Me and my girlfriend arrived in Edenborough around 3ish. We were looking to hook up with a mate but by the time we'd got to our hotel we realised that with a show starting at 5pm we didn't quite have time. Settled into the theatre we watched Talk Radio[external link], a play about a bloke doing a talkshow on the radio where people phone in. It was one of the most oddly direct and moving experiences I had all weekend. I really felt like it spoke to me directly given the fact that I used to present one for so many years. I was absolutely stunned. I couldn't believe how real it was and for the first time since I took on the role I felt like I wasn't totally alone in what I'd done.
The strange thing about presenting a phone in show is that it sort of isolates you from people. Even your peers, most of whom present music shows, don't quite get where you're at with it. 40 or so voices coming at you in the middle of the night, each of them with a different story to tell, none of them ever fully realised as the human being they truly are. It's a surreal, wholly involving experience and a job which completely takes over your life. Present one for long enough and the world you live in never quite looks the same afterwards.
I'm not sure if the play managed to project all of that to everyone who saw it but certainly for me it did. It's obvious I brought a lot of stuff to the table with me though.
The strange thing about phone in shows is that they are so powerful and so addictive. You can't wait to hear the next voice on the line. You can't wait to find out what will happen next. The play itself certainly conveyed this. It put me in a strange mood afterwards.
After that we saw Richard Herring, whose blog I link to in the sidebar. Because I read his blog regularly I expected him to be rubbish at stand-up. He often mourns his poor performances in a brutal style on it. As it turned out he was great and totally different to how I expected. I've said it before and I may as well again; both he and his mate Stewart Lee are much funnier now they've split up as a duo.
After that we watched something called "The Free Beer Show". This being our third show we were both quite tiddly and tired but the standard of acts was still high. The best bit ironically came when the first act on was heckled by some drunken fool who shouted abuse at both him and the compare. The act started saying things along the lines of "you're rubbish" to which he replied aggressively "come down here and I'll kick you're a#se".
Banter to one side the comedian started his set. A few minutes in and matey was on the stage. For a second it looked like it was going to kick off. Then the bloke shook his hand and said to him in a low apologetic voice "you're not as rubbish as the compare but you're still not funny enough, I'm going to leave". With that he left the venue. The comedian was stunned:
"F#ck. 26 years in comedy. I've never known a security team let the guy you're fighting with up on stage... what were you guys thinking? We'll just see how this little f#cker pans out. This'll be fun.
Man, I was thinking for a moment there.. I've been doin' this s#it for years and now it's finally goin' to happen here. That's how my career ends, gettin' the s#it kicked out of me with a big sign behind me that says 'free beer'!".
This place is great.