My busy first week of December came to an end with a gig being filmed for a documentary about whether comedy is a level playing field. It isn’t. I only got the job because I am sleeping with the director. And when my wife finds out she’s going to be furious. No, it’s OK. I just checked. The director is my wife. It’s the perfect crime.
I like to think the stand-up circuit is a better work environment than most in terms of being non-sexist and non-racist, but I am wrong and as a white middle-class, University educated man, what the fuck would I know about it anyway? In some ways anyone can make it in this business as long as they can make an audience laugh, but obviously there are some obstacles to overcome (for everyone really - even white middle-class men have to fight against the disadvantage of their being so many other acts like them, so it’s harder to stand out). But it’s also a tough business to succeed in so you need drive and desire and be willing to fight (largely metaphorically), so the cream infused with ambition does tend to rise. But I will be interested to hear the other comedians’ experiences. If being a white middle-class Oxbridge man who is signed up with one of the big agencies gives you an unbeatable advantage, then I must be really, really shit, cos I have to give most of my work away for free and TV executives aren’t beating down my door. But then again, imagine where I’d be without those advantages. It doesn’t bear thinking about.
We were filming a gig and interviews in the basement of a trendy coffee shop in Soho in the afternoon. I thought I had escaped the tricky Sunday pm gig with the finale of RHLSTP last week, but here I was hosting a show at 5pm. But somehow we got an audience and it was a really interesting bill. Most remarkable was that four of the seven acts on were women and it’s hard for me to remember the last time I was involved in a stand-up gig where women out-numbered men. It must have happened, but I am struggling to think when.
It was a very strong line-up and one of the most funny and thought provoking gigs I’ve been involved with. Though the playing-field may have some bumps in it, I love that this job attracts people from such disparate backgrounds and that on the whole we get on pretty well. I was in that basement all day, but it never felt like I was doing a job. I think the film crew might not feel the same.
Once we’d finished my wife and I had both pretty much done all our work until after Christmas (though I am hoping I can have a good crack at the sitcom script in the next couple of weeks). Our daughter is mainly better (and being cheeky again which is lovely to see - I’d missed her being sparky, I realised, as much as I’d hated seeing her suffer) and her Nanna was looking after her, so we got to go out to celebrate afterwards. We ended up in a slightly disappointing Brazilian restaurant, drinking sugary cocktails and mainly feeling tired, but it was a result to be out. Not as much of a result as it would be to be asleep though. Can I just sleep til Christmas?
No I can’t. And inevitably I felt myself going down with the virus that has laid my daughter and wife down low. Of course. This is just part of my life now. And I love all the tiny parasitical friends that my daughter has brought into my life. I was so lonely before I met my wife, but now I will never be alone again. Even when I manage 20 minutes with a beer and a burger and no other human being in the way I will be surrounded by a cloud of bacteria and germs.