Today is all about some spring cleaning followed by going to see Watchmen. I’m not massively happy about the first bit but I like the end result so as long as I can avoid all the bits I hate doing – hoovering, cleaning the loo, washing up, cleaning anything – then I’ll be able to cope. Cleaning is incredibly dull and always will be, but there is a small part of it that I find therapeutic. Often I’ll think of stand-up material while washing up. I think this is because I have to think I am doing anything but washing up. If I was to stop thinking of stand-up and realise what I was doing I would probably have a mental meltdown. Especially because we only have pink washing up gloves, which just seems wrong. I want gloves with the A-Team on then I would feel less disturbed by it all. Thats pictures of the A-Team, not the actual A-Team as it would just be very heavy and George Peppard’s deceased corpse would not help the dishes get clean. Not even with Fairy.
Watchmen will be the reward for the weekend’s work. I feel like I deserve a reward after yesterday. It was a 16 hour day involving some truly terrible times. Not all of it was terrible and to be fair to the 7th of March, it all started fairly well. A very easy drive to Brighton with Ryan award nominee for Best Passenger Tom Craine, where he lived up to his nomination by providing much banter despite having a cold and it being 11am. We then went on to do a really fun Comedy 4 Kids show. Nowhere near as mental as my last one in Aldershot, although there were some children who told us they had been at the pub before the show and a child who wanted money for his birthday so he could invest it. I am slightly worried that our future is even more pissed up irresponsible bankers. Tom had a lovely 5 minutes of stuff and the audience warmed to him very well until he ran out of the little bit of material he had worked out in the car. The crowd were nice enough though that they enjoyed him scrabbling about for gags and lasting another 5 minutes before running away. Most people when doing their first ever C4K gig spend weeks and weeks preparing. Tom decided that he wouldn’t do any such thing and survived which is both admirable and very stupid. Luke Toulsen closed and had a great time although I think he was rather hurt that when he mentioned he was in Space Pirates one child shouted out ‘Space Pirates is rubbish’. Once again the limitations of heckling children can make things difficult. Luke managed to get his own back by telling the kids they need to get better at Nativity plays because they are crap. The children did not like this but all the parents applauded. Its nice to know that mums and dads are willing to betray their support for their children when provoked.
Then after the show we grabbed some burgers at the ace Red Veg and all seemed good. Until Tom and me made a bad choice. We chose to leave vibrant, lively Brighton and head to Christchurch in Dorset. Our show wasnt until 10.30 at night, but we hadn’t been to Christchurch before and we were sure there would be things to do to pass the time. We were so confident in this that we even by passed the awesome looking Arundal Castle on the way – a choice I will live to regret for the rest of my life. We could have gone to a castle where knights were and things, but instead we ended up in a place that was the epitomy of dull. Christchurch is one road long and that road is filled with restaurants that seem to close at 6 as thats when the population of mostly 70+ year olds go to sleep. We walked into the venue which was run by volunteers who all looked on their deathbeds to find that the show tonight was the first one they had done and they hadn’t sold many tickets. Two of my favourite things to hear when turning up for a gig. It could only have got better if they had said ‘oh and all the audience hate people called Tiernan and smell very strongly of urine to the point that your eyes will water’. We shuffled off to the green room and debated what to do with the next four hours.
Going into town was not an option mostly because there wasn’t really a town and it was cold. Writing new material seemed like too much effort and my suggestion of just driving at top speeds around Christchurch hoping to have an accident and get home quicker were rejected by Tom. So instead Craine had a nap and kindly lent me his laptop to play 90’s classic Day of The Tentacle for three hours. We literally sat in the green room for three hours. Jack Bauer knows nothing of long days. It felt like we were both Steve McQueen in the Great Escape sitting in solitary confinement waiting to be free. Except instead of a bouncy ball we had a laptop and instead of the Nazis outside we had the grim reality of a Dorset town that fun had forgot. We waited and waited and waited. Then at 9pm we broke and decided to go and walk around town again. We lasted one lap and then decided that apart from the man dressed in a kilt and dancing to his own portable radio, there was nothing of worth in this place and headed back to our safe haven. The final hour was tough. We started drinking coffee creamers to see which type was best. Then finally when all seemed lost, 10 o clock happened and we strolled downstairs to see our crowd enter. All 20 of them were ancient. Really ancient. Now I don’t want to be ageist but we would have been able to do more current jokes to a bunch of Egyptian mummified corpses. The tech staff’s choice of house music was none other than that great comedy warm up act Enya. Her soothing sounds prepared the audience for a sermon or as Tom suggested a eulogy, neither of which were what we planned to do. I tried to warn the final act Howard Read of the weirdness, but as I called him one of the tech staff who looked a bit like a child version of Herman Munster walked in, as though he knew he was foiling my plans.
Tom started very well. He managed to engage them in banter, find out about the area and not swear. That was the bit that really fucked me off. I wanted to know if I could swear, but Tom had been really smart and not done it, which left it to me to find out. Bastard. I then stumbled on, in a cabin fever like daze and bashed out 20 minutes of Comedy 4 Kids type material. I even said ‘poo’ and ‘wee’ once. The one occasion I had to swear I asked for their permission first and was granted it, but they still didn’t laugh at the joke. It was horrible and I genuinely think I would have got a better response gigging at a morgue. To be fair some of those people wouldn’t have long to go before they end up in one. The second section got better. Tom once again did a lovely job and then Howard went on not giving a damn about swearing and they loved most of it. Except when he swore. I made the mistake of leaving the gig room to wander around and got stuck talking to the venue manager about cutting grass because he was as boring as everyone else. Then finally the sweet release of the end of the show. We grabbed all our stuff and got out of there as quick as possible and we thought the hell was over with.
Two and half hours of driving home and the banter between Tom and I had reached insanity levels. We spent over 45 minutes thinking of medieval puns that you could do on stage if dressed as a knight. This was to make up for my remorse at not visiting Arundel castle. Tom trumped it with saying ‘please don’t talk during the acts as we don’t want any stirrups’. Other winners were ‘ Its going to a great night on this lovely Friar-day’, ‘Gaun-lets start’, and ‘ thanks and good knight’. As you can see, it all got quite bad. We moved on to some Mitch Hedburg and episodes of Dave Gorman’s Genius on the i-pod and all seemed like it was going to end ok. Then we hit the Blackwall Tunnel at 2am and were stuck in solid traffic for 30 minutes. It was like Sod himself had pissed in our very eyes. There was really no need for that and I think that was when I broke, sending streams of swear words into the ether to make up for the lack of swears at kids and olds shows. I hit my swear quota for the day and maxed it out, which made me feel a tad better. I eventually dropped Tom off at 2.40am having picked him up at 11am, then made it home myself for 3.15. Sometimes it does make you wonder if this job is worth it.
Watchmen had better be good or I really might cry.