He turned up yesterday at 10.30am. Frank Blunt, a reporter from Glossop, Derbyshire, on an assignment with May-B Productions for the making of ‘The Blunt Interviews’ – ‘STANDING UP’. I didn’t like the look of him at first. Actually, it’s not that I didn’t like the look of him – but he looked like he’d come to tarmac my drive … and I don’t have a drive. He wore NHS-style specs, a tight, stained, tweed-checked jacket, twisted tie and cloth cap. His fly was undone most of the day but I didn’t tell him. One of the first things he needed was my loo, and he was in there for ages. Then he immediately insisted on telling me a few of his own jokes – something about a mushroom going into a bar, and the barman saying we don’t serve mushrooms, and the mushroom saying, ‘But I’m a funghi!’ Or ‘little Johnny’ in the bath with his dad, pointing to his dad’s crotch and asking what it was – and his dad replying, ‘It’s a hedgehog’ – and little Johnny then saying, ‘Well, it’s got a f***ing big c*ck!’ But I eventually started to warm to Frank. I had no choice. He shadowed me all day with his film crew and then all through the stand-up show in Barcelona last night. He’s coming back on Tuesday, too, and following me to London. His last comment to me was whether I’d booked a spare easyJet seat for my ‘wavy hair’.
I tried to tell him how it all started – which was the Logan Murray weekend ‘Stand Up & Deliver’ course last October – (and which now helps me to pick up the thread of the last blog). I’m not sure if Frank could accept there were courses for doing stand-up – he stared at me in silence for long periods. I got the impression that he’d heard about courses for making tarmac or catching rabbits with ferrets (as he seemed to mention ferrets a lot) but not for comedy. I explained that people also went on the course to help to prepare for a wedding speech, job interview or work presentation. I told him there’d been 9 of us doing it – 6 guys (Chris, Sam, Stephen, Jeremy, John and myself) and 3 girls (Jessica, Nicola and Ale) – all different ages, different backgrounds, and with different reasons for wanting to do it. The course was intensive, with writing, performance and improvisation exercises to encourage ‘spontaneity, creativity and developing your own personal style’ and especially to ‘uncover your inner idiot’. At the end of the weekend, we all had to put on a performance and were asked to each invite a few friends along. I didn’t invite anyone, I told Frank. He stared at me in silence again and then finally said: ‘Haven’t you got any friends?’ (to be continued).