At least it only hurts when I laugh. Or breath. Or bend down. Or get up. Or move. Or stand still. But I am bravely soldiering only, choosing to moan only when I am speaking to another human being. Or am alone. It's not incapacitating. I still walked around town and still did my show (though a little stiffly I must admit), but it is a literal pain and I hope it goes away soon. I am going to get it checked out at the hospital tomorrow if there is no improvement, though I am fairly certain that they will tell me just to wait for nature to take its course.
The hurting when laughing thing was a problem, though quite a pleasant one, when I popped down to see my old Herring and Spaz
double act partner, Ben Moor (we were in the Oxford Revue together an unbelievable 20 years ago). His shows are always a treat of language, filled with joy and poignancy and an underlying, loveable sadness. He does not get the credit he deserves. He's up there with Kitson, if not above him and yet never so lauded or feted. But this year's show Not Everything is Significant
sees him on top form, mixing poetry, theatre and top notch gags into a sweet, if slightly confusing (deliberately so though) narrative. I think it's a show that you could watch four or five times and still be getting new things from. But it's tender and funny and you must go and see it if you're up here, if only for the Roy Walker joke. Obviously it's not a patch on Herring and Spaz. But you can't have everything. Not significantly anyway.
Later on I was playing Comedian's Countdown against Josie Long. I thought I was safe from further injury, though as we sat waiting for the audience to come in, the table we were sitting at collapsed and hit me on the knee. Luckily no damage was sustained, but it made me laugh to think that furniture seemed so determined to harm me.
Both Long and I were in quite competitive frame of mind and keen to win, but the game was surprisingly difficult and the time was flying by. There was an odd tension in the room, perhaps exacerbated by how seriously we were taking it, juxtaposed with how flippant Chris Neil and Simon Munnery were in "Dictionary Corner". It is hard to be funny in 30 seconds and manage to come up with the longest possible word and neither Long nor I was prepared to step outside the arena of combat to make people laugh.
I did attempt to garner laughs from being over-competitive and pedantic about the rules, but I think it just came across as being over-competitive and pedantic. I was slightly annoyed that the dictionary the show was using was so poor, but think that my disputed word "foilers" was probably not acceptable even if they'd had the proper one. But again jokey comments about how they could stick their dictionary up their arse, were taken at face value by the audience, who were already on Josie's side after she'd declared an 8 letter word, even though her word was only 7 letters long (and in any case not acceptable) and had got a little upset at my insistence that by the rules of Countdown she had misdeclared and her turn was forfeited. I genuinely was happy for her to declare her word, but the audience (and perhaps she) had spotted what a competitive little shit I am and saw the underlying truth behind my "joke". But they hadn't liked it when asked to plug my show I had quipped, "I don't think I would want anyone who would come to see this game to come to my show." It was only a joke. Maybe not a great one. I was tired and in pain. Maybe I just seemed genuinely grouchy!
I got the final numbers game, which meant that I had an unassailable lead, but in any case neither of us got the conundrum - even though it was COMEDIANS (it had been staring us in the face). I took little pleasure from my victory though, mainly because neither of us had performed at our best and there was an odd atmosphere.
Still a win's a win. Take that Long, you loser!