As I am, by far, my favourite subject to wax lyrical about, I’ve clearly been busy if I haven’t had the time to write another MY Comic Life since April. After all, the whole point of MY Comic Life blogs – besides being a means of giving readers an insight into the life of a comic – is that they also double up as an excellent excuse for me to talk about myself.
So yes it’s been busy. I’ve performed my new show, Always Younger (you see, I wasn’t kidding about me being my favourite subject) which went well despite the fact I still haven’t written an ending for it. Hopefully I will have done by the time I take it to the Birmingham Comedy Festival in October. (Here’s hoping). Otherwise it may be a slightly shorter show than advertised.
I also screened the short film Pastry, in which I have a lead role, to a MY Comedy London audience. It’s a marvellous film where in one scene I eat various cakes in what I considered, at the time, to be a sexy and alluring manner. However, just as at a previous screening, the MY Comedy London audience took me being sultry as a form of low comedy and pissed themselves laughing. So much for my inherent sex appeal.
I also gave my first talk to the wonderful Media Hub, set up by Sarah Parfitt in Cookham. Sarah asked me if I could talk about myself and my career to the good folks at the Hub. Me talk about myself? Not a problem. For twenty minutes, Sarah expounded. I believe Sarah thought I might find twenty minutes quite daunting. As we all know, when it comes to me talking about me, limiting myself to twenty minutes was the real challenge. Nevertheless, much to my surprise, I managed it and a great evening was topped off by a lot of cake.
I also had dinner one night with the producer of the fab show The Naked Magicians. As some of you may know, I had the fantastic job of supporting these guys during their month-long residency in the West End last year. Not surprisingly, the best job in stand up I’ve ever had. Obviously it’s always good to impress those who can give you work, so I’m not convinced that managing to get a balloon stuck between the back of my neck and my coat as we went to leave the restaurant was the look I should have been aiming for but Sam took it well and with an equanimity which was as surprising as it was impressive.
In further news and despite no demand whatsoever (apart from around 25 ‘avid listeners’) Jen Brister and I continue to blog about Outlander. We’re now on Season 2 despite Season 1 currently being shown on More 4 and Season 3 on Amazon Prime. Yes, that’s right: both Jen and I are blogging about the one season that isn’t being screened as a weekly show either by terrestrial television or on an internet TV service. (Don’t ask).
We’ve also decided to vlog. As with the podcasts, it would be fair to say (as well as highly accurate) that they have hardly gone viral but Jen and I have great fun recording them. I suspect, as with the podcasts, Jen and I probably have more fun recording them than our ‘avid listeners’ do listening to them.
Though saying that I was shocked when I had no sooner arrived in Edinburgh to do a gig with the wonderful Vladimir McTavish only to be stopped on the stairs and recognised as ‘the woman from the podcast’. I was then informed by my interlocutor that both she and her friend love the podcast even though she has never actually watched Outlander. Not only was I thrilled that I’d actually met not one but two people who had listened to the damn thing, it also meant the number of our ‘avid listeners’ had gone up by around 10% in one fell swoop. On hearing the news, Jen was slightly sceptical though I suspect from the tone in her voice that she may have feared I was in danger of becoming delusional.
Another highlight of the summer was performing at the Bradford Literature Festival. It’s worth checking the festival out, as it hosts a wide variety of events including comedy. After sell out shows in previous years we were moved to the Alhambra Studios this time round where we sold out again. All the comics had great gigs. The headliner Jo Enright was wonderful as always but I love the fact that the Festival is so supportive of inviting top-notch circuit comics to perform who might not have a TV profile but who are absolutely hilarious. People were stunned by the intelligent and insightful comedy of Inder Manocha, while Stefano Paolini had the whole theatre in hysterics, particularly, when in a real tour de force, he performed in several foreign languages in different regional accents. And I didn’t do too badly either!
And while talking of comics with TV profiles, the apparent need for some comedy clubs to feature comics with a TV profile in order to get punters in is perhaps one of the more pernicious trends in stand up today. Believe me, there are a lot of great comics out there who will probably never get a chance to appear on a TV screen anytime soon. The whys and wherefores is an article all in itself.
And if you want to start an energetic debate among comics, then ask them who they think should and shouldn’t be on the telly. And though there may well be a toing and froing between comics about the rights and wrongs of several TV comics’ careers the one constant will be that most comics believe they should count among their number.
Therefore it was great to go to a recording of Live at the Apollo and see a comic that no one can argue deserves to be known by a wider audience: my old mucker Jen Brister. Besides being a fantastic performer, Jen has an enviable turnover of material which meant she had a wealth of great jokes to choose from. She completely owned the stage (and that’s some stage), had a great gig and she finished on my favourite joke of hers – ever. She even wore a blouse for the occasion! So keep an eye out for her performance next year. You never know, with her new-found fame our avid listeners may go stratospheric and hit the middle 30s.