This week I had my first ever gig in London, which was a very exciting prospect! Not even I could have predicted what was going to unfold though…..
The trip started normally enough. I met my mate Nathan at the station, got the train and found our hotel. Everything was fine. What followed was a very hectic 24 hours! I’d arranged quite a few meetings while I was down there (not on purpose, people were just taking advantage of me being in the capital and I can’t say no!). My first was with some lovely TV people at 5pm on Monday evening (the night of the gig, which was at the Soho Theatre).
Of course, I was a diva and was late…although that was more to do with the traffic really. We did get to chat to a friendly taxi driver who advised us to look out for women with big hands in Soho. It was duly noted. In fact, out of the four taxi drivers we encountered during our stay, three were lovely and one was a twat. That’s quite a good ratio. Much better than what would happen in Halifax a few days later….but more of that soon.
After the first meeting, I then met a photographer who wanted to take some photos of me for a project she was doing. I was happy to oblige. I also met a reporter from CNN who was doing a story about me. Again, he was a very nice guy.
The gig itself – at a night called Abnormally Funny People – was good too. Apparently it had sold out partly because I was on, which was both good and a little bit nerve racking as well. I’m used to playing to smaller audiences really. Luckily, I couldn’t really see any of them when I was out on stage so I just did my thing as usual. The atmosphere both at the gig and backstage was good too. The crowd seemed very friendly and the other acts were very supportive. In fact, I got some very good advice from both the promoter and the other comedians, which I’m very grateful for.
Sod’s law says that, with that many people watching and the CNN cameras on me, something was bound was go wrong. The app I use to deliver my routine decided to crash. Thankfully, I had an emergency joke ready just in case and I was soon back on track. It felt good to play to that many people, especially as they seemed to really enjoy my set. Hopefully I can do it again soon. You can watch the full CNN report here.
It was after the gig that things went a bit mental though. Random people started coming into the dressing room to congratulate me. Then, when I went back into the bar, people started asking me for my photograph. If this wasn’t random enough, Alan Pardew – Newcastle United manager – also happened to be in the bar so he came over to say hello too! Unfortunately, I’m not going to be their next number nine. He did have these words about me for the CNN reporter though:
“Let’s be honest – it takes incredible bravery to do what he’s doing. More bravery than me or any of my players show to do what he’s trying to do. So all I can say is that I wish him all the best in a very tough business. Our business is tough but his is tougher so I wish him all the best.”
As if that wasn’t enough, a photographer from a news agency started to take pictures of me for a story they were working on. After about 20 minutes posing for him, I was finally allowed to relax and talk to my friends (some of which were uni friends who I hadn’t seen in years, which was nice). This story was published in The Sun.
After finally getting to bed at 1am, I was up at about 8am again as we had to go over to the CNN offices for an interview. After a brief chat in the office, we had to go outside and have some shots taken of us walking down Carnaby Street. Not only was this a bit awkward as we tried to walk naturally with a camera stuck in our faces (while the general public looked on and tried to figure out who the fuck we were), it also made me want to go shopping!
There was no time for that though. I had to find a cafe with wi-fi so I could answer another journalists questions that had come in via email while I was there. Once this was done, I went to my second TV project meeting in 24 hours in a Starbucks. It was while I was here that I got recognised by another complete stranger. “Are you that comedian?” he asked as I walked past. This took me a bit by surprise but in a nice way. I was happy to sit and have a chat with him for five minutes. He even got two photos taken with me because he wasn’t happy with the first!
At 3pm on Tuesday, it was time for my last meeting of the trip. This time about the possibility of writing a book. About an hour later, I was on the train on the way home after probably one of the most surreal 24 hours in my life.
A few days later, I was on the road again, this time to a gig in Halifax. This too was rather eventful but for different reasons including rude taxi drivers, even ruder audience members and meeting a super fan. My friend Emily has summed that trip up nicely in her blog.
I’ve just about recovered now!