Up the hill to the Pleasance Dome early this morning to be interviewed for Arthur Smith's show for Radio 4 Extra. But Smith is not an idiot and didn't want to get up himself and had sent along a producer with a "robot Arthur" (an iPad programmed with questions and pithy asides and sarcastic laughs) to interview me instead.
I did hear the terrible news that rival podcaster and Oddbod Junior lookalike (Carry on Screaming reference) Ray Peacock had been in hospital to get kidney stones removed. He had been in a lot of pain and you'd have to be a sick person to find that in the slightest bit amusing. I was impressed he had contracted such a medieval condition and by the fact that I had not ever had kidney stones, so Ray had managed to have them himself without having to copy me, which is a first.
Then down to the Stand to meet Milton Jones and Bo Burnham, who were both great value on today's podcast. Both huge stars now they have had almost opposite experiences of fame: Milton worked for years on the circuit, often cited as favourite comedian by other acts before getting his big break and Bo put up some Youtube videos when he was 16 and quickly became a worldwide sensation. Both men ad modest and sweet and very talented comedians and it was interesting to get into their work ethic with them both and to debate religion with Milton.
I am halfway through the run of WAGTD now, though not quite halfway through the podcasts and I am worryingly tired. The stand up show is improving all the time, but the energy required for it is leaving me drained and tonight I was regretting having agreed to do The Horne Section after my show. But the show totally lifted me. Not so much my own performance, which was fine and much better than what I did last year, but watching Alex and the band at work was an absolute joy. It was funny and life-affirming and daft, but pure entertainment. It totally lifted my spirits and my aching limbs felt light afterwards and I went for a drink in the bar afterwards and felt like staying up all night. I was sensible though as I had another early morning interview and another late night gig as well as my two shows. You can keep your clever-clever shit (althought the Horne Section has plenty of clever musical jokes), but this anarchic silliness felt like what comedy should be about. Cheering people up at the end of their working day. It worked for me even though I was doing what you might laughably call work in it. And having a jazzy version of "There was an old woman who swallowed a fly" played behind the routine did add a whole new dynamic and pace to the piece.
If only watching all comedy shows was as uplifting as this one had been.
We had a fun chat with Janey Godley in the impressive upstairs now added to the temporary performer's bar beside the Udderbelly (it has a fountain for goodness sakes. It can't be safe, but it's the poshest treehouse ever). I slightly regretted having to leave and not having had the opportunity to catch up with more of my fellow performers over a drink in the early hours of the morning. But if I did this more than once or twice a week I would be a wreck.
At this more or less halfway point I am very happy with the way things are going. The podcast audiences are much larger than last year and disgusting audiophiles aside the feedback is good on these and the stand-up show is getting a good reaction and reasonable crowds. I am happy, if tired, though it feels like a long time to the end!