Monday 30th January 2012
I had forgotten the impact that the late night driving has on me - partly because last year I had Reliable Pete to do that for me, but this morning I felt like my head had been put in a sack and then kicked vigorously until all the sack had seeped into my facial orifices and was now surrounding my brain. We had some important stuff to do so I couldn't stay in bed, though maybe I should have come back to bed for the afternoon.
Instead I went to my basement for frame 8 of Me1 vs Me2 snooker (also available on iTunes). Post gig signings have revealed a cultish (I said cultish) fan base developing for this strange podcast, with the occasionally nerdy man asking for the autograph of one or other of the players (and one for Commentator 2). It's still too early to tell if this is an avenue that is worth continually exploring. Me1's (and my) girlfriend seems privately surprised that it is still going on, especially when all the Mes have seemingly more important projects to be getting on with. I told her that the money I make from my professional snooker career will be keeping us going for years. Again she seemed sceptical that there would be any money coming in from it. And yes, so far I am down the price of a snooker table. But I suspect that if any of my ideas lead to me being a multi-millionaire it will be this one. I hope to do a live tour and to release my own range of merchandise. In fact two ranges of merchandise. You can if you wish, buy a snooker table endorsed by Me1 or if you prefer you could buy the rival snooker table endorsed by Me 2. A real fan would buy both. She will see.
At the weekend we'd watched an old Twilight Zone episode called, "Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room" which had some spooky parallels with the snooker podcast (despite involving no snooker). A minor hoodlum was attacked verbally by his own mirror image, who was angry with him for having controlled their shared life in the way that he had, making the wrong choices and eventually wrestling control from Him 1 and turning things around. It was very similar to what I was already doing, but also somewhat influenced the closing section of today's largely disappointing podcast (all the Mes were too tired to be of much use in either playing or describing snooker). Expect more existential in fighting over the coming weeks. Which Me will dominate the snooker and/or my outside life? Will any of the Mes be able to break away from the others to form a separate entity and more importantly, which one of them do you think farted during this week's episode? It's a mystery that only you can try to answer. I don't think the culprit will ever own up. But hopefully the generally poor quality of the frame will cause a drop off in listeners and bring us closer to the end of this enterprise. We wouldn't want Me1's girlfriend to leave him. Though imagine the effect it would have on his snooker if she did.
Tonight I was off to Soho Theatre to perform in two shows of the wonderful Set List. You may remember I did this improvised stand up show in Edinburgh, having an amazing time in the first gig, but a slightly more bumpy one the second time. I didn't feel as nervous about it today, until I saw Rich Hall walk on stage and effortless improvise around his tricky topics in a massively entertaining way. From the crowd what he was doing looked impossible and yet unlike most of the people around me I was about to attempt it. But I managed to stay calm, trying this thing sober for the first time, hoping something would come out. And for the most part it did. I thought the second show (and I'd had a large glass of wine by this stage) went slightly better than first, but both sets felt good enough and I got plenty of laughs. It feels like a dream and in a way it is very like a dream - you just keep talking without any real logic between sentences, but somehow an artificial logic gets set up and some good lines and ideas came out of nowhere. I was given "Paranormal Procrastination" as one of my bits and used it to discuss how psychics really waste their powers, having access to knowledge about the afterlife, but only revealing stuff that we all already know - in a way they are procrastinating from their duty to find the answers to the meaning of life by concentrating on the mundane. "They can talk to the dead..." I proclaimed, before realising, "Not that that makes them special, we can all talk to the dead... the impressive thing is that for them, the dead talk back." It was only after the show that one of the other comics reminded me of what I'd said. Accidentally, in the heat of the moment I had come up with a neat and potentially usuable comedic idea. That I don't think I would have ever come to through writing.
In the mad rambles of both sets I managed to find some nuggets of gold as well as some floating turds. The subject of "Tunnel of Hate" had me railing against the lack of artistry of most funfairs - how no one played around with the formats, sticking with the boring Tunnel of Love. I did say that that could be scary to, adding, "The last time I went through a tunnel of love I was with a three year old..... that sounds bad. I was with her parents and my girlfriend too. But it made her cry." I said a tunnel of hate is not only more honest and realistic but would be more popular. I then had a go at suggesting rides that could be improved by their opposite - the ghost train is not as good as a train filled with living people, which would be scarier in some ways and then I threw another example into the air with no idea of what I'd do to follow it up - "Instead of a bouncy castle.... don't you just love that I have no idea of where this is going, that I've put that out there but now have to think of a way out - you'd have a solid...igloo. Kids jumping up on down on ice. It would be brilliant, they'd get burned by the ice."
I also had some fun making up an extreme sport based on the audience suggestion of "The Pineapple Chunk of Destiny" which took a very dark turn, but which I followed through to its logical and scatological conclusion. At its best this feels like the show I was born to do, as well as fulfilling that early stand up ambition I have talked about before of going on stage without any script and managing to ad lib a set with laughs. It's an extraordinary show to be a part of and I hope that if they ever make it into the TV show that it deserves to be they will keep in the failures with the successes. Because most of the TV shows cut out the failures, but in this show they only highlight how great the successes are. There's no guarantee that a comedian who does well in one show will be anything other than awful in another and there were some noble failures amongst the successes tonight. I had wondered if this had been a good idea on my day off and when I was so tired, but it made me feel invigorated and alive. I love this fucking show. Congratulations as always to all involved.
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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