Lock the gate. All right, let's do this, how are you? What the fuck is what the fuck buddies? What the fuck in years? What the fuck Americans? What's happening? What is happening? America, God damn it, what a relief that was yesterday. I'm surprised I get so choked up about it, but I do anyways. The ceremony, the pomp and circumstance, the orderly transition of power in the middle of thirty thousand National Guardsmen.
But look, it's done. New management is here. The conspiracy theories were wrong. Not only wrong, but it seems like some of the creators of some of the bigger conspiracies were basically like that. We were just kidding. Huh. Pretty funny, right? We used your gullibility to break the world. You get it right. Hilarious, right? The Internet's amazing. It's awesome. All right. Good luck.
It's still going to fascinate me for the rest of time how so many people just couldn't wrap their brain around how one of the biggest assholes that's ever lived publicly or privately was unpopular enough to lose the presidential election, that a majority of people wanted new management, wanted stability, wanted the government to function again, wanted to be able to look at their neighbors again, to feel like they could believe in people again.
I'll tell you, one of the the dark gifts of this last four years is we know who we all are. I know who I am. I know who my neighbors are. I know who my parents are. And friends of the family.
We know who everybody everything's on the table. All the garbage is floated to the top.
And some of the cream, but what a celebration it was yesterday in terms of embracing diversity, embracing people of all types and just bringing back some sort of stability, man, it's really stability and the belief that that something will be taken care of in a reasonable way, in a righteous way, in a respectful way, and that the person at the helm is a guy who understands how to do the job, how to do the work, how it works.
And he's a humble dude that Biden.
I'll tell you that that speech was one of the best inaugural speeches I've heard. And I felt like he held the the weight of the world on his shoulders in a respectable and decent way. He's a guy with some real humility, some real wisdom. He's got age on his side. But, you know, he's a humble guy with a deep heart and understands grief.
And this fucking country is soaking in it, soaking and fucking grief. He happens to be the right guy for the job at this time.
Carmel was great. Everybody was great. I even got nostalgic and in an angry way, seeing like w waddle down those stairs, that recognizable waddle. It's interesting how well you get to know the people that you have the most resentment towards, especially public figures. When you're given the opportunity to hate somebody deeply every day, you really understand them. They really make a fucking scar in your brain.
They're really up there forever. So are the people you love. But it's interesting the type of energy that is sort of re grooved in relet when you see somebody you haven't seen in a while, who you resent deeply, maybe even righteously. But I I thought the inauguration went great. I really do the peaceful transition of power behind a wall of tens of thousands of National Guardsmen before I get too far into whatever I'm going to be doing, my guest today is NDR policeman.
I first met him in the U.K. back in 2007. He's a comedian. He just started up the podcast, A Bugle with John Oliver, which he still hosts along with the news quiz on BBC Radio four. He was a good guy. I was out of my mind with sadness and fucking chaos because I'd been left by my second wife and I went to Scotland.
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Man, so it's relieving that we're not going to be kind of brutalized and terrorized on a daily basis. By a autocratic. Pig of a person by a mean sociopathic leader. That we're not going to have to deal with that every morning waking up, look, people love that guy assholes a lot of them or just people who are so rich, they don't give a fuck about people.
But the truth of the matter is, he was an abusive piece of shit. And he was throwing that shit at us every day, and those of us who who felt that deeply and those of us who he terrorized daily. Feel relieved because a majority of people are us. A big majority of people are the people that saw that guy for the asshole that he was all the way through and could not understand or believe why he was president and then had to deal with that fear every day from day.
Fucking one. Just being abused and terrorized by a guy who enjoyed it. He enjoyed being hated by people, he enjoyed any kind of attention he got. But you are fucking making people hate him and making the people that didn't like them. Angry and scared. He created a tome for this country that was just. Horrible. The neediness of that evil fuck that we had to deal with for four years was debilitating, draining, dangerous, deadly, the lack of responsibility, debilitating, draining, deadly.
And now that's over. We get a little relief.
Look, man, I'm not saying that everything's OK or that the monsters are going to go away or that even things are resolved, get big fucking problems. All I know is that one place down now we got to get rid of this other plague. So unless this is your first time listening, you probably know my deal with cats right now. I've just got Buster here now. But for the entire run of the show, there have been cats in and out of my life.
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So now we move on and it's no less scary. I want to get vaccinated. I want to get through this. I want people to bounce back. I'm not optimistic, I'm not even that hopeful. Necessarily, I'm just relieved and I feel a little. A little safer on a country level. In terms of the possibility for stability and that we're all not just reacting to or becoming symbiotic with a malignant narcissistic autocrat who is able through charisma and propaganda and repetition.
It's really brain fuck a lot of people. Into following him, but also into being terrified on a day to day basis of him and what he represented.
So now with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, president and vice president, maybe, maybe we can stabilize this fucking. Undertaking, get everybody vaccinated and try to rebuild a little bit, I just. I don't know. I'm relieved today, I really am. So Andy Saltzman, he's in the U.K., or he was a couple of weeks ago, this happened before the inauguration, as I said earlier, I met him back in 2007.
He's got the podcast, The Bugel, and he's also on the news quiz on BBC Radio four. And this is a nice conversation I had with Andy Saltzman.
What's up, pal? I'd like to see it. It's been a while, it's been a very long time. Yeah, I saw at the last time I saw you, was it could it be the only time I saw you? Well, we we did stuff together in Edinburgh. That right. It was a terrible six, was it.
It was a long time ago. Pre podcast's.
Well, it was it was a terrible time for me, as I recall. Yeah. It's not entirely my fault. I know it had nothing to do with you. You were very nice. All right.
You you gave me a spot on your show. You were pleasant, but I it was my first time at the festival and I vowed never to go back there again.
And I haven't.
You've kept that vow. It's good. There's very few vows in this world that people keep these days of having the courage to stick with that.
I just didn't understand the whole system. It's a system that you guys, you know, live with over there and that you guys understand. For me, it was just embarrassing and horrendous and it was a desperate and sad. And I had just gotten separated from my wife and I was heartbroken and I was on a double bill and I didn't realize that was a shitty idea.
Well, yeah. I mean, there's a certain sort of factors involved and probably, you know, immediately post breakup is not the ideal time to do it. Another a professional people make award winning shows out of break ups these days. It's something I've never quite managed to to to create in my personal life.
But I'm still married. I'm still married. Yeah. Yeah.
Which is really have held back my creative side as well.
So the breakup show can still happen like you. Fuck.
Yeah, maybe wait till the kids are left home, you know, just for there you go then it's got an extra added edge.
It's like I can't believe I put up with it this long so. But but but the whole Edinborough process, I mean you go back there every year, right.
Most years. Obviously 20/20 was not a great year for Edinburgh for obvious, but for everybody. Yeah, it was. So yeah. One of my most profitable Edinburgh financially I think.
But the didn't go is actually able to make money at home. But yeah.
So I went for the the first time doing new act competitions in 1999, did a four handed show in 2000. That was well it was pretty catastrophic. And you know I learnt a lot about well about the you know, the art of negotiating silence and hostility, which is a key part of stand up. And then I did my first solo show the following year in 2001.
But the other part the other part of it. You were in Edinburgh. Yeah. Yeah. The silence and hostility. But no one being there. I mean, the silence, it's not it's not because your jokes aren't going well. It's because you had to drag two people in off the street. Don't know where they're going. You sit there and validate your fucking job choice.
Well, it could be both of those things, Mark. It could be two people not laughing. So, you know, you could combine them. But the very the first year I did a solo show that ended up going reasonably well within the context of a show that averaged about fourteen people the very first night I had one ticket sale. And it later turned out that the person who'd bought the ticket was another comedian who had done a gig with a few months before.
So being a good guy, helping you out. So it was ombuds and very, very slowly upwards.
But but that the whole process of it, they're like, I have some questions about Britain in general because I always assume that you guys have it all together and you're you're ultimately a better culture than us and that somehow you think you're all smarter than we are. And but I don't know if that's true or not, but I do. The system there is that ultimately you have to build an audience at these festivals to make your yearly money. Correct. I mean, you don't there's not a huge touring business there, is there?
Um, I think that's changed over over the years now. And there was a sort of stand up boom, I guess, early to midway through the first decade of this millennium, which isn't going great as millenniums go.
But now it might be the last one.
We're not going to make it very far into this one. I think we're going yeah, I was optimistic note to kick off with, but I think it did change a bit. So I started out, like I said, around about 99, 2000.
And then there were sort of there was a TV boom in standup and that's a TV boom I managed to successfully avoid. But it did make so good for you. Good individual solo touring. More viable, right? Yeah. So so, you know, a lot of comedians will sort of go, right, there's. Not necessarily the most glamorous. It's not it's not all stadium tours, so I know I know what one thing is, but I just I just it always seemed to me that the slog of the festivals is you keep going back until somehow or another, you know, the plan is to build enough of an audience that, you know, when you go back there, you're one of the big ticket and you can walk away with it, you know, thousands of dollars.
You know, that's the big reward of slogging through that thing every year and going through the embarrassment and the struggle of a month. And in that tourist town.
Yeah, I mean, that's you know, there are positive sides to Edinburgh. And I've always loved doing it for the, you know, just the creative side of it. And I've never been particularly good at the sort of career side of things. But, you know, it can it can clearly help you evolve in terms of your your sales. But I think creatively and certainly for the comedians of my generation, it was a you know, where we went to sort of learn the the art and the craft of standup because you could go around the circuit doing a five minute, 10 minute, 20 minute spots and not always particularly helpful environments.
But in Edinburgh, you could have your own hour. And, you know, I think that's where you sort of work out what you want to be as a comedian.
That's interesting. So so in lieu of of headlining. Yeah, I'm the road that, you know, you go there for a month and you do the hour.
Yes. Yeah. So the first year I did it, 2001, I was, you know, struggling to get much paid work on the circuit and, you know, for your particular struggle.
And why do people want the Saltzman?
Well, I've made it back to that that silence that we talked about before. It was I was I think as a circuit comedian, I was I was hit and miss out. I was an inconsistency to my game. And I struck out a lot in baseball parlance and got the home run. But probably the stats were maybe good enough for, you know, you want a reliable hitter and those kind of gigs.
So I'm still inconsistent and I pride myself on that. I yeah, I try to I've I've spun that into a positive. It's like that's what makes me an artist is my inconsistency.
Yes. I guess that's a good way of looking at it. But I think I learned fairly early on that, you know, it probably wasn't going to be my long term career doing clubs down. It wasn't I was particularly good at and, you know, the feeling was entirely mutual between me and the club circuit who didn't give me money booking. So going to Edinburgh, then you have to sort of blank canvas and you can be you can sort of set it up how you want.
You're not following a different comedian who might be a lot better than you are, a lot different to you. And it was certainly where, you know, where I guess found out the type of comedy that I wanted to do.
Also, there's the the the idea that it's a it's a theatre piece now. It's not it's not managing a bunch of drunks at eleven thirty at night. It's we're all going to sit here for an hour and this thing is going to come together somehow perhaps may not be funny, but it'll be thoughtful. And I bought myself a little time.
Yes. I mean ideally it'll be both funny and thoughtful, but. Yeah. And I think that's yeah it was it was creatively, you know, inspiring in a lot of ways. And you're going to see your peers and see what they were doing, you know, expanding in the same way.
Who were the guys when you were coming up? Like, because like, I don't know, like who is your generation of British comics that I know you worked with John Oliver forever. And, you know, you guys are pals. And I love John a lot. And he's you know, he's kept me sane lately. Do you guys talk often?
Does he keep you saying, well, we don't talk as often as we used to. We used to talk every week and record it and put out this podcast. But since John stopped doing that, which is four or five years ago now, I say whenever I go to New York, which again, the current global situation isn't looking like it's going to be very soon again. And, you know, we sort of chat every now. And he did.
He did. He did the bugel for the first time since he left the show just before Christmas. So that was. Yeah, we got the old band back together for. Oh, that was fun, right?
It was. It was great, actually. It was. Yeah, it was a lot of fun. And it was you know, we we sort of met doing the live standup circuit and he did little sketches. And my first Adam show, I did some stuff in his first Edinburgh show the following year, 2002, we toured on the student union circuit, which is, again, sort of part of my generation of British comedians. There was quite a thriving student union circuit where you could go and experiment and it didn't matter so much.
That was better than clubs, right? It was better than clubs, partly because generally, you know, you were booked in to do a whole tour. So it wasn't like you had to succeed at. Every week to get called back, so so we we got to know each other pretty well, then we did some radio series together. Then when John got The Daily Show job and left me doing an Edinburgh show alone instead of a two hander in front of about 25 people.
And I also went to the biggest comedy show in the world.
Have that go for you. How do you take that? Well, I'll be honest, it was it was a bit tricky at the time. He got offered The Daily Show job just before about a month before Edinburgh started. And so we had it was an exaggeration.
So we had to I had to rewrite the show because we hadn't entirely got around to starting writing it at that point.
That must have been a horrible, horrible conversation.
Well, not not really, because, you know, it was clearly a pretty big opportunity. So.
No, I know. But still, you had to suck it up, I guess.
And we'd also had to BBC radio series cancelled around about the same time. And I found out my wife was pregnant. So it was a month of considerable upheaval for me.
Did you do a show about having a baby?
No, I've never I did a routine. My second child I delivered in the bathroom. You did? I did, yes. On purpose?
No, definitely not on purpose. I think it might've have been an early prank by my zero minute old son. But it's it just things happened a little too fast and I ended up. Oh, my God.
A brief but very statistically successful midwifery career.
Did did you know what you were doing? Absolutely not. I mean, I've managed to avoid picking up practical skills throughout my life, but that that was I don't think everyone has that practical skills.
That's something you know, it's not in the book of its repair. So midwifery is what you've either got it or you haven't.
But, yeah, it was terrified. But fortunately, it was a fairly straightforward. But I was on a phone call to the emergency services.
Oh, my God, did you have to cut the umbilical cord and everything? Didn't have to cut the cord. Sadly, there was an ambulance on the way, so they sort of dealt with the they stepped in. They stepped in and know they did. They got close. They closed it out. But I was it was God, it was.
And I went I went to a British private school where they specifically specifically designed to leave you with absolutely no practical life skills. So when I found myself in that situation, there was there was nothing in my life that had given me.
Oh, yeah. That's that's something that people take care of for you. Exactly. Yeah. You go to the place and they do it. Yeah.
You know, out of the view of others. Exactly. Yeah.
How do you grew up in London.
I grew up just south of London in a town called Tunbridge Wells, which is a sort of commuter belt, conservative town that's, you know, so perfectly pleasant but not wildly exciting.
And what kind of what were your what did your parents do?
My father was a sculptor, really successful sculptor. It depends how you define success, Mark.
I mean, artistically, I would say yes. And commercially, not not as successful.
But he, I guess, understood if he misunderstood what he said, an example that's in terms of a career role model, that it wasn't necessary to get what you might call a proper job. So when I started thinking about doing standup, he couldn't turn round to me and say, what are you doing with your life? Because he'd spent the last twenty five years in a barn with a lot of wax and plaster. So so, you know, we were big pieces, but they were real mixture.
If you can you can see on the just up behind me there, there's. Oh yeah.
Oh he did not abstract either.
Those are, you know, figures that if you went through all kinds of different different styles. But and so we grew up surrounded by his.
And you got this basement. Is that where you are. I mean, I have a sort of office shed in the garden.
So that's where you hide the sculpture. It's not something you put right in the living room. What we've got we've got some in the living room as well. So. Well, they just moved they just moved house. So we had to clear out his studio. And so there was rather the not around anymore. No, no. He's still around, but he's not really sculpting anymore. But we sort of picked up a consignment of artworks. So now our house has become something of a bit of a Zac Holtzman Art Gallery Zartman.
So you grew up going to openings, you know, looking at new pieces.
There are many openings, but we used to go and see his studio and, you know, disappear off every every day and. Now and again, bring home something, but, you know, it's, I guess, a creative example.
Did your mother work for a living? I mean, who?
Well, she had been a radiographer and then x ray tech. What the. Yeah. And I guess generally the way when she had three children, she just sort of looked after us and then subsequently became a teacher from mid to late forties and taught for 15, 20 years. So yes, there were quite different people really.
And you brought up Jewish. Well, sort of. My my father was from a Jewish Jewish family, grew up in South Africa.
And they his parents were Lithuanian Jews, essentially, that ran away to South Africa in the early 20th century.
My grandfather went South Africa in about 1920. My dad was born there, then moved to England, married my mother. His Jewish parents were not entirely delighted that he married a gentile. My mother then converted and they remarried. So they got married without getting divorced. So then my mother became Jewish so that their children would be would be so. So we weren't really brought up strictly Jewish. I was, I guess the most Jewish I've probably ever felt was eight days old.
And what had happened, I still got the receipt for that. But but we didn't really we didn't grow up in a Jewish community or anything. And we didn't go to Jewish schools. But we were my brother and I were both mitzvot. We used to go and have Hebrew lessons. Sure.
To teach us to to to read our bits of the Torah that we were going to need for our bar mitzvahs, of course, and not understand them, you know.
Absolutely not. Didn't know what it meant. We knew how technically to how to sing them.
Yeah. They get the weird rhythm, the Haftorah and get through it. Yeah.
So that's interesting because like I was hoping to glean something about British Jewish culture, because for some reason I have this weird obsessive fascination with British Jews.
And I just wonder, you know, what they eat in, you know, how they communicate with each other in relation to like, you know, it kind of Ashkenazi American middle class Jews. Like, is there a similarity? You know, I don't talk to many British Jews.
I can't really help you with that. I know. Man Yeah.
We've talked about did you have a bar mitzvah party? I did have a bar mitzvah party.
It was the day after one of the largest hurricanes that's ever hit the British Isles. And so we almost couldn't get to the synagogue. We had to drive about 40 miles to the nearest synagogue. But, yeah, it got ended up with a one trumpet's up and a big book about cricket. That's what I remember about it.
And a few bonds. No bonds? No, I don't think so. No, it was no cash, little bit of cash, but not a life changing.
I mean, I guess not a life changing amount of cash, but you went to a private school. Yes. Yes.
And what is that? Did you go to you went to one of the fancy colleges?
Well, it was I guess it was sort of traditional English private school. I didn't most of the pupils were bored as an all boys school, but I was a day pupil, so my my father would drive us, drive me and every month.
So some of them would sleep there. Yeah. They wear the blazer.
Yes. I sort of tweed jacket, very sort of, you know, traditional kind of British education. And it was good in some ways but less good in others that, you know, suggested there were huge gaps in my practical.
I never met a girl when I left school, couldn't rewire a plug in to change a tire on a car, but I could express all that and grammatically perfect Latin. So it was you know, they were good points and bad points, I guess. You learn Latin.
Yes. Yeah, Latin and ancient Greek.
Just in case you always make a comeback.
You had to break the I think I can't remember if it was compulsory, but I really liked it. And I ended up studying it at university as and as did my my wife. And that's how we met. So Latin basically have found me a life partner.
So what was it about Latin, do you think? I don't know. I guess as a sort of fascination in the way civilisations that grew and flourished and then. Faded in the same way with the ancient Greeks always prefer the ancient Greek side of of my my studies and yeah, it was a fascinating sort of studying a completed civilization. But when you think of now that the upheavals that America has been going through of late and there are certain patterns that use that obviously recur through history as civilizations rise and fall.
So this where you tell me I got to leave. I'm not sure exactly what point of the I don't know if the the Visigoths are at the gate yet or close. They're at the capital they were yesterday, but the physical is a bit more organized and that.
Thank God that's the one blessing. Is there no idea what they were there, what they got in. They didn't know what to do other than take pictures and ruin things.
Yes. And try and steal a lectern, that guy. So but but so that you had a sort of fascination with the the coming the fading of empire or. Yes.
Which is as a as a bridge growing up in the late 20th century was really quite a useful thing to have. Yeah.
And I also I studied ancient Greek comedy, which was absolutely fascinating.
I escalus why he was doing was Aristophanes was the stuff and he's right.
The clouds. Right. Yes. Yeah.
And what then one of those open with like a farting contest. There's a lot of farting around. It's it, it's, it was because it was performed. So all layers of society the it was it, it operates on a huge number of levels comedically. There's still there's fart jokes, there's, you know, sex jokes and there's literally parody and political satire all WAJD into one. And it was absolutely, absolutely fascinating. I saw I was with my wife on holiday in Greece about 15 years ago and there was a production of the Aristophanes is Frogs' in the ancient Roman theatre on the side of the Acropolis in Athens, Greek in modern Greek.
But we happened to have a translation of it with us on holiday because I was doing a radio show about ancient Greece just after that. And I was trying to read up on stuff that I'd forgotten from 15 years ago. So we happened to have a translation. We could sort of follow along with it. And it was really amazing seeing jokes that were almost two and a half thousand years old, still making people laugh, basically, you know, a couple of hundred yards away from where they were first performed in about 400 B.C. It was it was one of the most sort of inspirational comedic watching a comedy, watching moments that I've had felt like, you know, time had ceased to exist as a concept.
People were still laughing at the same stuff, you know, 2400 years on.
It's inspiring to know that if you structure your act correctly, you never have to change it.
And then there's that as well, is that if you if you rely on farts and subliminal sex jokes, you can go for centuries, century.
And a lot of that. They were not subliminal. They were limited.
But that is sort of fascinating because the idea in this day and age, you'd be like, well, that's tacky. It's like it's hackie. But, you know, it's there are human truths. Yes. That have remained embarrassingly funny since the beginning of humans. Yes.
Yeah. And I think they will they will always, you know, in I think it's something that is really missing from sci fi in, you know, long, distant future. There's not enough people still laughing at flatulence.
And, well, flatulence is always surprising on a couple of ways. You know, you've got the noise itself. You've got the duration of the noise, you know, but now and then there's a third one. There's smell. So like three levels right there.
Yeah. And I don't know how they operate in, you know, in deep space. Maybe that's the human body works differently. But, you know, I would think that that's something that sci fi moving for.
I'm sure I, I don't I you know, in the right stuff, you got a guy peeing in a spacesuit.
We have I don't know if I've not seen flatulence explored, you know, like the inability to get away from your own flatulence in the suit. Yeah. You know, and maybe that causes deaths. Maybe an entire ship of of guys in suits get some food poisoning and they all die.
And it's a tremendous mystery for floating around in space for centuries.
Right. I mean, it sounds like we're workshopping a film picture, Mark. We are right.
And the punchline is, oh, my God, they they shit in their suits. We go, yeah. So OK. Ended up with a degree in ancient Greek and Latin. Yeah. My college.
Well I was at University College in Oxford. Is that the Oxford. Yes. Yeah. So and so I left with this. Agree, but no. No real idea what I wanted to do in life, but the but the education, right. Like, I want to demystify, like, you know, I've, you know, recently as time goes on, you know, Harvard is completely demystified.
They make monsters and and they don't necessarily you know, they they you know, it's careerism, but there is some good things about it. But there is the type of of ambition that is kind of nurtured there that I've seen in show business that is disconcerting. Now, I'm not saying you can't get a good education at Harvard.
I'm just saying that, you know, they've they've created fascist and and and very popular comedy writers.
So. But but I mean, the question about Oxford is, I guess who do I talk to? Is it Sacha Baron Cohen? Was he an Oxford graduate?
I mean, if he was Oxford or Cambridge, I actually remember him. Oliver went to went to Cambridge. OK.
And the difference between the two is what they're pouncer. Nothing, nothing much like one's like blue one's dark blue. Identify the colour of people's blood or or what. But it's there's no there's not a great deal of difference. I don't know.
And the structure of the education, like, were you able to like you well-rounded intellectually you identify well-rounded is the right the right description.
I mean, it is you know, it's good. It's a fascinating place. But but, you know, there's particularly doing that that type of study. I did it, doesn't it? Again, it's not got huge applications to to the real world, but I had a great time there and.
Yeah, but what is the real world? I mean, the real world is like I mean you like to think you're a thinker. You're a guy who looks at the world and processes it politically and philosophically and socially. And you commented on it. I would imagine that the education you got was perfect for that.
I guess so, yes. And like I said, I ended up, you know, doing comedy, which I slightly studied as part of my ancient Greek side of the other option.
I mean, how did you arrive at that?
Well, that was part of the literature course. So it was the ancient Greek literature was whether the tragedies and epic poetry that Homer and the so studying the sort of foundations of European civilisation.
How did you decide to do comedy like?
I think just because it was just I was just interested by it. And I've done a little bit of it at school. And it was just struck me as being an interesting thing to study, you know, you know, how did comedy work in a completely different ancient dead civilisation? And and I think, you know, it shows a lot. You know, a societys comedy tells you a lot about that society in a way that, say, studying the tragedies, which were sort of less topical and more sort of universal, didn't necessarily give you an idea of what it would have been like to be an ancient Athenian.
Whereas right when you the comedy, when you think the comedy is aiming at making the people watching it at the time laugh, and so you can then start to understand people's sense of humor and therefore you can almost build up a picture of what what life would have been like, what you know, how people would have talked to each other, how they would have tried to make each other laugh. So I guess, you know, there's certain timeless universalities about that that were.
But what comic when did you realize, like, I can do that? What did you see was a end up? Well, I that my first ever gig was at, well, a very drunk. And B, it was it was a comedy night while I was a student at Oxford. Yeah. In our college. And a friend had organised it. And the headline act rang up half an hour before saying he couldn't make it. And I was just going to introduce it and do a couple of bits in between.
And so I had to try and fill a bit more time and a support act and a longer set. And I had about half an hour's notice of this and got very drunk and can't remember anything that I said. But I remember the surge of adrenaline of doing it, which, you know, one of the addictive things about about standup.
And so you remember for 30 seconds, I didn't feel as drunk as I was. Exactly. I didn't I've never been a particular drinker, but it was, you know, I guess the nerves and the tension. So that was my first attempt at standup. I then had a few gigs when I left university that went so badly that I gave up for about a year and a half.
But what was the other option for work for you? Like if you wasn't standup, what were you headed towards teaching?
I don't know. I sort of had a vague idea that I wanted to be a journalist and particularly a sports journalist and left university, applied for about 80 jobs, ended up getting a job. Subediting articles about European finance. Which was slightly less exciting than it sounds while it lasted about riveting, I was surprised it lasted about a year, then just gave up and and started doing the open mic circuit in in London.
And who was around who are the guys that, you know, like that you started with that are still around?
Well, I mean, John was starting out around about the same time Russell Howard was starting around that Jimmy Carr people have been very successful here. Daniel Kitson was sort of the big guy, the most successful comedian of my generation creatively. And he was, I think, someone that, you know, everyone of my generation on the circuit sort of looked up to.
He was like, yeah, yeah, I I knew I heard about kids in four years. And I think I saw I saw one big show his in London.
I know he you know, he's a unique person. Yeah.
He doesn't do the podcast or talk or, you know, function necessarily in a sociable way.
But I, I've met him a few times and I know that he's revered. Yes. So he was of your generation or a little ahead of you? Yeah.
Well, he'd started a bit before before mid terms of the gigs that were kind of landmarks in my early stand up career. There was one in particular. I went to see Robert Newman, who'd been a huge TV star in the early 90s. Yeah. Various shows. And he become a kind of crusading, almost journalistic stand up. And he did do an hour and a half in Edinburgh, largely about, you know, the perils of capitalism and globalisation.
And it was just hugely eye-opening that someone had to almost that, you know, the courage to do that and that the skills to make it interesting, the charisma to to carry off. And that was that was what I was up doing. My job at that package. I mentioned Edinburgh, my first sort of full Edinburgh, when I was really struggling, a late night gig. And I don't really have the skills for it. I mean, going eight months or so on the circuit and, you know, there's a you know, a lot of things that I couldn't do.
And I was becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the material I was doing. And seeing Robert Newman do such a, you know, fearless, uncompromising show made me think, well, maybe I need to not not keep worrying about what is going to make the audience laugh and think more. What? You know what? Why am I doing this and what do I want to do?
And that is the moment that we of inconsistent means we all have that powerful moment of enlightenment that dictates our struggle for the rest of our lives.
I don't need to make them laugh as long as I'm smart and blow their mind.
And that's why I'm sitting in a shed in South London as we speak.
Yeah, that's it, man. So what about sterilely? Well, that was another important gig for me. That was one. I supported him a charity night and seen him on television. I'd never seen him doing live standup. And yeah, it was the line up was Stewart Lee headlining Miss Support Act. And after us was D.J. Randy Groover, who was. Yes, D.J. in a spangly jacket playing some that employees tell me most people were there to see him.
I think I can't really remember too. But I'm still Atley wasn't I mean, he was quite well known, but he hadn't become the was this before he quit and then come back?
I think he was just on the way back at that point. Oh, from memory. And then I did a few gigs supporting him on tour when he was briefly on a diet where he ate nothing but cabbage soup.
And had I remember that day. Come on.
The fact what I think he had been I don't know how much good it did him, but he didn't seem to be enjoying it very much. But it was, you know, as a new stand up, getting to support him on at a few gigs and, you know, travelled around.
Was he able to integrate flatulence into the show that you have always had that club in his back?
And I also I did I did some get my first year. I did my first solo show. And in 2001, I ended up doing three gigs supporting Joan Rivers, which was that was that was really eye opening.
I don't know quite how she ended up with me as her support act, but to see someone I can't remember how old she was, she must've been about 70 at the time with just such a great enthusiasm and energy that she had and sort of just the love for performing.
That was I mean, she was how she how did how did she do what she did? She she had quite a big fan base in a musical theatre. And they were very you know, me doing seven minutes at the start to 500 Joan Rivers fans was not necessarily a recipe for success, but she was she was having incredible physical energy and, you know, the speed of her mind as well. It was that was that was really great to see it as a new stand up to someone who, you know, been doing it since literally before I was born.
And were you like, I don't know how old you are. And compared to me, how old are you? I'm 46.
Oh, you're younger than me, right? Yeah, so you don't remember necessarily or you were not comedically cognizant when when Bill Hicks landed in your country?
No, I miss that. And I yes, that's I think, you know, if I'd been, I think, more more into comedy than I was as a student, I could have seen him. Nick Doody, who was a comedian, if you you know, Nick from the British circuit, I think I mean, he ended up supporting Bill Hicks at a gig as a student in Oxford.
Well, it seems to me that for some comics and certainly maybe for somebody like you, you know, his arrival was sort of like, you know, Hendrix, you know, to to to the to the musicians of London when he came over.
Yeah. There seemed to be an impact being made.
Well, I was a bit before my time, sadly. So I sort of missed out on on that. Yeah.
But I think there's a legacy of. Oh definitely talking about. Yeah. I mean like when I saw stalwartly like I'd been hearing about him for a long time and I just I don't know a lot about British comedy, but you know, when I went into Edinburgh and I saw him, you know, that he's one of those guys that decides the pace. Yes. You know, I've always admired people that sort of like this is going to be difficult for a lot of you.
But there's this is what's going to happen. And this is the speed at which it will happen. And this is the tone of it. Yes. So make your decision.
Are you in or out? Yes. And, you know, it's a rare thing. It's a great thing.
Yes. And it's I guess at some point all comedians have to decide. If how and where they will or will not compromise, and I know and it's the weird thing, you know, it's, you know, one of your gifted if you have no choice in a weird way, like if you like, if this is all you got, this is me.
I got no other gear. Yeah. There's no like, I better I better do this to make this work better. Yes. That that's a gift. It's a painful gift, but it's a gift, but it's a liberating realization.
And I saw it again, one of my first items, I went see Tim Vine, who does nothing but puns. And, you know, he I remember that guy, but he has absolutely no plan B actually. Not everyone likes Plan B, but he just he has it in his own way, totally uncompromising as well.
And so, yeah, I think that's what I got out of most in my first two or three years doing Edinburgh was seeing, you know, other comedians who are sort of further on in the process and how they were choosing to to to do their comedy dug into their character.
Yeah, I'm going to do something I haven't done before, but I think it'll make the conversation better. I'm going to excuse me for a second. I can go the restroom. All right. Yes. Don't go away. OK.
It's very interesting to me because I'm talking to you and your British that I actually excused myself.
I mean, generally it would be like I got to hang out a minute. But no, I. I'd like to be excused for a second.
I have to use the restroom, OK. The fuck is wrong with that stuff? If you can't, you can't. You might have jumped ship in 1776. You can never, never fully get rid of us. They might be rigged with Brexit. Know we're open for business again.
Come back to the mothership America I yeah I can you get me up to speed. So you're in lockdown right now. Big time, right? Big time. Because there's a there's a new exciting strain. Yes. That that permeates walls.
It permeates everything. It's a British strain. Therefore it's easily the best. It's a world leading virus strain. Once again, we're ahead of the world.
Yet finally back there back. Yes.
So, yeah, we're sitting at home and. Yeah.
Were you able to go out for a little while?
I mean, I don't know what you guys are going through. It's pretty like it's it's it's always it's so scary here. Do you know people that have gotten it? Are you.
I know a few people who have had it. And I mean, luckily, no one close to me has been been severely ill with it. Yeah. But it's been a massive disruption of my children's school in fourteen and twelve and oh, it's you know, it's tough them to, you know, sit at home just basically working off computers and which is, you know, it's it's a huge scar on the whole sort of generations childhood. So I'm sure we know the full repercussions of it.
We've got a nice house and a bit of space and parks nearby and yeah. So, you know, it's much better.
And you guys are going crazy. Are you getting closer to learning things about each other? You never wanted to.
So we've got on pretty well. Yeah. Considering I watched a lot of television here and you during the summer last year, I in my sort of parallel life to comedy, I'm a cricket statistician and I do cricket stats on the radio for the BBC cricket coverage. So I've got to go and spend six weeks watching international sports during the middle of lockdown, which is one of the weirdest, most surreal experiences of my of my life.
So but it's nice that like it is you are grateful to be working. Yes. I mean, the one thing about doing what we do and figuring out how to adapt is that I mean, you do a weekly radio show now, correct?
Yeah, I do a radio show for BBC Radio four called The News Quiz, which is a topical show that's on to the half half sort of twenty four weeks year. And I still do the Bugel podcast with sort of rotating cast of co-hosts since since John left. So is that every week. That's every week.
So it's nice to be working. Imagine if it weren't working crazy.
So, you know, for people who, you know, whose main line of work and income is stand up, it's been completely catastrophic.
So I've been very fortunate from from that point of view, the last performance I did in front of live actual physical human beings was, I think, in and of almost a year ago now at the end of January.
And I think quite a lot about, you know, what will I win? I'll still be able to do. I don't think that, you know, when you were last on stage with sadly, I sadly, I my thoughts are, do I still want to.
I think I'm. Oh, I think I'm good.
I think. Well, that's good, isn't it?
There's been times that I've thought I really miss it. And there's other times I thought, well, you know, well, do I have the strength to to go back to and almost relearn those skills.
And those skills will probably come back and it will probably be exciting. You know, I just don't I I have to assume that things will have to be different after all this shit.
I mean, after Brexit, after we become, you know, an authoritarian country, that that how we approach, you know, life again, it has to be different.
I mean, I don't believe that there's some sort of return to something, you know, like we don't know what the fuck is ahead on any level.
I know. Which is, I guess, simultaneously exciting and terrifying.
Terrifying. It's terrifying some days. Yeah. I mean, I had had trouble sleeping last night, but I don't understand Brexit at all because I can barely keep up with the news here. But, you know, I don't I know that people in the UK looked at us as like, you know, what the fuck is happening there. But I have that same thing. I'm like, what is really happening there?
Well, I think most people in Britain are thinking that probably on both sides of the that the the Brexit divide and. It's you know, it's been a strange thing with with Brexit is Britain's membership of the European Union. It's been, you know, slightly controversial for most of the sort of four and a half decades that we were part of the EU. But it was never about. It was never a massive political issue. And all the sort of polls, you know, said it was you know, it was a major issue for about five percent of the people.
And then it because for, you know, essentially party political reasons, David Cameron, then prime minister, called this referendum and it suddenly became the completely defining, totemic political issue of our times. And it's created divisions, I think, of a similar type to the divisions that Trump has created.
It's a mixture of sort of creating and revealing, I guess, oh, disenfranchised working class anti-immigration nationalism on one side.
Well, there's yes. And there's you know, there's sort of various degrees of that.
But I think it's created divisions that are not obviously bridgeable or curable, whatever happens so and so in terms of, you know, the long term prospects, obviously with the difference of Brexit and Trump, is that Trump was only going to be president for four or eight years, whereas Brexit is for, you know, the foreseeable future. Whether it's forever or not, I don't know. It's impossible to say. But it's it's not it's not something that can be forced back into the box in the way that Trump has, albeit that there is now debris all around the box and the box might pop open again right before collapsing like an overstretched metaphor.
So it's it's become you know, it's just defined politics. And and now we're we're stuck with it. And it's it's going to be one of those things where I'm philosophically I was you know, I was a huge fan of the European Union and Britain being part part of it. And, you know, I will always think that and I always hope that Britain returns to being part of either the European Union or whatever may emerge from from if it collapses or whatever.
And in the same way that people who were opposed to it remained opposed to it throughout the four decades, which were largely successful for both Europe and Britain, that Britain was a member. So there's no real middle ground. And I covid has almost been a distraction from Brexit. And, you know, the sort of past year when we might have been sort of really kind of introverted, examining what Brexit meant for Britain as a country and for the people who live in it.
We've been completely distracted. So I don't I don't know when we're going to get round to that that reckoning and working out exactly what, you know, who we are, what we want to be.
Right. All this work has been done. The Brexit deal is finalised, but now no one can go outside.
Yes. And so. So, yeah, that's all put on hold. This house, you know, culture and British society will function under the new game.
Yes, it's all on. Yes. I mean, we've essentially hibernated as a nation. And in fact, I mean, I think there is something to be said. I think for hibernation. I think it's something that humans as a species would consider.
We should consider taking a three month to a year break.
Yeah, I think if there is a positive to come out of covid, I guess lockdown is as close to hibernation as we're generally allowed to get. And, you know, it's something that I would like to see formally instituted three months every year.
Sure. I mean, it's sort of like the midday nap in in Italy. In Spain. Yeah, exactly.
It's just like you have a three month a year nap. Yes.
When in fact, that's one of my main my main reasons for being in favour of Britain staying in the EU as I always hoped that Britain would adopt the siesta for, you know, the proper afternoon nap, which is always something that we've been a bit too hard working as a society, despite my best efforts to balance that out.
But isn't there a certain pub rules? I mean, don't isn't there an instituted. I don't you. Is there a midday drink you're supposed to have?
Yes. That was I mean, again, that's always been part.
We've drunk through a lot of things in our history as a as a society.
And I mean and in fact, with covid, there was so much of the debate was about, you know, when and how the pubs would open. That was that for a while. That seemed to be the most important thing that the government had to deal with was managing the reopening of British pubs, which had not even shut down during the Blitz. I think. So that was this shows how, you know, what covid has done, but it made British pubs close and they say, ah, they are closed higher.
They are. Currently closed, they were open. They've been sort of intermittently open there now, I think currently all closed for a while. You could get takeaway beer from from pubs, which slowly defeats the object. I don't know if they doing takeaway quizzes as well.
But are your are the hospital are the ICU units like busting like here? I mean, is the death rates spiraling?
It's it's got very bad quite quickly in the last few weeks. And I think that the numbers are up.
But beyond what they were doing the first the first wave, it's so horrible because we're so insulated here in our own panic that like, you know, I fail to realize sometimes, like, you guys are in really in the same thing. Yes. It's terrifying. And people are dying every day.
It is. And I mean, with the you know, the various vaccinations that have been approved, there is there's hope. There's a bit of optimism that, you know, there's some sense that it might end in the vaguely foreseeable future. But again, it's something that we not sure we'll be able to process exactly what it's done to Britain. Exactly.
You know, the massive failures that have come along with it, it's you know, I think it's going to take years to get to it as you as you talk about, you know, what kind of society is going to emerge from this, you know, from the sort of selfish point of view of a working comedian. Are people going to want to go and sit in crowded rooms and decide to do stuff that isn't sitting at home? But when will people feel comfortable being crowded into a confined, confined space?
So people have become very adept at tuning in to these things, like I'll do a live in the morning just to keep my brain sharp and engage with an audience in real time, which has helped. But I think like what you're saying, if I think about it, like, you know, this idea that our brains want to know, it's sort of like, well, how are we going to reflect on this?
And that's really the question a comic has to answer in terms of, you know, presenting it. So, I mean, that might give us both a little hope because like in my brain, my biggest fear is that we're all going to see this as some sort of collective trauma. And because of PTSD, we're just going to, you know, sort of compartmentalize it into this haze. That's kind of a smear of a memory that a year or a year and a half and kind of want to move past it.
That's my fear, is that we move past it and just sort of suppress it as a traumatic time without really contextualizing the impact, you know.
Yes. And I mean, particularly for, you know, having children who are, you know, it's school age. It's you know, it's the sort of defining it probably be the defining time of their their entire lives, really. It's, you know, trying to shape their their outlook, how they you know, how they interact with with life.
And, you know, and comedically also, I think I don't know what you think about this.
What are people going to laugh at different things after, you know, when standup restarts? How how different is it going to be? What what how will the impact that this is this is how this huge kind of defining issue. But at the same time, it's got to be something people don't want to think about, don't want to be told when they go to somewhere for escape. Well, I don't know how it's going to impact on that.
Well, I think we've established that we can start with FART'S no matter what.
There's always that there's the timelessness of flatulence and sex and yeah, certainly flatulence in sex, reflecting on flatulence and sex during the time that the the pandemic will be rich with laughter. There's going to be family flatulence like no, never before difficulties in having sex, both with families not being able to leave the house and also dating.
Yeah. Yeah. Rich material. The both of the the timeless classics. Yeah. I think that like that kind of thing will be, will be interesting, like the honesty around that, because I do think that people are I don't think that we're going to totally adapt to the intimacy of what you and I are doing here, that people are going to become so symbiotic with screens that, you know, the necessity to congregate will be will diminish. I don't I don't think that's true.
I think that people lose a great deal of themselves when they isolate, even if they're talking to people on screens. So I think that if it ever becomes safe again, people will want to congregate.
Yes. Oh, definitely. But I wonder, you know, I guess it'll be a process of almost kind of relaxing back into it.
And, yeah, I don't know how you relax. I did a movie everyone. I did a movie for 12 days. Everybody's wearing masks with covid protocol. But I got to be honest with you, once I surrendered to the idea that, like, this is as safe as it's going to be, you know, we're getting tested every other day and everyone's wearing masks, all the. Time, except when we have to act, and I was fucking thrilled to be, you know, in a collaborative effort in real time with living people.
I mean, it was like it was like, thank God, you know, I'm sane again for a minute.
Is there going to be an eruption of sort of, you know, communal activities of, you know, artistic expression going to post-war booms or people just, you know, wanting to do anything?
I would hope so. That that would be encouraging. I don't want to think that a lot of people, especially visual artists and stuff, are who generally work in an isolated way anyways, like your father might have, are really kind of doing exciting things now. But I think people are so freaked out that most people are just paralyzed and not doing anything but watching television in their sweatpants.
I've got there a lot of pairs of sweatpants and I lost everything.
But I don't I don't know. But like in you know, given that, you know, you spent your early life studying this sort of arc of of civilizations, I mean, and even with Brexit or whatever is happening with covid, do you how do you frame this in your head?
I mean, are you like somebody who's like, well, this is going to pass in and the species will probably persist or how are you?
Don't seem like existentially frightened person right now.
Probably not. But I think what I think is going to pass in the way that plagues have passed and, you know, plagues in the ancient world, but, you know, fairly what kind of traumatic and shaping experiences. But yeah. Oh, I don't know.
I veer between wild pessimism and wild optimism and yeah, I guess and a lot of it is thinking about the world that my kids are going to going to grow up in and the kind of lives they'll be able to lead that that, that what the education to be able to have.
And you know, what kind of jobs are going with all these different impacts on on on life, whether, you know, Brexit covid the environment, just the general changing of the of the world. It's the sort of picture that I had of the world that they would enter when they depart childhood. It's it's I don't really I can't really imagine, even in 10 years time, what they will be dealing with.
Yeah, I think that's the most difficult thing for anybody. I don't have kids, so I mine's in the realm of selfishness. So I got my head. I'm like, I'm 57. I've done OK. All right. Maybe I'm done.
So but like when you have children, as many of my friends do, I think that, you know, is challenging for you as a person, as a father and, you know, somebody who wants the best for their children. But but also just no matter who you are, there's there's no personal status quo anymore.
Everything has been sort of of blown up, you know, everything has been, you know, shattered. So we're all looking into this darkness without any real footing. And I think that that the anxiety of that is is is overwhelming. But I do think, like you're saying, I think that's the most honest way to look at it, is that we just don't know.
Yeah, it's really difficult that you can't even rely.
And like, we can always go to the place. No, you can't, because it's closed. It's gone again.
I don't know yet, you know. I don't know.
Yeah, I think it's I mean, this is the but the time of greatest human ignorance of my lifetime in terms of people kind of knowing what's going what's going on currently and what is going to going to emerge. So it's nice. It's, you know, as you say, cosmically unsettling. And, you know, the things I guess some things might emerge largely unchanged, other things will be vastly different and some things just end.
So, yeah, but again but again, not not farting and fucking farting fuck is are going to persist.
Yeah. Death, taxes, farting and fucking those that they could never go.
It is, it is your wife in politics.
She's not. She was a criminal lawyer criminal and currently she got a doctorate studying how young people are dealt with by the judicial system and is currently writing, writing a book about it. So yes, she has a more serious existence than I do talking nonsense and thinking about cricket.
Yeah, but I. But that's good. I like it. So that's the other hard thing about like that. And I want to talk to creative people who are in the middle of working on things. They're like, does this even matter?
Yeah. Can we just it's it's just the, the ah we just you know and a. Aiding the death throes of a civilization. Well, possibly, you know, those are always fascinating, aren't they?
Yeah, but when when I started out in stand up my what we've been together since university is, as I said, and she was starting out right about the same time on the legal circuit. And, you know, it's a different type of before me there were certain similarities being a, you know, criminal advocate in Britain while she was a trial lawyer. Yeah. Yes.
So she was, you know, similar. You're sort of self-employed. You go from gig to gig. And the difference of being I'd be delighted if I'd written a an amusing pun about fruit. And she was doing cases involving, frankly, horrific crimes.
So was similar but different. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
I could see your sort of enthusiasm at the end of the day when you're discussing your days kind of fading in in light of her achievements.
Yes, but this punchlines, this tag is great.
Just kind of like. Yes. And you know, if I if I had a bad day at work, then I'd be slightly, slightly humiliated and embarrassed. If she had a bad day at work, someone would go to jail.
I guess you got to decide whether or not you're going to stick with that bit or if it needs something else. And she's got to live with the fact that somehow or another someone is going to spend their life in prison.
Yeah, I mean, these are the life we've chosen.
Yes. Yeah. But I don't think I was cut out for a for for real life, to be honest.
But but sports I mean, I don't know. I'm not a sports guy. And it seems that people who like sports at least that gives you that. I mean, that is something to live for, you know.
Yes. And it's you know, everyone, you know, finds their escapism in different in different forms. I mean, did love sport from when I was about six years old. And it's it's something that's that's throughout my life been something where I can, you know, just escape. Yeah. I'm doing. And yes. You know, playing it at a very low level or or or watching it. I started writing about cricket via the bugel, actually talked about cricket on the Beagle because we was a big American audience.
So, you know, try and do as much cricket stuff as possible to go to America for not having taken the great honor that that that that original Zartman manifesto of alienating as many of the audience.
Yes. Possible. Yeah, yeah.
Without getting any real foothold in success. Yeah, that's good.
Why change a losing formula.
And so I ended up sort of getting to to write about cricket for a cricket website and then doing being part of the BBC's radio coverage and well particularly last year, it well it was this sort of incredible escape from from from everything else.
And thank God they kept playing, I guess. Yeah. Yeah. And that the players were all in in bubble staying in hotels on the on the ground and the media were staying in different parts of the city doing it.
Yeah. Around the world as you know, cricket bubbles going on. England's just gone out to Sri Lanka is Australia and India are playing. And it's it's a it's a sport that, you know, the longest form of cricket. The game's last up to five days. And there is a it becomes almost meditative when you when you sit and watch an entire five day match. And, you know, quite a lot of them end in an end in a draw.
And it's it almost puts you on a it's almost a sort of spiritual escapism from. Ah, that's great. Everything. I would highly recommend it.
Yeah. I mean, I don't have I don't have many good escapes.
I'm painfully stuck in my imagination is just fuelled by dread and, you know, occasional glimmers of hope in fantasy. But I don't think I'm not a science fiction guy. I'm not. I like music. But do you do you are you a science fiction guy as well?
Not really. My daughter, who's just about to turn 14, she's she's got really into and she she's now started writing. So just go up to her bedroom. And I thought, oh, what are you doing? So I'm just writing this. This is science fiction stories. So, um, so I've read. Yeah. I started to try and, you know, get a bit more, more, more into, into that.
But what's the sign up to? What's his interest.
Well he's quite he's quite into sports and maths. So yeah. They're doing they're coping pretty well. Very difficult. Quite. Imagine how I'd have dealt with this as a I guess children are quite flexible on that. I mean, they do adapt to what is put what is presented to them.
But yeah, they'll take they'll take it. Yeah. And they'll adapt. It's their own little people, I guess after a certain point.
Yeah. It's been my. My daughter was seven when she turned to me at dinner and said, Daddy, I think I'm getting too old for your jokes now, and that was a real, real moment.
So, you know, those landmarks in parenting when you realize your children are becoming more independent seven years later?
Wow. Well, outside of the bugel, which is topical and the cricket, it has to sort of be up to date. You got to stay on top of that, but not really.
I mean, I can't even begin to frame a future set at this juncture. But, you know, for somebody who thinks in terms of, you know, hourlong presentations, have you begun to think about that?
No, not really. I do. The last four years before. Before. So from 2016 to 2019, I didn't end of year review show, just sort of my main stand up of the year when I, you know, try and, you know, put the the World IV of that year into an hour of right.
Of stand up. But I didn't do that this year. And so it's been a long time since I really sat down and tried to plan out a stand up show. And I was thinking about it a couple of weeks ago because I realized that, you know, basically I'd done, you know, four gigs in 2020 and they were all in January. And I thought, what would I do if I had to do a gig? Now what what would I I couldn't remember, you know, how even how I used to start a standup set or remember, I got them all written down, but because I, you know, write stuff every week for the bugle.
And most of the stuff that you say that I do is topical. It's for the bugle or radio shows. And I'm constantly churning over material, not necessarily sort of honing it into into lasting standup. And I just I got a slight panic. So I thought I've I've got no idea how I would do a stand up gig now.
And, you know, having been, you know, doing it for over 20 years, that was that was slightly frightening. It's know I do a podcast and radio and cricketer's standup is not what I rely on. But as a comedian, you're always got that muscle working.
Yeah, I was I was doing three sets, four sets a week, no matter what, just to stay, you know, Frosti and.
Yeah, I mean, I don't know. There is definitely going to be, you know, does prie covid material matter anymore and like and you know, we don't know what post covid going to look like, but we all know what the fuck we're living with.
And the one thing about it is there there is a certain this is one of the few times in history where we all have something very specific and very fucking prominent in common, you know, like we can all talk about, like, you know, how we handled this, how much cooking we did, how much eating we did, how much jerking off we did, how much yelling at our kids we did. I mean, there are going to be diaries of of covid.
But I sadly, you know, from day to day, I would imagine the patterns reveal itself. And it's one long one long day, you know.
And also also doing sort of political topical comedy. A lot of what I've done in the last four years has been about, you know, Brexit and its impact on British politics and globally on on Trump and America and what you know, what Trump ism stands for around the world. And, you know, those two things are going as well.
So what I've no idea what I would you know, if someone said, oh, you've got to do an hour long stand up show in a month's time, I think I would I would really struggle, I think, to know what to what to do.
And I guess, you know, a genuine deadline is always a great motivator. We'll have to wait until you know, that does.
Yeah, I think we'll snap into shape pretty good. I mean, one thing I've been noticing about Trump ism and fascism in general is that, you know, people who can't leave their houses or are unemployed are generally going to fuel that movement.
You know, but there's economic desperation and there's a lack of work and a lot of time to, you know, go down whatever rabbit hole your brain is going to go down to make your anger feel better. And sadly, a lot of times that ends with excluding people and possibly genocide.
So and also, I mean, the Internet is there are infinite rabbit holes on the Internet and worst, you know, you can find your people if you can, or in my case, you can find black and white early footage of sport from the 1920s. But, you know, there's rabbit holes for everyone. There's a universe of rabbit holes.
And we're finding that, yes, we're finding that it's yeah, nobody needs to have the same experience ever again.
It's it's. Well, I guess we'll find. Out, Andy, I think I Odwa, I think that if we do get a reprieve and we do get the ability to once again enter the world, that we will be so excited, we will find plenty of things to say.
Right. And will you come back to Edinburgh? No, I shall. Maron returned to Edinburgh. Well, not this one. Good to come out of covid Mark. Surely it can be that. Come back. Come back to the French. I will come back. I know I can't.
I will come back to London. I will never go to the gilded balloon again.
I just have no idea about that world.
But I did have I before. I did do a couple of dates in London over the last few years in Birmingham. And I know what else, where else did I go?
I did three dates, but I had I had a nice time.
Manchester, I think in London. Birmingham, Manchester. That makes sense.
Yeah. Does that that does make sense. I remember speaking to you that year and in in Edinburgh week because I was there, my political animal show that you did in a. Yeah. Room in sort of the old kind of underground. Was a long, thin, narrow room with bricks. A lot of bricks, and it was a classic animal room that it was completely not designed for stand up. But I had a was very damp. Yeah.
Yeah, but it's in that room was a kind of room.
You felt that someone probably died in it about 200 years ago or there was there was butchering done and there was like a real work on AdvoServ or with knives and those walls would have stories to tell.
But oh yes, I know what you is.
That must have been 2000 in six maybe. Yeah. So that was the year that John went to do that, The Daily Show. So I think I was thinking we were supposed to be cohosting that show.
We were both shattered. That struggling.
Yeah. All right. Well, I will say this. I maybe I will come and we'll hang out in Edinburgh again. If not, let's let's hang out next time I come to London, if that's ever possible.
Yeah. Yeah, that would be great. Good talking to you, man.
You too. OK, that's it, and he's Ousman, as I said earlier, he's got the podcast, The Bugel, where you can get wherever you get podcasts, you can hear them on the news quiz on BBC Radio four. Enjoy the relief while we can and I'll try to muster up a little hope. I mean, I've been meditating and I've been yoga ing and I've been working out and I've been trying to keep my sanity. I've been hiking up covid Hill, but relief and OK, hope, hope that we stabilize this fucking thing and hope that we get everybody vaccinated and some structure and organization begins to occur on a federal level.
And also that, yeah, I'd like to like to be proud of my country. I really would play some guitar for you now. No, this monkey. Rwanda. Cat angels everywhere. Thank God for new management, I.