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Monday 8th July 2013

The previews continue (though scarily I only have 15 full on shows left before Edinburgh- due to cancellations I have less chances to test stuff out than I've had in the last three years). Tonight was the best one yet and the show felt like it was taking shape and I even managed to adlib a fairly solid ending (of course I hadn't recorded it so have little idea what I said). I am still struggling to get off paper with it and need to read most of even the more familiar routines. But hopefully by the end of the week I will be mainly working without a script. I felt noticeably more able to "perform" the stuff today. So I am at least getting familiar with it. There are quite a few things I want to add still and lots that needs clarification and I already have about 70 minutes of stuff. But that's a good place to be in. And there is still time to sort everything out. I have been a little over-prepared in the last couple of years and it's actually fun to have to be chiselling this big block of marble down to size.
Without having planned to I tried a bit about my grandma's coffin tonight. I had felt like I wanted to do something for the funeral and when I heard my mum and dad discussing how much the coffin cost I thought that might be something I could contribute to. But then on the day of the funeral it did feel a bit weird. There was my coffin, with my grandma inside it. I wondered what happened to the coffin and apparently it gets burned up with the body in the cremation. I joked that I felt this was a bit of a shame. I'd paid quite a lot for the coffin and they were just going to burn it up. What did they do with the metal handles, I wondered. Would I at least get those back? Apparently though they are usually actually made from a plastic that just burns up in the furnace.
Would it be wrong to just ask that they didn't burn the coffin and let me keep it? It's too small for me, but it's mine. I suppose I have gifted it to my grandma, but then she won't need it any more and she'll be handing down her other possessions, so why not this one.
At the very least surely the coffin could be recycled and used for another old lady who maybe can't afford £350 for a box they're just going to burn up. It's not like it's a health risk for the next occupant. They're already dead.
The audience didn't seem to go for this idea as much, though challenging any of the conventions of death does make people a little uneasy, even though these conventions are all fairly arbitrary and would look just as odd if they weren't the things we already did. Surely the Ancient Egyptians would be massively offended that we burned the bodies of the dead, just as we think them mummifying them and preserving all their organs (apart from the functionless brain) is a bit eccentric now.
Burning the coffins seems like a bit of an undertaker scam to me. But if I had stood up at the funeral and demanded that they tip my grandma out of the coffin and let me take it home in my car, then they would have probably said I was the crazy one.
But it's my coffin and I want it back.

For those of you who want to buy the Fist of Fun shows, but can't afford to buy the bumper sets with all the extras, here's some good news. Go Faster Stripe have brought out a pared down set comprising of BOTH series and just the commentaries (no other extras) for just £20. You're missing out on all the brilliant other extras, but if you want just the shows then this is a bargain. Buy it here. You can, of course buy the versions with all the studio tapes, scripts, podcast etc on the same site.
And the final RHLSTP of the series is now up. It's with the very funny Sean Hughes ( Check out his website for tour dates). Either download the video here or the free audio from the British Comedy Guide or iTunes. Thanks so much for supporting this podcast, either by buying or listening to it. Please spread the word to ensure that we can keep doing these.
Orange Mark (he likes orange juice and does not, as far as I know, like walking around in bowler hats and playing drums to celebrate some battle from so long ago that it's actually quite embarrassing to be still going on about it) has sent me the latest audio download figures for the podcasts. The snooker one has so far got 33789 downloads for frame 1 and only 5027 downloads for frame 35, so we're heading in the right direction. But that's 37 up on frame 34 so appeal is growing. Only frames 35 and 29 have seen a growth in listenership. I am hoping to get the Mes together this week for another frame, as it's not been a great week for British sport and I feel the nation needs something to lift it. But I am a little bit busy.
A couple of the RHLSTPs have now had over 100,000 downloads, which is amazingg. Surprisingly the Stephen Fry one is not in the top 5 (yet), though there is steady growth and so all the ones that are a year old or more have the most downloads as there's been more time to do so. The current top 5 are: #1 Stewart Lee #2 Charlie Brooker #3 Iannucci and Linehan #4 David Mitchell #5 Tim Minchin. Mitchell is the only one of those not from the first series though.

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My new stand up show, Lord of the Dance Settee will be on at the George Sq Theatre at 10.45pm every night of the Edinburgh Fringe Buy tickets here.
My new play, I Killed Rasputin will on at the George Square Theatre at 3.35pm every day of the Edinburgh Fringe. Buy tickets here
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