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Tuesday 17th December 2013


Today was a nice day. In the afternoon I went to the BBC Radio Light Entertainment Party and made my usual observations about ageing and remembering the Beverley Sisters being at the first one of these I attended back in 1990. I am not yet the elderly statesman at this event, with Nicholas Parsons still going strong at 90 and the likes of Tim Brooke-Taylor and David Nobbs on hand, but I am moving up the ranks. And I like that. People who work in radio are pretty much all lovely and I had a charming couple of hours drinking wine and shooting the breeze and being glad still to be a part of this (though I think my Just A Minute appearances were my only contribution to LE this year). It's also fun to bump into the surviving members of the 1990 era Weekending writing team (not that the others are all dead - though some are- just not all of them are still working - or they're working on movies and TV shows). Michael Fenton-Stevens told stories of the aftermath of some eighties LE party which ended up with him and Angus Deayton having their wallets stolen in a pool hall. We all looked back at the excesses of our past. Some might have been looking forward to the excesses of the present, but I had two gigs to do and was worried that I'd already overdone it with three small glasses of red wine.

A Radio 1 producer came up to me and told me how he enjoyed my podcasts. I told him I used to be on Radio 1 twenty years ago. I felt old. But not in a bad way. I like being a part of this progression. I hope I am still here in 30 years time, telling people as yet unborn about the Beverley Sisters and looking at their clueless futuristic faces. Passing on the baton so that in another 50 years time someone might mention my name as being someone who they had once seen in this room. Supposing that the BBC, radio, comedy and people are still around in the future.

I wished Michael Legge a Happy Christmas and then pretended to worry that I had committed a cultural insensitive faux pas by saying "Oh do you celebrate that in Ireland? Has Christianity made it over there yet?"

Legge, perhaps a little worse for wear, didn't seem to realise that I was taking the piss and confirmed that Ireland does famously have Christianity. But maybe I was worse for wear and he was double-bluffing the joke back at me. Either way he's a prick. And so am I.

I headed over to the pub to continue the reminiscences, but the traditional pub was already at bursting point, brimming with inebriated light entertainers. So a few of us broke off and headed to the Yorkshire Grey. I walked into the pub alongside Mitchell and Webb and noticed a lot of heads turning our way. I've still got it.

I'd love to have stayed and got pissed with acts old and new, but I had to get across to the Bloomsbury for the first of my last two performances at Robin Ince's 9 Carols Christmas gigs. He is stopping doing these this year because he found God in the summer and is going to commit the rest of his life to religion, but he's rolling out this celebration of science and humanism one last time. Again this is a wonderfully social occasion with the green room full of musicians, comedians and academics, but I couldn't hang around here either as as soon as my set was done I had to hotfoot it to the Pleasance, London to try out material for the next Meaning of Life.

Most comedians have a tough (if lucrative) time doing gigs in the approach to Christmas, but luckily enough both of mine were great fun tonight. I have loads of stuff for the next show already, though it's mainly anecdotal so will be different in tone to the first episode. Maybe I should have been doing these once every two months - this enforced month off has made life a lot easier.

Perhaps I haven't been socialising enough, but thoroughly enjoyed being amongst my people today. Though be harder to find two nicer groups of showbiz people than you'd get at these two events.

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My new stand up show, Oh Frig I'm 50 is at on tour from February til June 2018. There's also a new series of RHLSTP with recordings every Monday from February 5th to April 2nd All details of shows here.
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