. Of course if I was doing that I'd then be miserable that I was doing that. I think I have to realise I am very hard to please. Tonight is Old Rope which I haven't done for a little while. I really love that gig but the thing I always regret about booking myself into it is it means I have to do some work and write new gags. I don't think I have any for tonight and so this afternoon will be spent writing half-arsed jokes that won't work and therefore ruining the point of me doing a gig where I try new material. I will still do it though as I'm a glutton for punishment and if I stayed at home I'd get sad I wasn't trying out half-arsed jokes at a gig. I really do wonder if I have issues.

I'm also really looking forward to Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle tonight on BBC2. If you are in tonight you should watch it, and if you are not in then you should cancel what you are doing and watch it. Unless you are coming to Old Rope then you should go out and watch it on iplayer. I am very happy to shamelessly promote Stew's show because I'm 100% sure it's going to be one of the best things on TV for a very long time. The reason for this is because Stew wrote it and made all the decisions about it instead of some clueless fuckwit getting a bunch of people who've never worked together to write a show no one likes but statistically seems to do well because the TV people think its too bland to be hated. I'm sure some of my criticism of TV is because I'm not on it, an error I constantly think should be rectified as I would probably fix all the TV's by being on them. But a large part of my upset towards comedy programs is that I like watching them and I know many many very funny people with very funny ideas who don't get to put them on the tellybox because My Family and Grown Ups are gently pleasing people with no taste everywhere. It generally seems to be the case that people who are actually good at being funny don't get to make shows much, and instead its all handed to people who all seem to think comedy is a fat man shaking his stomach around as a punchline to everything. So please watch Stew's show tonight and make a point of getting the ratings up for a show that will most definitely deserve it. And if, for some mental unexpected reason it's rubbish then you can come and take all my sleep away as punishment. It won't be, so prepare to lose suckers.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Glasgow Part 2 and 3 Abridged

This is the first computer I've managed to get to all day for blogging purposes. There was a computer in our hotel lobby but its advertisement as 'high speed' was a lie. It perhaps was high speed in the 1980's, but after typing two paragraphs and watching them slowly appear in front of me over 3 minutes, I decided that it would have been quicker to attach a blog to a pigeon and throw it in the direction of the blogger offices. I am now in Glasgow airport using one of the few computers I can find and it happens to be by a small 3 year old girl that is throwing the sort of tantrum protest that the burning monks who protested against Vietnam would have been in awe of. She doesnt appear to need to set herself on fire as she is just lying down, bashing her hands and feet on the floor and making the sort of wailing noise only bats and dogs can hear. Her mum is just standing there looking defeated. Its a horrible and yet enjoyable sight.

I also only have 11 minutes to type this as I only had enough for that amount of time. The credit crunch has obviously hit Glasgow so hard that time is now purchasable. So as a result I'm afraid this will be a slight blog fob off with extremely brief accounts of the last 48 hours in Glasgow:

My Glasgow accent is so believable that I can avoid getting punched in a noodle bar at 3.30am by being drunk enough to think that its funny to pretend not to be from London.

The Stand in Glasgow is now only of my favourite venues ever.

Frankie Boyle brought his children along to Comedy 4 Kids. I'm not sure what they thought but I am worried that they were disappointed by the lack of swearing.

Jude, Sarah and Helen are much better drinkers than me.

If you are going to plan a trip to Glasgow try not to do it when the biggest local football team game is happening.

I met another Twitterererer in the real world. Lovely to meet you @misswizz and thanks for the lift and not killing us by driving into a bus.

Susan Calman has the best mini ever.

The Old Fruitmarket is not where they sell elderly homosexuals like Peter O Toole.

Paul Sinha will not stop correcting my grammer. I can't work out if this is because he is pedantic, or if I speak like a child. Probably both.

Silky said both 'gobshite' and 'paulayatesisabigfatdeadlezza' at Comedy 4 Kids. We are awaiting the complaints, although he did say them fast so we hope no one noticed.

Anyone with Tiernan in their name as first or surname is ace.

It is impossible to go a whole weekend in Scotland without getting in a cab with a racist cab driver.

Rich gets far too upset about having a limp flag.

I had a 'energy boosting' smoothie that actually worked. I know. Who'd have thought?

Right, the little 'you have two minutes' thingy has popped up so that's all. Will put more interesting things in tomorrow's blog when I stop sleeping. I am going to sleep a lot. Now I'm off to fight for my seats on Easyjet. Its such a shame you can't take riot sheilds through customs.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Glasgow Part 1

Not feeling too well today, which is all self inflicted. You know that your life has hit an all time low when you find yourself in a Gala Casino at 5.30am drinking whiskey that tastes as thought it's been distilled in a urinal. It's amazing how in a city such as Glasgow the only establishment that is open for boozing after 3am is the sort of place where grey faced gambling addicts drink watered down bile in a venue with too many bright lights and a carpet that would easily disguise people's vomit within its haphazard pattern. As it was all there was, our troup of five brave alcoholics threw aside all taste and dignity, until at 5.30am a moment of clarity hit us, we realised where we were and all stumbled back. We should've known that would happen when at 5ish a very drunk man asked us if he could take our spare seat. Assuming he meant take it elsewhere, we said yes and so he plonked himself down by us and then rattled on about how he hated being an RE teacher. We agreed and told him it was a shit job until eventually he fell asleep in his own hands and we all laughed at his stupid sleeping face and left him by himself as we all snuck away.

It was Friday the 13th yesterday but I gave superstition a massive smack in the chops by having a really good day. For a start I caught a plane. Take that 13 fearers! A plane! You know why I did those things? Because 13 being a unlucky number is a pile of lies. In fact back in bygone pagan times 13 was a magic number, and that was why there were always 13 witches in a coven and why, later on in popular fiction, Jesus had 12 disciples and himself. Although he wasn't that lucky with the old nails and stuff so maybe they were onto something. Being a staunch atheist and a cynic I just see the 13th as another sodding day that will probably be shit like all the rest of them.

It was a pretty good day though. My easyjet flight was bearable, then the days events rolled out from then on rather nicely. The cab driver who took me from the airport to my hotel actually had interesting chat, neither racist or angry. Then I ran straight to meet the Comedy Demon folk where we interviewed Marcus Birdman and Paul Sinha which was much fun, even though they consistently corrected my grammar. That never happened to Parky. From there we grabbed food that I didn't pay for, then met my friend Robin who walked with me to my 1st gig. The walk was much much further than we thought it would be but it meant we actually caught up a bit which was nice. Then gigs 1 to 3 were all great. 2 was the best, and in fact it was so good it made 3 and 1 pale in comparison. There is nothing like the peak you get when you go from a room with 40 nice people to a room with 300 great people. Then there is nothing quite like the anti-climax you get when you go from those 300 great people to 25 tired and drunk people. The last gig was fun, but you could sense that everyone, whilst enjoying the show, would have enjoyed a snooze even more. I love being only half appreciated. What was really great was that youtube people filmed the last gig. Not the second gig with 300 great people, but the second gig. Expect a clip of me being mediocre online soon.

I stayed at the last gig to watch Paul Sinha rip it with his new gags, all of which was good stuff and if its any indication of his Edinburgh show this year, it will be brilliant. He actually made most of the crowd wake up and have fun, although I think this could have been because they all had a nice snooze while I was on to recharge. Then drinking started and after a nice bar, followed by standing in our hotel lobby shouting at the staff for not having the bar open, we ended up at the casino of grot with less people than we started with but a strongly alcohol driven team nonetheless.

And now, I feel tired and a tad destroyed. This will no doubt be helped by having to do Comedy 4 Kids in an hour. There really is nothing like getting screamed at by children while your head is pounding and you feel like being sick. Must leave the blog here, lots more to tell, but I am using the Comedy Demon laptop in Rich's room which is needed for filming stuff. If that wasn't a tad awkward anyway, the cleaner just walked in and gave us a look which said 'gay couple', then noticed the camera on the side. Still it means she won't disturb Rich too early tomorrow morning for check out.

I will leave you with my favourite text I have had in ages. At one point we bumped into post Mooners Maxwell, Tim Fitzhigham and Alex from the Store. They had already consumed vast amounts and we tried to persuade them to come with us to our hotel bar as Alex was staying there, but we somehow lost them on the way. Texting Alex to find out where he'd got to, I received this:

'Thistle with Irish people. They are feral.'

That was the last we heard of him.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Hopefully You'll Be Funny

I embark on my weekend in Glasgow in about 4 hours. I did want to get the train to help the planet and all that but earth saving costs twice as much as destroying it so I'm sadly making my carbon footprint the size of a yeti's shoe and taking Easyjet. I like taking Easyjet as its often a far from Easy experience and I'm waiting for the right flight that is so rubbish that I can send a letter getting them on false pretenses. Its not easy fighting for a chair, or paying £5 for a nasty sandwich, or sitting in chairs that are so uncomfortable you walk like hunchback for two days after or having half a ton of hidden tax costs on top of your flight costs. But this is all worth it compared to paying all of your life's savings for one train journey. I often feel like GNER and Virgin are actively trying to make the skies burn. I think this might be why Branson is so eager to get to the moon.

The show in High Wycombe last night was easy, although I didn't think it would be. This was mainly because when I arrived the techie enquired whether I'd been at the gig before. When I replied no he said 'You'd better watch out, comedians have left here in tears cos the crowd are so tough. Hopefully you'll be funny.' Now if he had said it in a jokey or sarcastic manner that would have been fine, but he didn't. He said it like a cock-sure man who felt like he had to ruin the night for other people. Normally I like techies. They tend to have a pretty good sense of humour and generally be quite fun people unless you start talking about lighting specifications then you can get stuck there for hours nodding at words such as 'parcan' and 'Fresnel' and not ever really know what they mean. But this techie was a dick, a proper bonafide dick. If anything he made me angry and so I decided that I would try my best to kick the arse out of the show just to make him feel like a twat. Then I wondered if it was him being all clever with reverse psychology and if I should be really crap and leave crying to make him feel guilty. All the other staff were lovely and the venue was brilliant, a lovely big 270 seater room. It was called the Hellfire Comedy Club and the stage had been decorated accordingly with a big devil and pretend fires which was ace and the right amount of naff in a good way. Micky Flanagan arrived and after some chat about how much money we were going to throw away in Edinburgh he told me in a nice way that the crowd could be a tad tough. So I put on my tough gear head on, which is exactly the same as my normal head only with a slight stare that makes people bacdafucup. It doesn't. It just makes them think I have an eyesight problem.

In the first ten minutes of being on stage it became rather obvious that you couldn't ask for a nicer gig. The crowd were brilliant, and only heckley in a helpful way. They all also seemed to have jobs that were made for me to ask them about including a man who worked as an Employment Law Consultant. This meant people go to him when they want to sack someone. He is the only person in the current climate that is raking it in. I repeatedly pointed at the devil onstage and made comparisons. We also had a man who worked in the Fire Officer Training Centre setting fire to stuff so firemen could put it out. There were many questions about did he also throw cats up trees etc and terrible puns about touching the firemen's hoses. It was like this gig was meant to be. Micky Flanagan then went up and stormed it for 45 minutes. I swear that Micky's gag about fingering will never ever stop being funny. Then after the interval I assumed it would all be good again, and it was, right up until I introduced Jeff Green on. I had just done some gags that had gone down well, and then got the crowd clapping and cheering for Jeff. As I turned to shake his hand I knocked my entire pint of water all over the stage and immediately lost any credibility I had. Its amazing how you can go from a high to feeling like a massive clutz within seconds. I walked off stage very quickly, where the manager presented me with a 'Caution Wet Floor' sign to put on the stage for a laugh. It was a good idea and would have been funny but I wussed out. I hadn't worked with Jeff before and didn't know if he'd mind me walking on again after I'd already ruined his intro. We both had shitty colds and the lazy bit of me just wanted to sit and wait t go home. I couldn't help wondering though that my lack of risk taking and my abundance of laziness had robbed the crowd of some giggles. To justify it, I thought that I was probably robbing that techie of more laughs too and hoping that was the case I felt much better. I also hope he gets electrocuted when putting the mic away due to all the water. If there is any justice that will happen. Then the Employment law man could get him sacked.

Can't blog for too long today as I need to pack and fly oop Nooorrth. I have been told by some Glaswegians that it is not that cold up there, but they are able to survive arctic temperatures so I 'not that cold' is probably so bad that birds are freezing mid-air and shattering on the ground. I'm not taking any more risks. I've got my ski goggles and snow shoes ready, come on Glasgow!