Warming Up

Some of you might have noted that the title of today’s blog is also the title of Richard Herring’s daily blog. This blog has nothing to do with Richard Herring or anything his face has done, its just that the title matches perfectly to what I’m doing today. That and hopefully loads of his blog readers will accidentally click here today and then I will steal them forever and then only one person will ever read Rich’s blogs again and that’ll be his mum and no one else. This blog is called ‘Warming Up’ because today I’m doing my first ever telly warm up job. I’ve never done telly warm up before and feel a little bit tentative about it all. Oddly the job does not require putting cardies on people or turning the heating up loads. In fact all I have to do is talk to people till I’m told to stop talking to people, which doesn’t sound too hard. I’ve talked to people before. In fact I tend to talk on a daily basis. Sometimes I’m paid to be funny when talking to people. Other times, like yesterday on the phone to Barclaycard, I was pretty angry when talking to people. This is mostly because the woman who I was talking to managed to ignore everything I said and not help me in any way. It was only afterwards when I realised that perhaps her sarcastic yet dreary tone might have meant that when she said ‘How can I help you today?’ it was asked in a rhetorical sense. Saying that, I’m fairly sure she had no idea what rhetorical means. This required me to be a bit more aggressive, which wasn’t very much, and ultimately not sort out anything I had intended to. Hopefully this is not the sort of talking that will be required tonight. If I turn up and they ask me to ask the audience about setting up a new date for my direct debit payment I might just cry and walk off.

So you’d think that the talky bit would be easy, except I have no clue how long I’ll have to talk for or when to talk, or what to talk about, and these things stress me slightly. I have asked advice from comics who I know do warm-ups lots and the responses have ranged from ‘be chatty and do short jokes’ to ‘everyone will hate you, and not laugh at your material, but you get paid well’, which was nice. I’d managed to work myself up a bit about it all until I finally found out what show it was for thanks to Mark Watson’s twitterings last week. I’ve got 5 days on BBC4’s ‘We Need Answers’ which is a brilliant show with people I like in it. I felt immediately more at ease until I realised that if I do now screw it up, I’ll do so not only in front of a whole audience and telly people, but also three comics I like. This has suddenly made it all worse. Hopefully it’ll be a bag of fun. If not, hopefully it’ll be over quickly and I can get the tube home and shout at Barclaycard.

Last night’s gig was not a bag of fun. I had wrongly assumed, after recent uni gigs, that this year’s batch of students were brilliant. They had, so far been bright, confident and up for watching comedy. Sadly Chichester Uni has been the exception to the rule. The techie at the union said he wasn’t sure if the students there were very timid or very thick. After being on stage for a while I honestly couldn’t tell either but there was definitely something wrong with them. They didn’t get much and whenever I tried to speak to any of them, they did the classic ‘rabbit in the headlights’ look before trying to pretend I was looking at someone else. I can only assume that this is because they were all born 1991/1990, and are children of New Labour, so they are used to passing on things they are responsible for to others with simple distraction techniques. Case in point, and I’d like to point out that as you regular readers know, I’m rare to slap myself on the back for a quip I may have made, but I was particularly proud of this one. I asked a Theology student what his favourite gods to study were. He said ‘Sikh Gods’. I then retorted with ‘Are they the gods you have to try even harder to search for?’ Ten points to me for speed methinks. There was no laughter. No one got it. I felt like I was teaching pigs arithmatic. It has later been pointed out to me by @KulpreetSingh on Twitter, that there are no Sikh gods, just one creator, and only others are Sikh masters or gurus. This means the second year Theology student has learnt nothing. Nothing at all. Idiots. Gavin Webster was super lovely and closed the show, so myself and Pippa Evans could escape early and leave the timid thickies to their own devices. We then spent two hours driving through small country roads and forestry talking about ghosts and generally getting scared.

So fingers crossed tonight’s crowd are neither Chichester Student’s, angry Richard Herring blog readers or people from Barclaycard and it should all be grand.