A bit of a marathon RHLSTP tonight, which I thought might destroy me, but aside from being a bit giddy and saying some stupid stuff towards the end, I got through it.
I had been a little bit nervous about finally meeting Harry Shearer properly. But I needn't have worried. He was charming and friendly and not at all starry, as he has every right to be. He had already blown my mind a few times during the course of my research. I was astonished to find out he is 70 years old, but he was also in an Abbott and Costello film, which just seems impossible. And he has been a part of so many US TV and film institutions that it defies belief, not only the Simpsons and Spinal Tap, but also Saturday Night Live, Leave it to Beaver, The Jackie Mason Show and even Star Wars. The chat backstage (some of which was captured on film as an exclusive extra for those of you who have been kind enough to donate at least one pound a month for future projects - there will be all sorts of stuff on there as a thank you for your help) was just as good as the stuff on stage and Shearer is impressive as much in his talent as his dedication to doing the best possible job. He put his success down to his stubborness and determination, but of course that has also led to him pissing off some people/idiots. When asked about his falling out with an SNL producer he said, "We had creative differences. I was creative, they were different." That dogged determination to make sure the graffiti backstage on Spinal Tap was correct or that an SNL radio studio set actually looked like a radio station or to go to the trouble of working out that Derek Smalls would want to own a football team, but wouldn't be able to afford a good one (and then making the only reference to that being that he wears a Shrewsbury Town football jersey in some scenes) is part of the reason his stuff is so great and enduring. I think we got some great insights into his career and I didn't ruin it too much by asking loads of puerile questions.
I think he enjoyed it. He said he'd be happy to come on again another time and talk about all the stuff that we didn't have time to get round to.
Something that certainly can't be said of the Susan Calman interview that followed it. Over-excited and off the leash I outdid myself in childishness and crudity and said some appalling things, which Susan expertly batted off. The audience seemed unsure at times whether I had gone too far, but Susan and me have a history and I knew she wasn't taking any of the stuff seriously. And eventually we got on to a more serious chat about depression and Section 28. In the end, as I say, I went to some very strange and wrong places, almost in a hallucinatory state. But what makes RHLSTP such fun is that even though many of the questions are the same, no two interviews are. It was an amazing varied evening of entertainment, with two more fantastic guests. These will be out in a few weeks.