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Saturday 11th November 2006

Over to the Soho Theatre this afternoon to record an edition of the Weekly Show for Channel4 radio. It will be up on their website on Monday. I was going to be interviewed by the host (who I thought was going to be comic Frankie Boyle, but who turned out to be Mark "Balls of Steel" Dolan) about the news and what I am up to at the moment, but that was just one section of a topical comedy show comprising of sketches and interviews with characters. There seemed to be a huge cast, largely comprising of new young comedians. As always with these topical shows it was a bit hit and miss, but once it all got going there was a lovely atmosphere and I enjoyed watching. I am not sure how many outlets there are these days for young writer/performers to try stuff out and get some experience. Stew and me had earned out stripes by writing for the generally quite poor sketch show "Weekending", which whatever you think about it (and it drove me so mad that one week I hid in some plastic crates and refused to come out) was a wonderful opportunity for a generation of comedy writers to work out how to do their job (and how not to do their job). I will occasionally bump into some of those writers and many of them have carved out successful careers. One of them is now the co-writer of the biggest movie in America at the moment and by all accounts can not believe the things that this success has thrown into his lap. It's a long way from chicken lollies, let me tell you.
Weekending is gone and so is the building we wrote it in and I was gratified to see that there is something starting up that seems to be trying to give a similar springboard to new comics.
It made me feel old and curmudgeonly, especially when watching a couple of fresh-faced lads straight out of University doing a sketch about "Remembering Day". To my old and jaded eye they looked about 15 years old, but doubtless Stew and me looked like that too when we first walked through the door at Weekending. I am having trouble accepting that I am not still 22 years old myself, but even at my most self-delusional I know I don't look like these foetus faces. They made me laugh. With topical humour. That's quite an achievement.
My interview went fine. I got my usual Balls of Steel and Bo'Selecta digs in. I sort of doubt they will make it to the air (or whatever the internet equivalent of air is) on a Channel 4 show, but we shall see. Somehow we got talking about having sex with one's own children and I claimed it was all right to do that as a sort of "Grow Your Own" set up. "I've paid for them," I said of my fictitious spawn, "so I can do what I like with them." Hopefully people will understand I was joking. If that gets put out. Which it might not.
My favourite bit was when Dolan chastised me for not wearing a poppy and I told him that I showed my support for Remembrance Sunday by spending the entire month of November on opium. Made of real poppies, not stupid cardboard ones.
I was going to come home and try and write some of my stagnating script, but instead I drank Guinness with some of the team. Which is a kind of work. In a way.

November quiz - Question 11

I am a writer and use words to create imaginary worlds and to bring down the government with my satire. But what is the longest one syllable word that you can think of? I have a couple of nine letter words in mind, but if you come up with one longer then that's all the better.

Please wait until the end of the month before sending all 30 answers in together. Anyone sending answers individually will immediately invalidate their entry to the competition. Remember the prize will go to whoever has the most answers right. It is still worth entering even if you can't answer all the questions. There will be no additional clues.

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