I found myself on all fours, poking my head through a curtain made of golden tinsel, my neck hurting a bit as a photographer asked me to look in various directions around the studio. I thought to myself I am 50 years old. What has become of me?
This is the life of the comedian.
I was doing a photoshoot to accompany an interview that I had entirely forgotten given (apparently it was last July) about life after being in a double act. It’s finally going to be in the Guardian in the next couple of weeks. And even though there has been an incredibly long run in between the interview and it appearing in the paper, it was a bit odd that they’d got in touch with me at the end of last week and told me that I needed to do the photo today. Which was annoyingly inconvenient. Living outside of London means something like this is a big trip, rather than a brief excursion.
But the photographer and his team were friendly and fun and the only physically and psychologically uncomfortable bit was when I was down on all fours (which means that this is the one they will almost certainly use). I pulled faces for the camera. It’s insane that this is my job. Not in a fun sense of crazy. What would my grandparents think if they could see me?
As I walked back to the bus stop through the rain I was interviewed by some other journalists. One of them wanted to talk about This Morning With Richard Not Judy, as it’s twenty years since that came out. He clearly remembered it fondly, but I doubt many of his readers will have ever been aware of it. Only now do I realise how lucky we were to have those opportunities back then, even if we were maybe a little unlucky to make so little of a splash. But that solid gang of like-minded people, working hard to create silly nonsense that still managed to have a point to it somewhere. When he asked me what my favourite thing from the show was I had trouble remembering anything. I plumped for Stew’s performance as Pliny, which I still think is the funniest thing he has ever done. But I forgot about the Sunday Heroes sketches, which I am probably most proud of.
It was probably best for us all that the show and thus the double act disappeared after the second series. But the reason that a few people still hold that 90s stuff in high regard is precisely because it didn’t become a mainstream success. You can still hold it close to your heart because it never got ruined by over exposure. Incredible to think that this blog started only three and a half years after the end of TMWRNJ. They feel like two different lifetimes.
I was at Kings Cross by the time a second interview was approaching its end. At least this time I was talking about what I am doing now, and didn’t have to get down on my knees. They were giving out free cans of beer on the concourse. Even though I would be driving within an hour, the cans were tiny and I thought it might be nice to have the smallest of tipples on the way home. They stamped my hand to stop me going back and getting more beer - I guess they had a responsibility to stop people getting drunk for free,
It was only once I was on the train I discovered the free beer was non-alcoholic. And worse than that, it was Heineken. All the horror of drinking nasty lager with none of the buzz. Why were they stopping people coming back for a second one? Because they didn’t want to spread too much disappointment?