On occasion, I am asked to give advice to young comedians. I am of an age where my grey hair and stoop accidentally suggests wisdom, or creates the illusion I have survived this far in SHOWBUSINESS.
My first advice is – “Get out of it! We want another go and if you whippers and snappers do it, we decayed remnants of once fertile minds will be left in the corner, dusty and weeping”.
My second bit of advice if their hankering to be fools remains is – “always carry a spare sandwich in your duffel coat pocket (other coats are available)”. Tonight was the funeral of Your Culture is Ailing, Your Art is Dead, one of the trilogy of failed nights I started with hope in heart back in January. I had spent the afternoon being interviewed by the delightful Geoff Lloyd at Absolute Radio , the interviewing the anecdote and experience wurlitzer that is Barry Cryer, and in between, listening to Max Wall battling to make jokes about hotels work to an unimpressed 1950s audience (I am working on a radio documentary about comedians and happiness).
Once at The Old Queen’s Head, I knew my reserves of mental energy were depleted and my emotional spectrum was monochrome. The unstructured days of “doing odd stuff” means you see no reason why you should be woozy, after all, you ate a sandwich a mere 7 hours ago. So sadly, as I strode on stage and allowed my mind to make decisions on how to start the show, I watched in despair as it made the wrong decisions and I sensed a confusion in the room. Joanna Neary was brilliant as usual, and I managed to create a semblance of sanity as I interviewed Alexei Sayle on art and fury. I knew I was not as I should be, but not as mad as I could be. Like me, Sara Pascoe had doubled up an MC gig with solo slots like ones at Art is Dead. She created something masked and involving, then we both departed to are poorly thought out other gigs.
At Lolitics, I pondered on what may occur. Would I stand mute in the spotlight, weep and howl, or showoff as I was meant to. A banana was distraught and alone in the shelving area which marks out the pretense of an off stage area from the audience seats. I asked around and was informed it had, in all probability, been left stranded by a psychobilly band long departed.
I ate it.
It offered my brain enough to get my leaping and projecting.
Later, I would find out that it was actually the banana of MC and promoter Chris Coltrane. he berated me for consuming his banana. Not so socialist with his tropical fruit. I hope he doesn’t collapse on the tube home. Sitting on the train at Euston, feeling seesaw-ish and Eeyore-ish, I saw an email about this Christmas’s Hammersmith gigs. If the guest it was from confirms, we will have one of the best secret guests ever. That UnEeyeored me. So remember kids, carry a spare banana.
New Christmas show at Hammersmith with Brian Cox, me, and lots of secret guests is HERE
I am across UK with my brain and mind show – Bridgwater, Goole, Barton, Henley on Thames, Southport and plenty more HERE