Sunday 29th January 2012
A very enjoyable gig at the Nottingham Playhouse tonight in front of about 500 people, which I am very pleased with for a Sunday night in January. On the rare occasions I get to play in such a big theatre with a decent sized crowd, I realise how much less effortless comedy becomes. You get a big response and there's space to move around and time to react and play around. It's kind of easy to look like a brilliant comedian when you're in this environment, but so many comedians rarely, if ever, get a chance to do this. But the ones who do are likely to look great. Making it a hard ceiling to break through in either direction. There are lots of us waiting here for the chance and loads of us would be amazing.
It's a bit of a mind fuck but I like the way that my tours take me from art centre to massive theatre to room above a pub. It means a constant readjustment in performance, but makes me appreciate the good things about each different venue. I don't think it can be good for a person to step out on to a huge stage in a massive theatre to receive immediate adulation every single night. But when it happens you kind of wish that it would happen to you.
The day was mainly taken up with driving, of course, and even though my friend Brian Bancroft (yes, the one who once had a table thrown at him in the Cantonese takeaway up the Gorge) was in the crowd I could only stop for the briefest of chats before hitting the road. It was a tricky two and a half hour drive home, just on the fringes of an acceptable distance to travel, but I couldn't justify wasting money on a hotel, or the loss of most of the day if I came home tomorrow.
I passed the time listening to more Desert Island Discs podcasts. It's a brilliant show and not surprising that it's been broadcasting for nearly 70 years (that doesn't seem possible does it? Incredible). It's pretty much always engaging, whether you know the person choosing the records or not and is also very revealing. As I said yesterday with someone like Nick Park you can see that they are a genuinely charming and lovely person, but others, in spite of trying to present their best face (or voice I suppose) dob themselves in. You can tell if they're crazy or self-important or deluded pretty quickly. Kirsty Young is pretty adept at giving away subtly if she thinks someone is being a bit foolish.
It's one of those shows which is a massive accolade to be invited on and yet it comes with the danger that you might show yourself up a bit - by deciding to choose your own records perhaps, or showing yourself to be vain or have a bad sense of humour. Will your musical taste show you up as an idiot or will your attempts to choose the most obscure and impressive tracks reveal your vanity. It's a bigger risk than you might think and Young walks the tightrope between deference punctured with the occasional veiled barb or incisive query very well. It's a disarming situation to be in and great to listen to and most of the guests do end up opening up to an extent that you learn something about life or work or success. And what a document of eight decades of British life and famous personages. When you consider how hard I have found it to get to the third series of anything, it must be a shockingly brilliant show to get to 70 odd series.
To add to the jeopardy of my long drives, one of my dashboard lights has lit up. I rang the garage but due to my ridiculous February schedule I can't take the car in to get it checked until the 21st. I voiced concern about this, especially given the amount of driving I have to do, but the lady at the garage said I wasn't to worry and as long as the light didn't turn red or start flashing then the issue could probably wait. But what if the light starts flashing at midnight when I am two hours from home?
It all seems to be running fine anyway, but adds a frisson of excitement to a tour where the raciest thing that is happening so far is me getting a bit annoyed by Sandie Shaw blocking Kirsty Young's questions with deliberately literal answers (You were an only child? What was that like? - Well, I was on my own... Tell me about your hair.... it's on my head) SHUT UP!
The car and me made it home in one piece tonight. It doesn't feel like I've done 21 gigs on this tour already. But I have 51 to go.
Here's where I'm going.
All the dates for the Talking Cock tour can be found here
Buy the Talking Cock book here
Tickets are now on sale for both my Edinburgh Fringe shows. "We're All Going To Die!" is on at the Pleasance Beyond at 8pm Book here
Richard Herring's Edinburgh Fringe Podcast is at Stand 1 daily at 14.10. Book here
You can get video downloads of Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast from Go Faster Stripe
A video explaining the idea can be seen here
You can buy tickets to the shows from the Leicester Square Theatre website
You can still download the audio for free from the British Comedy Guide or iTunes
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