It’s the middle of the UK tour and much as I am enjoying it all, the travel is starting to take its toll. You know you’ve been traveling a lot when you hear yourself say this sentence: “Can you please let the onboard chef know that was the best meal I’ve had in ages”.
The shows however continue to be a ball, as was in evidence last night in Brighton. Sadly the Comedy Festival timeslot meant I only had 70 minutes to play with, and no interval to prepare audience madness. I still managed to find an extremely well-dressed young man in the front row, who even knew the brand names of each item of clothing he was wearing. Although I did notice a pattern. Jumper? All Saints. Jeans? All Saints. Belt? All Saints.
When I dragged his equally well-dressed girlfriend on stage the pattern continued. Turns out she used to work for All Saints and got them both half-price clothes. Nice.
Props also go to Simon who worked for a credit card company. When I gave him a second chance to introduce himself, with a more impressive name and job, he came out with “Dave. I’m a builder”. Aiming for the stars.
Tonight was Taunton, where I immediately found a front row of youngsters from nearby Bridgwater. As seems to be the case this tour, there was some local rivalry between towns, as was suggested to me via twitter yesterday when Greg (from Bridgwater) told me they had a smelly factory and more criminals, but at least they’re not Chard. This got a round of applause for some reason.
I then challenged the front row to give a presentation in the second half extolling the virtues of Bridgwater. I also promised that I would start the second half dressed as The Gruffalo. Why? Well, The Gruffalo was being performed in the theatre every afternoon, and I just happened to find the head and hands backstage. And I am a child.
I did indeed start the second half dressed as The Gruffalo, but was pleasantly surprised to find an envelope on stage with a note from a man called James. James had found a characterful carrot in his local fruit and veg store, and having seen my show “Characterful” (in which I extolled the virtues of weird looking vegetables) thought I’d like it. I did. And here it is:
The “Bridge Over Troubled Water” posse then took to the stage and gave a well-received dissertation on the joys of Bridgwater. From what I could work out – Bridgwater has a camel called Humphrey, a river called Parrot, and they used to have a Splash. Whatever that is. They ended with some interpretive dance, and generally looked like this:
I then had my own photo taken dressed as The Gruffalo – although someone from the audience suggested I looked like a resident of Chard. That also received a round of applause for some reason.
I called a man called Alex from the audience to stand with me. He was a careworker from Bridgwater, was wearing camouflage pants, had pierced ears, and had long multicoloured dreads all down his back. He held the carrot in front of his groin. Unfortunately the lighting makes it look like he may be a vampire. I’m not sure he wasn’t.
By the way, I have to give a shout out to the cast of The Gruffalo, who were in the audience and kindly let me wear the costume. They did warn me it would smell a bit, but I don’t think I was quite ready for the stench that was in those hands. After 300-odd performances, the amount of sweat that has accumulated in those gloves is actually quite overpowering. It’s an hour since I came off stage, I’ve washed my hands twice, and they still smell like I’ve been massaging a wet cat.
As usual I ended the show selling t shirts for a local charity, tonight it was the Somerset Unit for Radiotherapy Equipment.
I’m now back in my hotel room, wondering how on earth I am gonna get the smell of Gruffalo off my hands. Now how often in life do you get to say that sentence?
Tewkesbury on Friday, and Shrewsbury on Sunday. Rock n Roll!!!