I had to write the biography section for my new web-site. Sat down to do this at around five o clock, expecting it to take an hour, maybe an hour and a half, but I didn't finish until around mid-night and I worked fairly solidly (why can't I work like that on the film?). I had no idea that I had done so much.
I had also forgotten what a struggle those early years had been, how hard we worked for so little money, how much I hated writing for Weekending. I genuinely started losing it by the end. After a year of trying to look at the news from an "amusing" angle, I couldn't take it anymore and half-jokingly, half-seriously tried to hide myself away in two plastic crates and wouldn't come out.
I also realised how long it took me to get over the events of Edinburgh 88, for how long I assumed I would be hated for having gone to University. I had a chip on my shoulder about the chips on other people's shoulders, and as so often with shoulder chips, the chips I perceived in others were often imagined or exaggerated. I was also scared of going it alone and not surprisingly, the roastings I got as a stand-up in the early 90s would terrify anyone.
To realise the extent to which you, personally, were a twat is quite an important step in life.
We were working so hard there was no time to step back from it all and work out how I really felt, or how other people really felt about me.
It's really only been in the last couple of years that I have relaxed about everything and started to gain any real confidence. Not coincidentally much of this is to do with having done some solo shows that have worked.
People often ask me how you make it as a comedian, and seem annoyed that they've done four open spots and no-one has realised how brilliant they are. The way Stew and me have got where we've got to (which really isn't all that far comparatively) is by working our arses off. We did an incredible amount of work. I can't believe it, looking back. We made it work by trying again and failing again, but failing better, to paraphrase Samuel Beckett. By being knocked down and then getting up again to paraphrase Chumbawumba. By occasionally trying to escape it all by hiding in plastic crates, before realising that you can't hide in plastic crates forever. That if you come out and complete the horrible thing that you don't want to do, then eventually you will get to do something you do want to do. Much as I hated Weekending, if I hadn't done it I wouldn't have what I have now and I wouldn't have learned some important things about writing.
I didn't like doing stand-up so I ran away from it. A big part of me wishes I had persevered (though it was good to give it another go when I actually had something to say). In stand-up terms I stayed in those plastic crates for a decade, and that was never going to work. Who'd pay to see a bloke crouched in a plastic box shouting "Leave me alone!"?
Insert your own punch-line here.