Hello again, I hope all is well with you. And that you have had a very good couple of weeks, despite this continuous wet weather. I honestly think I must have worn my waterproof jacket every single time I have left the house recently. For a man with so little hair I am surprisingly keen to not let it get rained on. It is quite shocking and worrying seeing areas that I know so well and often visit during the summer months being submerged under so much water currently. I do really feel for anybody whose property has been affected by the floods. The thought of being ankle deep in water walking around your own kitchen is horrible. So I send my good wishes and support to anybody who is going through this nightmare situation at the minute.
So the last time we spoke I was off to a James Bond Themed Comedy Birthday Party on the day that my month of not drinking alcohol was coming to an end. So did I or didn’t I start straight back on the demon drink that night? Of course I did. The first thing I did after arriving at the do wearing the classic Bond Dinner Suit and bow tie combination was order myself a pint of lager. I needed to. When I realised pretty much all the men had come wearing exactly the same outfit. Proving ninety percent of men see themselves as James Bond in full suave evening mode, myself included. Fair play to some of the other gentlemen there though. We did have two Odd Jobs, a Q, a Wyatt Earp lookalike (yes I was as confused as you are by this trust me) and the women who is murdered in “Goldfinger” using gold paint. Needless to say the last outfit really stood out. He had on a gold coloured body suit, gold paint on his face, a blonde wig and his girlfriend’s black bikini. You have to admire his total commitment to the part but the fact that this party was also a comedy night with eight comedians performing did mean he got quite a lot of stick for his wardrobe choice. It was a good fun night. All of the comedians were great. A few of them I had worked with before and the rest I got the chance to see for the first time. There is a lot of good stand up comedy talent around at the moment. These guys were all really funny and it was a very entertaining evening. The mate whose birthday it was is a comedy promoter. Who runs the Laughing Badger Comedy Club in Hemel Hempstead. Therefore he has access to some great acts. So managed to pull in a few favours to put on a fantastic show. In which he actually found himself to be the but of many of the jokes. With the climax being everyone being advised of his middle name. Which he had gone to great lengths to keep a secret from even his closest friends. It was a bit like the Wedding scene in Only Fools and Horses, when we find out Rodney’s middle name is actually Charlton!
Now I did actually make a slight mistake when talking about this event. Previously I said that Lee Nelson was going to be one of the comics performing at it. And I was saying that I would be interested to see if he remembers me appearing alongside him in a sketch for the pilot episode of his television show. Well Lee was never due to be at this one. I got my birthday parties mixed up. Lee Nelson will be appearing at The Laughing Badger Comedy Club’s Birthday Party not the man behind its party. So there is good and bad news here, as a result of this. The bad news is that I did not get chance to see him the other week but the good news is everyone can still see him at the Comedy Club’s Birthday Party. When all the details and tickets are released for it. I think that all this information has already been made public but if not consider this as a headline comedian exclusive for an upcoming Comedy Night in Hertfordshire. There is also the chance that I could well be doing some stand up comedy myself at one or two of the Laughing Badger Nights before the end of the year. So as ever watch this space for more details on that.
I was up in London last week in the studios of a national broadcaster recording a demo for them. With one of their senior editors. It was a lot of fun and brilliant to be back behind a microphone once again. In my natural environment. I should find out within the next month, if this will lead to some regular work with them. While I was in the capital I did take the opportunity to pay a visit to my favourite pub. It is a place that I have been going to when in London for around fifteen years now. I was first introduced to it by a friend one Sunday afternoon and instantly felt a home there. Over the years I have taken many members of my family and pretty much all of my friends there at some point or another. The pub in question is Waxy O’connor’s. It is just off Leicester Square right in the heart of London but once you step through the doors and walk down the long staircase to the bottom bar. You are suddenly in a completely different world away from the hustle and bustle. With a very relaxed atmosphere and normally whenever I have been in there great background music. And in my opinion they do the best pint of Guinness in town. If you are ever around that way I urge you to pop in for a quick drink. I personally think there is something very magical and inspiring about the place. I always try to include it on any trip to London where I have some spare time. And I am able to have a drink.
That trip to London is not the only recording that I have done during the last couple of weeks. As part of my work with the Football Association at Wembley Stadium. I ended up taking a group of French school children for a tour and a talk about the place. Which all went very well and despite my lack of language skills they seemed to understand me. And enjoy my presentation. When I had finished one of the teacher’s came over to me and asked it she could record me talking about myself and just answering a few quick questions. Happy as ever to oblige I said yes but only after double checking what see wanted this for. Basically it was to aid learning English in France. The teachers there like to try and record different English people talking and use these to help the children understand how real people in the country speak. Rather than the way the actors and teachers talk on the audio books they mostly use. So I spent two or three minutes talking to the teacher while she recorded this all on her mobile phone. Not the highest audio quality recording that I have done for a while, but she seemed pleased with it. This now means of course that French school children are going to be listening to how I speak to learn how to communicate in English. So I am looking forward to French people in five years time coming to visit England and talking exactly like me. While they are here. That could be quite freaky if I bump into any of them. A bit like when Jon Colshaw meets any of the celebrities he does impressions of and does them in front of them I guess.
I am currently in the process of writing some sketches for a Radio 4 Comedy programme called The Show What You Wrote. It is a sketch show that covers a wide range of topics over four episodes. It is being recorded during June and July and will be on air during August. It is all coming together nicely and I am looking forward to being part of this production. Next month also sees the return of the topical weekly comedy news show Newsjack to Radio 4. This is a something I have written for in the past and will be doing so again this time around. I will bring you more details on my involvement in both of these projects as soon as I can. But remember their names and do look out for them both. They are very clever and more importantly very funny.
Last Thursday I went to the filming of the television pilot for a new sitcom called Party. It has been a successful radio comedy for a couple of years and now the makers and producers are seeing if they think it will transfer across to TV. They stuck with exactly the same cast as the radio show which is Tom Basden (who also writes it) Tim Key, Johnny Sweet, Anna Crilly and Katy Wix. It was filmed at the Elstree Studios and was really good. There were two additions to the regular cast. One of which was Justin Edwards, who is from Radio 4’s Newsjack. And he has actually delivered all the material that I have previously written for that show. The script was very funny and the cast were all brilliant,so good. The atmosphere in the studio was great to, so we all had a good time. I will be amazed if this does not progress into a full blown television series. They ran through the whole show twice. The first time they went straight through it with no breaks. And then after some notes from the director the second time round there were a few more re-takes and a bit of fine tuning. As I said the script was excellent with plenty of laughs from the audience. But still alas the funniest joke in the world will sometimes never be as funny as the actors messing up. It’s just amusing. But I would stress that we were all behind them, willing them to do well and laughing with them not at them with any mistakes they made. It was just fantastic to see that close up a TV sitcom filmed in front of a live audience. It was a wonderful night out. Very educational. It’s called Party and it will be on BBC 4. So do listen out for my laugh, when it goes out.
I have to confess I did watch most of The Jump on Channel 4 in the end. Firstly I have to give credit where it is due to the celebrities who actually took part in the show. At least half of them seemed to return back to the UK with a serious injury of some kind. I have to admit I am not really a fan of winter sports or skiing in general. I have never been skiing for two reasons really. I like a holiday to be hot and sunny on a beach not cold and snowy up a mountain. And secondly because I am so clumsy and accident prone. If I ever went skiing I guarantee you I would definitely hurt myself in some way. So it is my own personal choice to avoid it completely. There is no way I would have attempted any of the events they did on The Jump. no way. So I do honestly have the up most respect for everybody who took part even Amy Childs. The contestants did get a lot of criticism for doing it. But as Marcus Brigstocke explained. It was his free choice, he loves the resort lifestyle and surroundings. And the fact that he was being trained by Olympic Medal Winners made it a once in a lifetime opportunity. And as I have been lucky enough to interview Marcus and taking into account the fact that he is a top bloke. That all seems like perfectly decent logic to me. That said I do hope the knee ligament injury he received on the show, heels quickly. Strictly Come Dancing is still the only reality TV show, that I think I would ever consider doing. It’s the safest and the most enjoyable.
Have fun and we will catch up again in a couple of weeks. Cheers Neil.