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Saturday 10th May 2003

Had a really cracking second show in Brighton, but with quite a bizarre incident half way through.
I was talking about the various penile injuries that men have suffered, specifically the rather bloody event of having the frenulum (or banjo string) break, when I saw a dark shadowy shape on the aisle seat of the second row slump to the floor.
A young man had collapsed. It was right at the front of the audience and I couldnÂ’t have ignored it even if I wanted to. And I didnÂ’t want to, because I was slightly concerned that a member of my audience had died. Or worse, fallen asleep. Death I could cope with, but boredom? That would be unforgivable.
Obviously I stopped the show to check that the fella was OK. A few concerned audience members checked him out as others speculated on the cause of this unusual occurrence. Someone thought he might have had an epileptic fit. Another voice reassured me, “Don’t worry Rich. It’s not your fault.” Which was a relief. It would be a grave responsibility to think that my sense of humour was so strong that it could kill people.
Personally I thought he was probably an attention seeker attempting to upstage me.
The house lights came up. The show had come to a definite halt.
Thankfully the slumped figure on the floor stirred. He was helped out of the theatre by some of the staff. I told him that this was the most devastatingly effective heckle I had ever received. How do you come back on that one? How do you recover? How can you follow the mysterious collapse and possible death of a member of your audience?

Correctly as it turned out I figured that he had fainted because of the rather gruesome images of penile injury that I was describing (he had a problem with the idea of blood, so I suppose that mentioning plumes of blood shooting out of still erect penises was a bit much for him) and said “Well it’s a good job he’s out the room, because I was just about to talk about penises being put in mincing machines and fed to pigs.”
Thankfully the audience laughed and they got behind me even more than they had done already. The man came back about five minutes later and seemed to have made a full recovery. I considered cutting off my own arm to see what reaction the ensuing bloodbath would have on him, but felt that such a joke might rebound on me.

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