Thanks to Gordon Hodgson for capturing this now-familiar sight from the GRV gents. At least, for the last two days, nobody has attempted to defy the clear instruction.
Secret Dancing was a joy, despite an encroaching sore throat, which may be a symptom of emotional exhaustion, or just spending too much time breathing in the latent smoker’s fumes of Simon Munnery and Stewart Lee at last night’s Silver Stewbilee after-show party. (I had to eschew the offer of a ticket to the 1,500-seater Festival Theatre to see a mixed, Stew-created bill including Kevin Eldon, Munnery, Paul Putner, the Frank Chickens, Franz Ferdinand, Bridget Christie and Richard Herring, because I had to write 670 words for Radio Times about Colin Farrell, which I managed to do by around 10pm. At which stage, pleased with myself but aware that my good health was on a social knife’s edge, I stupidly plumped to walk back up the hill and join Kate at said after-show, where I very much enjoyed hanging out with stars of stage, screen and radio, and podcast, and paying my respects to Stewart himself, flushed from performing a Mission Of Burma song onstage, the one his book is named after. But I should have been in bed.)
Gary Delaney and Sarah Millican very kindly came down to my show, and were extremely sweet about it afterwards, actually offering very useful tweaks on a couple of my jokes, which I was very grateful for. I wished I could have joined them for lunch, but I had a Caffe Nero card burning a hole in my pocket and some newspapers to tear up with Richard before our podcast gig.
If I’m honest, it was another weird one this afternoon. A strange, muted, on-edge audience who seemed, in some cases, to be paralysed by fear – I can’t imagine why! I’m sure it wasn’t as bad as some of the most agonising bits felt from where we were sitting, or at least, let’s hope not. A chap called Ronan came up to us beforehand in the bar – where, incidentally, another power failure occurred, but was fixed before it could jeapordise anything – and gave us a Mysoti Collings & Herrin t-shirt (“Richard Herring is a fucking idiot”) that had been sent out in the wrong size, so they sent him a replacement and allowed him to keep the original. I was very happy to be able to give this out as a prize to Andy and his mum in the front row, as they had borne the brunt of Richard’s playful yet sociopathic onstage persona. The blurb is here:
With podcast 128, recorded live at the GRV in Edinburgh in front of a mute and frightened audience, we attempt to bring the whole enterprise crashing down around our ears, in an elaborate and more esoteric version of what Aberdeen’s Dave Whitney did at the Canon’s Gait gig to a punter at the bar. With Richard now embittered into a perverse version of humility after being bullied by Stewart Lee in his silver jubilee year and Andrew shattered by Richard’s determination to break the first rule of improv and block any pathetic attempt at half a joke, they attempt to reintroduce a little tenderness into their relationship, with some casualties, notably those in the front row. Still, look at the size of that rat in Bradford! Only three more to go. It’ll be fine.
And the podcast itself will be, if it isn’t already, here. A nice drink with musical theatre’s Michael Legge and Jim Bob after the show – for me, one 4% proof alcoholic ginger beer, which the doctor might not have ordered, but the lavender-hankied showbiz ponce within felt he deserved one after two shows in less than four hours.
In other important news: I had my first review on Chortle, the exacting comedy website and comedians’ water cooler, and it was another “solid” three-star, in which Steve Bennett, the credulous boss of Chortle, described me as an “after-dinner speaker,” which I am happy with. In other important news, I am feeling a bit knackered and had to cancel all social and professional engagements tonight in order to take it easy and have a quiet night in. (I feel bad to have to pull out of Andy Zaltzman’s Political Animal bonanza at midnight, but I am to make it to the end of my Festival – two more Secret Dancing performances, three more stupid podcasts – I need to recharge my batteries in front of Masterchef and under my duvet, perhaps with some warming soup inside me.)
Tomorrow is another day. The end of Edinburgh is in sight. Just one final push. Alright two. Well, three.
Talented comedian and storyteller Tom Wrigglesworth has had a reasonably radical haircut in order to deflect facile comparisons with Leo Sayer, but it doesn’t fool us. We know it’s him, with his cavalier washing up rota understanding and perma-chilli in the bottom of the fridge.