In a few hours I’m going along to see the stand-up comedian, Adam Bloom, who is performing in my home town. Ricky Gervais has described him as being one of his favourite stand-ups for about ten years (ten years – get it? – please see the previous chapter of this blog, if not). ‘Bloom,’ says Gervais, ‘not only has meticulous, brilliant lines, but also an intense and fragile honesty.’
I’m looking forward to it. Just Googling and scanning Bloom’s biography, the superlatives keep hitting me as fast as his own ‘light-speed wit’. He is described as ‘the perfect comedian’ and ‘one of the cleverest and most inventive comics’ and he ‘remains in the highest division’ and ‘in the premier league of comedy’ … which has finally prompted me to get round to updating this blog and explain why I am not in the premier league of comedy. In fact I’m not in any league. I’m not even in the Comedy Conference League Sub-Division 9 South West Subsection Subnormal Minor League. And I probably never will be. I’m too old. Too podgy. Too unfunny. Too … grey.
But at least I tried. And I might try again in the autumn … or before the end of this year. Once I get the novel done and all the other stuff done that needs doing.
It was my great friend David Benson who first suggested I wrote about my experiences of trying to be a stand-up. He thought it would be funnier than me actually being a stand-up. As he is unable to laugh with me in person at Adam Bloom’s show tonight, I thought I’d dedicate this chapter to him – and a quick story he’s just missed but might enjoy.
To pick up the thread of the last blog, though … Friday night had been a late one, and I’d lost my keys, had to spend the night at a friend’s flat and use his egg-cups as contact lens pots … I was in a terrible state … but I’d committed to do some stand-up for the SUCK (Stand-Up Comedy Kills) show at Las Cuevas del Sorte that next night (Sat 3rd Nov). Many friends were coming – including David – and he told me that I should perhaps simply relate what had happened to me the night before for the stand-up. ‘Funny things happen to you,’ he said. ‘Just tell them.’ In the end, I used some of it but not all. I practised with David in a bar opposite Las Cuevas before I went on – and he promised to laugh out loud during the act itself. Which he did. He recorded it on his iPhone, too – but you can’t hear me … only him laughing. That’s friendship for you.
David, you should have been with me the other night, to watch Bayern Munich finish off FC Barcelona. I watched it in a bar – and had travelled there by bicycle. It’s a new bicycle. I’m not an expert at cycling but I thought it was time to try. After the match, and after a few drinks, to cheer myself up I decided to cycle home with a takeaway curry (from that same restaurant we took our sons to recently). Simple enough, no? Chicken curry. Boiled rice. They’d packed it all very nicely – in those little foil-lined cartons with cardboard lids, plus some naan bread – and they’d placed it all in a paper carrier bag, which I then hooked on to the handlebars. They even waved me off. I waved back. As I cycled as fast as I could (I was starving and I didn’t want it to all get cold), I tried to stop the bag from swaying and rocking against the wheel as much as I could, but it wasn’t easy. It certainly smelt delicious, I thought, as I peddled faster – but I had to focus on the road and I never really looked down to see if the bag was OK. I clicked the apartment block’s garage door to open as soon as I approached home – and as I cycled inside, it definitely smelt as if some neighbours had ordered curry, too. It was only when I unhooked the paper bag from the handlebars that I noticed it was soggy and that the bottom of the bag had half-disintegrated. There was chicken curry all over the front wheel of my bicycle, which had been spraying up over my clothes. I rushed for the lift, with spots of orangey-brown liquid dripping from me at every step. When I saw my image in the lift mirror it looked as if someone had crop-sprayed me with curry. I threw the remains of the paper bag in a basin as I jumped in the shower, fully-clothed. The lift still stank of curry in the morning – and still does. Next time I will ask them to deliver. (To be continued).