Week 7: I’m So Spoilt

Friday 16th February

Reading time 4 minutes 49 seconds (approximately)

According to the lads I watch football with I’m quite posh. Most of you will find this unbelievable, and amusing, and until this week I didn’t believe them myself. However I’ve been performing at the Leicester comedy festival this week and I’ve discovered there may actually be some truth in their mocking tone (the kids call it bantz).

I should say that I find Leicester to be my favourite city in England. My mate Paresh doesn’t agree. There are 4 reasons for this;

1. I once won a comedy competition here

2. See number 1

3. The people are super friendly

4. See numbers 1 and 2

For those that don’t know The Leicester Comedy Festival is a Comedy Festival based in Leicester and it has been running for 25 years. It’s a place where comedians come to try out their shows before slightly bigger events, such as The Edinburgh Fringe Festival (EFF) or where they come to perform their perfected show. It is a truly great place to watch comedians in intimate venues and in that respect it is perfect for stand-up comedy.

The show that I am lucky to be a part of is; 

The Extraordinary Time travelling adventures of Baron Munchhausen. 

It has become an Improv show for children but it started its life as an adult only show. This changed at last year’s EFF where the time slot had to be switched to midday which meant all of the unnecessary swearing had to be removed. By default it became a kids show. 

Anyway….I arrived in Leicester on Tuesday morning, dumped my bag at my digs and went to the venue to perform. Until this point in my life I have never used the term “digs” before but I am desperately shallow and I thought it would somehow help me get into Thespian speak with my colleagues.

As I said the shows format is Improvisation. The children in the audience become a part of the show as they shout out ideas which we incorporate into fantastical stories. It is chaotic, anarchic and fun.

The crowds have been what I can only describe as nuts and in some weird way it’s almost as if all of the kids had taken some hallucinogenic drugs hours before hand and the drugs had just started to kick in as their collective imaginations were amazing. 

We had Squid Goats, Inter dimensional toasters, Pavement based fried eggs, a 6 year old who believed the solution to all situations was to kill everybody and a 7 year old who proudly stood up to announce he had a pun. He did this 6 times and if it wasn’t for the child labour laws he would be writing for Tim Vine.

My favourite moment was when we asked what other androgynous names there were for men and women like Lesley or Terry and a 7 year old shouted out “Doctor Who”. Which is quite simply brilliant! 

The performers laughed a lot as did the grown-ups in the audience. The kids screamed, giggled, and seemed to have a thoroughly good time. I loved it.

Afterwards I returned to my digs. Which I really didn’t dig. Here’s why;

There was pubic hair on the bathroom wall spelling out the initials HT. 

There was poo on the toilet seat. Yes on.

There was at least 3 years of grease on the potato masher. 

Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs state that to survive, humans need some fundamental things [he may of put it in more scientific terms] but I’m quite sure Mr Maslow had never been discussed in shared student accommodation in Leicester. 

I could accept the pubic hair, even the poo, but what’s with the build-up of grease on a kitchen implement? I find it disgusting and frankly there is no need for it. I had complaints from my fellow house mates about leaving a mess in the kitchen although if it went to court I believe evidence will show that the kitchen had never been so clean after I finished with it.

However I’ve always said that you can’t argue with perception. Especially with people and students online. These are some of the same people who don’t wash potato mashers so your honour the defence rests.

My actual home is in Kent. Despite this it is rather lovely and over the last few years myself, and my Mrs, have invested time energy and money into making our space, calm and peaceful. The digs in Leicester were not calm nor were they peaceful. This meant I was not calm, nor peaceful, and it’s at this moment I realised I might be posh. I’d raised my standard of living and upon stepping down into student accommodation I found myself becoming arrogant and spoilt. How ridiculous? I don’t need soft carpets and 400 thread count Egyptian cotton bed sheets to be content. All I need is my mind to be sound. And of course to be able to mash potatoes cleanly and sleep in a minimum of 200 thread count linen.

To further evidence the posh theory I should mention that I also “borrowed” a drizzle of olive oil to cook some Pak Choi. This elicited the biggest complaint, to which I partially agree with them but look if I’m buying Pak Choi then I really should have some Olive oil to cook it in with some Extra Virgin Olive oil to drizzle over it once it’s cooked. 

Oh my God I have become a monster and I really do have Humous pockets in coats……as my mate Kev has always pointed out.

So what did I learn?

Firstly that I’m posh and spoilt compared to Leicester students.

Secondly that I’m an Olive Oil thief.

And lastly that I take my partner and my home very much for granted. 

It’s good to get away and it’s true that travel does indeed broaden the mind. It also makes you appreciate what you have. I have it all currently and if I survive my Leicester digs I shall be more grateful of my home and my partner.

Week 6: Fear

Friday 9th February 2018

Reading time 3 minutes 02 seconds


I recently saw this Acrostic [I’ve moved on from Google to my mate Alex for this type of information] and in it there was a quote about the feeling of Fear which rang true.





What this means to me is that my fears are not real, even though they feel real. 

I have one major fear which is at the core of my comedy career and it completely and utterly affects my behaviour on the days I am performing. That fear is known as my audience. 

I fear the very hand that wants to feed me and the people out there that I want to come along and enjoy themselves. The very same people, and reason, why I got into this game in the first place.

I recently read that you need to name your fear to help banish it. So there you go, fear named and banished. Well perhaps not entirely but it feels good to say it.

What am I afraid of?

I’ve died/failed before onstage before (many times) and I will die/fail on stage again (many times). Similar to life itself we all fail many times at many things but am I fearful of life? No, of course not. 

So back to the question “What am I afraid of?” Not being laughed at is one. My ego can’t handle it when my routine doesn’t work so I need to stop being so precious and remove my ego when I’m on stage. If people don’t laugh I’ll get over it, I’ll dust myself off and write and perform better material. You cannot be a good stand-up comedian and be so afraid of failure as it just doesn’t work.

I feel like that guy [I should have asked Alex his name but he told me the other week so it would look like I’m not paying attention………..] who was cursed to spend eternity pushing this huge rock up a hill only for it to roll back down once he gets it to the top. He then had to repeat this process for eternity. That dude was lucky because he lacked hope and I think hope is killing me because I have hope, lots of it. 

The hope to be good at comedy. But hope is not enough and like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (we get confused for each other constantly) I need to just get some attitude and get on and do the job. 

I am a positive person contrary to this read but I’m also pragmatic and because I want to succeed at being a comedian then I need to figure out what is missing, and what is really required.

So this week I am inspired by my mate Jim who stopped being one of those regular Schmos with a degree and masters and achieved his PHD with distinction.

I cried a bit when he told me as it’s taken him 4 years and I’m very proud of him. He achieved this with just sheer hard work. No titting about he just put the hours in and had a job done result.

So I’m copying my mate Jim!

Week 5: I Love You…..

Friday 2 February 2018

Reading time 2 minutes 45 seconds

”I Love You” Vs. “You Could Just Fuck Off”

Warning: Contains explicit language [see above]

4 years ago I heard the following; “If you ran into an arsehole in the morning, you ran into an arsehole. If you ran into arseholes all day long then you’re the arsehole.”

Damm, it turned out I was an arsehole.

It was because of anger. I was angry. Very Angry. I defined the short person stereotype.

Master Yoda wisely teaches “Anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering”. It’s taken me years to understand that.

Once I decided that I no longer wanted to suffer, I changed.

This realisation was important because if I was that miserable then what would I become as I aged? How exhausted would I be with my life? With the below quotes in mind (hastaggable by someone I’m sure) I started to rewire my brain;

“You can’t change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.”


“we either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. In the end, the amount of work is the same.”

One of the ways to alter my attitude was that I started to say “I Love You” before any interaction with another person. Obviously this was spoken in my head. I occasionally did try saying it out loud but it really made people uncomfortable.

The theory behind this method: It rewires your brain by changing the experience from a potential negative one into an always positive one. 

All I needed to do was apply this rule for every single interaction and then the nice, kind and loving person that I know lives inside of me can be on display all the time rather than occasionally.

The problem I found with trying to change is that the anger inside me had become my default setting so that before every interaction my brain said “You Could Just Fuck Off”. This was exhausting. During the transition my brain played out the following conversation;

“You Could Just Fuck Off……………Oh Yea, I Love you”

Did I want them to Fuck off or did I love them? It can’t be both. Can it?

My brain eventually started to change because of the contradiction of this argument. 

Love seemed to be winning.

How do I feel today? I’m happier and less angry……..

These days my brain plays out a different conversation before any interaction.

“I love you………….. especially if you could just fuck off”

It’s a huge step in the right direction. Right?

This week’s picture: A friend showed me a google App that scans your face and finds artwork across the globe that looks like you.

Week 4: So I Caught My Pooh

26th January 2018 

Reading time 3 minutes 02 seconds

Today I was going to explain how my standard day looked but after posting last Friday’s update to Facebook a box arrived in the post…………..

The background;

As my continual health drive rolls boringly on I’ve noticed my energy levels are inconsistent, so I’ve decided to invest time, effort and money into seeing a specialist nutritionist to help resolve this.

My aims are;

Sleep better

Lose weight

Become healthier

Apparently my pooh is of upmost importance so we are starting there.

The box that arrived in the post was for this specific purpose and I’m unsure why but I was genuinely excited.

My bathroom experiences are unadventurous I’m in and out in 90 seconds. I consider myself very lucky, especially after hearing about my mates experiences. 

Once you’ve exhausted Football there’s very little else that my bloke mates talk about.

One time I blocked the toilet and to help move it along its way, for some weird reason I thought boiling water would do it. All I did though was poach a pooh for 5 hours.

Back to the stool sample collection as it’s medically known.

The box contained;


The receptacle with fluid inside to keep sample fresh.

Disposable gloves. 

Catching device.

Instruction 1:

Fit catching device across a toilet seat. 

This was a piece of toilet paper that fitted onto the seat forming a slim paper bridge.

Once this was in position I squatted and did what needed to be done. Regrettably I missed the catching device and heard a satisfying PLOP!

Two hours later I tried again. This time I was On-Target. 

Unfortunately the target broke. I can only guess this was due to Terminal velocity. 

I’ve often been told I’m full of shit and this was finally an advantage.

After researching a better catching device on The You Tube or as I was now calling it for the day The Pooh Tube I was again ready.

Attempts 3 was a success.

Instruction 2:

Remove lid from receptacle ensuring you’re not in a pressurised environment. 

Who is doing this on a plane? What confidence!

The receptacle had a very handy spoon built into the lid which meant I could return the tea spoon I had decided to sacrifice for this task.

Instruction 3: 

Scoop from different areas of sample into receptacle close lid and shake vigorously.

I’ve never been this close to my poo before. Initially I was quite fearful of this experience but now I couldn’t stop laughing at the ridiculousness.

Upon dipping in the spoon I was very surprised by the consistency. 

I was accomplishing the task and I’ve had worse jobs [pun intended].

I sealed the lid and shook vigorously, the receptacle that is, not me.

I proudly looked at my achievement. Today was going to be a great day.

Instruction 4. 

Place receptacle into the Bio Hazard bag. 

Bio Hazard? 

I’ve produced a Bio Hazard!


Instruction 6.

Put back into box kit arrived in and post to the following address ensuring it arrives by 1pm the following day. 

Only send on Monday Tuesday or Wednesday it must be received within 24 hours of being placed in receptacle.

Surely this should’ve been instruction 1. 

It was Friday, a wasted Friday.

I then reread the instructions and at the very top it clearly stated:



It was at this point I decided to clean up. 

I should have just broken the toilet paper bridge and let it fall into the pan but I stupidly tried to remove it the same way it was installed. This meant my mess went everywhere.

It was then a thought crossed my mind that I should have worn the supplied disposable gloves.

Maybe today wouldn’t be such a good day

I now have to go back to the nutritionist and explain like I have to my many colleagues and managers in the past that I am the fool that rushes in where angels fear to tread and could I please have another go.

Week 3: How does Comedy work?

Friday 19th January 2018

Reading time 2 minutes 30 seconds

I had a double hip replacement in 2013 and the person I was then is not the person I am today. For example I’ve quit a lot of things over the last five years including;

Pain killers 

Pitying myself

Playing the Victim

Quitting stuff I start

Blaming others for me being a prick

My distaste for exercise

I’ve also failed at quitting all of the above but when I do I just quit it again.

Giving up those toxic things in my life feels as though I’m hitting the reset switch. A lot. 

Last year I also decided to hit the reset switch in my comedy and to go back to basics and in doing so I enrolled in a Beginners stand up course as I believe that every day is a school day and I’ve still got a lot to learn. 

I’ve realised that going back to school is fun.

It seems a bit odd, given that I’ve been gigging for a while, but in the past year I’ve sat on a few comedy workshops with other comedians and the feedback I’ve had is that I could be better. A Lot better. I’m also aware of this obvious fact.

Me being me I have taken this to mean I am awful hence why I am peddling back to square one.

Generally in a comedy workshop there are 10+ people and each person has to individually present 2 to 3 minutes of material. They are then critiqued by the facilitator (a pro comic) and the rest of the room (non pro comics). I call them peers. 

As a rule I tend to collapse when presenting my ideas in these workshops but I learn loads and that is why I continue to do them. So with the ‘could do better’ feedback in mind I decided to go back to the very beginning and re learn the basics. 

Don’t get me wrong I was worried about attending this course and last week was lesson one. It was brutal but I Ioved it, to a point……

Beforehand I’d already decided that I would probably be the most experienced in the room because this course was for beginners. Me being me I had also decided that I would be the worst. This became a self-fulfilling prophecy, and whilst I wasn’t the least experienced in the room I was worst. 

The first two non-pro comics presented and between them they had only done a handful of gigs, but both were excellent and the room laughed in all of the right places. 

Little old me went on third and I’m not just saying this for effect but I was awful. The room did not laugh. Not once. Not one laugh. Nada. Nothing. 

At the time, aside from being totally demoralised, I found it strange because all of that material had previously had a lot of laughs in lots of different places. I say a lot of laughs, but it’s all relative when compared to not getting any.

The teacher of this workshop is a stand-up comedian with 20 years’ experience and a person I admire. I often travel to Brighton just to watch him MC as I love the way his brain works. He’s so natural and comedic ideas flow out of him effortlessly. Obviously the effort has been put in over 20 years. 

I liken it to watching a musician performing jazz but without having to hear that crappy jazz sound. 

After I presented my stuff he took two of my jokes, changed the order of the words and the way they were delivered, and the room laughed.  It was amazing because he took my material and he made it good. In virtually zero seconds. I was in awe of him and acknowledged his was a much better way of presenting that particular material.

I got home and I talked to my long suffering Mrs. I explained the night in intricate, and quite boring, detail but in a very upbeat manner. When I finished my tall story she asked how I felt.

“Crushed” was my one word reply.

Good! Was the first word from her very mean mouth, once she’d stopped laughing that was. 

She was right though as I had signed up to learn and to paraphrase Master Yoda “Learning I was”.

Every day continues to be a school day…