I have made it back to Australia, won an AFI Award for Spicks and Specks, filmed our Christmas special, and spent a day in bed with some sort of stomach complaint. And to think last Monday I was at the Royal Variety Performance – it’s been a helluva week.
I wrote a little diary piece for the Australian papers about my Royal Variety experience, which they printed in part, so I thought I’d post the whole thing here for you.
Hope you like it
Here’s how my crazy day went:
11.30am Arrive at The Blackpool Opera House. I have spent the last two nights in Manchester practising my act at the Comedy Store. 250 drunken Mancunians have prepared me for the Royal Variety audience.
12.15pm Full cast rehearsal for the closing number. I am onstage with Whoopi Goldberg, Bette Midler, Lady Gaga, Mika, Miley Cyrus, Anastacia, Chaka Khan, Michael Buble. Not quite sure who the older gentleman in the suit is, then I realise – it’s Andre Rieu. I compliment Mika on his collar, he tells me his Mum made it.
1pm Full cast are given their positions for meeting The Queen. I am standing next to Lady Gaga. I say “Hi, I’m Adam.” She says “Hi, I’m Gaga”. I say “I’m on after you, so can you leave a little something in the room for me?” She seems to laugh.
2pm Full Dress rehearsal for the second half of the show. I watch Andre Rieu and Lady Gaga perform then do my act to 150 cast members in a 3000 seat theatre. It is weird, but seems to go well.
6pm Theatre goes into “Full Palace Lockdown”. Not sure what that means but it sounds serious.
7pm The Queen arrives, having taken the Royal train up from London. We are told that because she is early, the show will start straight away.
7.10pm The show starts. I go to the green room to watch on the big screens. Whoopi Goldberg arrives and tells me “I saw your rehearsal and you were very funny.” Couldn’t be happier. I look around the room and see Bette Midler, Anastacia and Lulu all watching as well. Everyone watches everyone else’s performance, and when they return to the green room we all applaud.
8.45pm Whoopi returns to the room after her performance. She tells me how hard it was to not swear in front of The Queen. We chat for about fifteen minutes and are interrupted by a producer saying “Adam, I have to take you backstage now”. Whoopi says “Kick ass baby!”
9.20pm Lady Gaga is on stage, I am in the wings. My heart is pounding so hard I can feel it under my suit. Lady Gaga storms it, Peter Kay tells the audience I have flown in just for the show, I’m on.
9.21pm I start with a phrase I have never uttered before in my life – “Your Majesty, Your Royal Highness, ladies and gentlemen…” and we’re off.
9.22pm I almost lose the audience when I tell them I am going home for “a real Christmas”. They hang in there though, and really start laughing when I talk about my artificial foot. After eight heart-thumping, nerve-wracking but ultimately enjoyable minutes I am done.
9.30pm I get to the Green Room. Whoopi smiles and says “Do you know you just killed it?” She then gives me her email address and says “Let me know when you’re in New York”. Couldn’t be happier.
10.15pm We are called back to the stage for the finale. I walk on with English comedian Hal Cruttenden, nearly trip over ukelele player Jake Shimabukuro, and we all give three cheers to Her Majesty.
10.40pm The Queen makes her way around the line, shaking people’s hands, followed by Prince Philip. Gaga comments to me how beautiful The Queen looks. She is right.
10.50pm The Queen is standing in front of me, shaking my hand. She has a genuine glow, a lovely smile, and seems to be beaming. She asks me if I flew in for the show. I say I have been here for a few months, but I am flying out first thing in the morning. She says “Is that so you can have a real Christmas?” Brilliant – she remembered my act!
10.54pm Prince Philip asks when I am flying home. He smiles broadly and jokes that I could smuggle a bottle of gin out of the country in my artificial foot. Brilliant.
11pm After finally meeting Bette Midler the Queen leaves the stage to a round of applause. Lady Gaga turns to me and says “They don’t stand when the Queen leaves the stage. That is a tough motherfucking crowd”. It is my favourite quote of the night.
11.30pm The official Royal Variety Supper begins. There is food, cabaret and dancing. I meet the guy that played the Italian officer in 90s TV show Allo Allo. Brilliant.
2.30am I make it back to my hotel in Manchester. I call my fiancée and my Mum and tell them about my night. I pack my bag and book a taxi for 6.30am to take me to the airport. In five days time we will film the Christmas episode of Spicks and Specks, with Peter Garrett and Jarvis Cocker.
4.50am Just finished writing my account of the day. As I read it back I ponder what an unusual life I have. Couldn’t be happier.