When I arrived at the TV studio last night, they were in the middle of a rehearsal run through. Mark, Tim and Alex were all onstage but instead of the celebrity guests, there were two men, each of whom had a sticker on their chest stating which guest they were pretending to be. As questions were asked, the two men attempted to answer in the style of that guest and they continued this till they’d gone through the whole format once. I didn’t think much of this until I went backstage to get my umpteenth cup of free tea and some people were in the kitchen discussing these two men. ‘Do you know the stand-ins?’ a man asked a woman. I don’t know who these people were as I operated yesterday purely by making acquaintance with the 6 or so people I needed too and no one else. I’m sure everyone else was lovely but I was not exhibiting the brain capacity to remember all the names, and by focusing on being chatty with just six I managed to gain two free biscuits and lots of tea. That’s how you play the game people. Sadly I have now also forgotten 3 of those 6 people’s names as well and so today will prove difficult again. Anyway, the response to this man’s question from the woman was ‘no I don’t, but they are some of the best in the industry. They do stand-ins for Buzzcocks, HIGNFY and many others.’ Speaking to Tim later, he explained that these guys had done all the pilot series and would be stand-ins for the rest of this one too. This blew my mind. There are people out there whose entire job is pretending to be someone else. You might add that this is what all actory types do, but most of them do it to get eventually get on camera, they do it with some desire of fame. These professional stand-ins are destined never to be on the screen. That would ruin their job. The art form which they subscribe to is not for the screen, no, its for before screen happenings. Like criminal psychologists, except for celebrities, they get into the mind of their subjects and portray all possible characteristics, preparing the hosts for all eventuality. Yes they often answered wrongly or different to what the celebrity guest actually said later, and in fact if you look at it like that, they weren’t very good, but imagine what it would have been like should any old joe have been the stand-in to sit there are answer questions? Someone without the necessary skill? Chaos. That’s what it would have been. Complete chaos. I salute you stand-in men. They walked past me, but I couldn’t say hello out of awe. Next time you watch TV and think, ‘isn’t this quiz running all amazingly smooth and suchlike’, just remember the forgotten heroes who helped it get that way.
I’d quite like them to expand to other programs and mediums. In fact entire series of Big Brother would be run before Big Brother happened, but just with professional stand-ins. Music concerts all played beforehand with people that don’t know how to play instruments or words to songs but can imagine it and replicate it as best as. Stand-up stand-ins who go and give the crowd a test run first. If the crowd don’t respond well to them pretending to be the comedians and telling their jokes, then the real acts don’t bother coming out till they’ve got it right. Professional stand-ins, I call upon you to get your act together (arf) and expand your world of opportunities.
I have decided I like warm upping. I’m assuming that doing it for We Need Answers is easier than doing it for many other shows. The crowd seemed ridiculously lovely and up for it, and I wasn’t called on stage too much as Mark, Tim and Alex did their own bits to fill as well. The rest of the time I sat back and really enjoyed just watching the show. There were loads of very very funny bits and I think it’s going to be a great series. After all the shenanigans, there was some pub action and (SPOILER ALERT IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO KNOW WHO A GUEST ON THE SHOW IS) Terry Christian bought everyone a round. He got me a pint and I didn’t even have to drink it then throw it back up and drink it again, like he used to make people do. Instead he regaled us with lots of tales that we kept losing the thread to, but they all sounded exciting and he was a very nice man.
The only down point of yesterday was the small dead mouse that was left in my hallway about 2pm. I’m going to assume it was one of the cats, as they both looked guilty for the rest of the day. If it was the cats, I need to find a way to tell them, once again, that these are not the sort of presents I’d like. I very much want Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 when its out, so if there is anyway they could catch that and leave it in the hall I’d be very pleased. If it wasn’t the cats then I fear two things. Either a) I’m indebted to a very pathetic mafia boss, or b) the mice know I’ll dispose of the body for free and its cheaper than taking them to the mousoleum. Mousoleum? Eh? Eh? I slay me, I really do. Hmm, perhaps I should ask one of the stand-ins to do my job tonight. I fear they might actually be much better at it.